Played with fierce conviction by AnnaLynne McCord, the wilfully unattractive, defiantly antisocial protagonist of American writer-director Richard Bates Jr’s grisly horror movie dreams of being a surgeon, but is reduced to slicing open dead birds and indulging in vengeful, eroticised clinical fantasies. Determined not to fit in, 18-year-old Pauline – a scab-faced virgin obsessed with menstrual blood – rails against her ultra-religious mother (Traci Lords), her concerned teachers, popular uber-babe Natalie, her priest-cum-shrink (John Waters!) and a capricious God. The only person she cares about is her young sister, who has cystic fibrosis and whose suffering Pauline dreams of ending.
The defiantly perverse Pauline is the bastard cousin of the rebellious heroines in ‘Ginger Snaps’ and ‘Heathers’, but the film is an overripe mélange of Cronenbergian ‘body horror’ and alienated Lynchian weirdness. Also, the theatrical tableaux that punctuate its episodic plot, while visually arresting and shocking in themselves, don’t always meld with the arch satire of the domestic or school settings.