×
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

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' First Reactions: 'Most Emotional, Most Epic MCU Film'

    The end is finally here. “Avengers: Endgame” had its world premiere Monday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center and reactions on social media from fans, journalists and critics are already pouring in. The reaction has so far been almost universally positive, with several commentors warning fans of the movie’s emotional elements. Brandon Davis wrote [...]

  • Josh Brolin, Kathryn Boyd. Josh Brolin,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Josh Brolin: Thanos' Butt Is a 'Beautiful, Purple Peach'

    On the eve of “Avengers: Endgame’s” world premiere, everyone’s thoughts have turned to the one crucial detail that could be the difference between life or death for the Avengers: Does Thanos have a butt? “I don’t know what that whole thing is about! I really don’t!” Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, told Variety‘s Marc Malkin [...]

  • Tessa Thompson'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Tessa Thompson Says Valkyrie Would Spoon Captain Marvel, Thor

    Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and upcoming “Avengers: Endgame,” had no problem addressing speculation about the character’s sexuality at the “Endgame” red carpet premiere Monday. The “Sorry to Bother You” actress explained that she played her Marvel character as bisexual. “In the canon, [Valkyrie] is bisexual. You see her with [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

    Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday. As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents. “Today the Guild delivered a first [...]

  • BRAZILIAN FLAGFRENCH OPEN TENNIS, PARIS, FRANCE

    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Reteams With STXfilms on Romantic-Comedy Co-Starring Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez is reteaming with STXfilms on the upcoming romantic-comedy “Marry Me.” Kat Coiro is directing the film and Owen Wilson is in final negotiations to join the pic, which will likely shoot this fall. The script was written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Lopez and Wilson both [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, died Sunday in Los Angeles of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content