You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pathology

The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why "Pathology," though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers.

With:
Ted Grey - Milo Ventimiglia Jake Gallo - Michael Weston Gwen Williamson - Alyssa Milano Juliette Bath - Lauren Lee Smith Griffin Cavenaugh - Johnny Whitworth Dr. Quentin Morris - John de Lancie Catherine Ivy - Mei Melancon Ben Stravinsky - Keir O'Donnell Harper Johnson - Buddy Lewis Chip Bentwood - Dan Callahan Fat Bastard - Larry Drake

The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the pic is too clever for its own good, allowing the meticulously researched scenario to be undone by implausible behavior and gaping plot holes. Limited theatrical release looks to be D.O.A., thanks to minimal marketing, with livelier DVD prospects ahead.

“Pathology” goes well beyond the level of gore most auds can take: Cracking ribcages and juggling organs clearly don’t faze these characters, who handle cadavers on a daily basis, but the startling combination of visuals and sound effects makes much of their work unwatchable. As the new kid among a tight-knit clique of residents, Dr. Ted Grey (played by “Heroes” heartthrob Milo Ventimiglia) shows more respect for the dead than his colleagues. He’s a superstar with the scalpel and more perceptive in his autopsies than the others, which brings out their competitive side.

What starts as simple hazing quickly crosses over into dangerous behavior as the alpha resident (Michael Weston, as the gang’s one-step-shy-of-crazy Kiefer Sutherland type) introduces Ted to their after-hours “game”: Pick someone who deserves to die and commit the perfect, undetectable murder. It takes a certain twisted genius to devise the kind of sinister methods they employ, and screenwriters Neveldine and Taylor (“Crank”) surely polled their share of pathologists for ideas.

The results yield little more than a second-act montage — swapping cyanide pills for Ecstasy at the disco, inhaling subzero nitrous oxide and so on — which leaves the remainder of the movie to deal with the young doctors’ escalating insanity. Their unstable mental states clearly lend the pun to the pic’s title, but it’s the erotic undercurrent that proves most disturbing.

Closest comparison might be David Cronenberg’s “Crash,” which fetishized accident scenes and mangled flesh. Only the most desensitized auds could overlook a Y-shaped chest incision to find the sight of bare nipples arousing. The characters, on the other hand, fire up the meth pipe and start making out the instant someone pulls back the autopsy sheet. Ted’s descent into this underworld seems highly improbable, but once there, such kinky play renders his relationship with fiancee Gwen (Alyssa Milano) downright vanilla — and “Seven” has taught us what happens to the good girl in stories as cynical as this.

However provocative the writers’ graduate-level ideas (which touch on Nietzschean morality, med-school power games and more), they’re ultimately limited by the trashy horror movie context in which they’re presented. Still, the genre has proven an effective showcase for first-time feature directors before, and here, musicvideo helmer Marc Scholermann demonstrates a firm grasp of tension and style, imbuing the film with the sickly, green-tinged atmosphere of the morgue. Makeup effects are top-notch.

Pathology

Production: An MGM release of a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Lakeshore Entertainment/Camelot Pictures presentation of a Lakeshore Entertainment production. Produced by Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Richard Wright, Gary Gilbert, Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, Skip Williamson. Executive producers, Marc Bienstock, Eric Reid, Barrett Stuart, Yan Fisher-Romanovsky, Phyllis Carlyle.

Crew: Directed by Marc Scholermann. Screenplay, Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor. Camera (color, widescreen), Ekkehart Pollack; editor, Todd E. Miller; music, Johannes Kobilke, Robert Williamson; production designer, Jerry Fleming; costume designer, Frank Helmer; sound (Dolby Digital), Mary Jo Devenney; special effects makeup, Ken Niederbaumer, Steven E. Anderson (Tatopoulos Studios); casting, Nancy Nayor Battino, Kelly Martin Wagner. Reviewed at Arclight Cinemas, Los Angeles, April 18, 2008. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Ted Grey - Milo Ventimiglia Jake Gallo - Michael Weston Gwen Williamson - Alyssa Milano Juliette Bath - Lauren Lee Smith Griffin Cavenaugh - Johnny Whitworth Dr. Quentin Morris - John de Lancie Catherine Ivy - Mei Melancon Ben Stravinsky - Keir O'Donnell Harper Johnson - Buddy Lewis Chip Bentwood - Dan Callahan Fat Bastard - Larry Drake

More Film

  • Rex Pickett

    Rex Pickett's Drama 'Repairman' Moving Forward as a Movie

    The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the […]

  • moviepass card

    MoviePass Sues Subscription Rival Sinemia for Patent Infringement

    The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the […]

  • Octavia Spencer Isabela Moner

    Octavia Spencer, Isabela Moner Join Mark Wahlberg's 'Instant Family'

    The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the […]

  • Gabrielle Carteris SAG AFRA PRESIDENT

    SAG-AFTRA's Gabrielle Carteris Blasts Ruling on Actor-Age Censorship Law

    The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the […]

  • Bat Girl Directors Search

    Why a Female Director Can Give Us the 'Batgirl' We Deserve

    The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the […]

  • Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..L to R:

    'Black Panther' Eyes Fifth-Highest-Grossing Second Weekend at U.S. Box Office

    The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the […]

  • Film Movement Nabs U.S. Rights to

    Film Movement Takes U.S. Rights to 'Egon Schiele,' 'Welcome to Germany' (EXCLUSIVE)

    The average human brain weighs three pounds, which may explain why “Pathology,” though painfully light on heart and soul, still feels more substantial than most death-by-bonesaw shockers. Grisly thriller combines book learning with a very twisted imagination for a “Flatliners”-style story of hotshot D.C. morgue interns who kill degenerates for sport. Like its characters, the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content