Pathology

Pathology

Film review by: Witney Seibold

 

            “Pathology” resembles David Cronenberg’s “Crash” in a lot of ways: They’re both about secret cadres of otherwise intelligent people who, for reasons of obsession, fetishism, and downright honest-to-goodness sociopathy, engage in some rather horrible (and often self-destructive) crimes. But whereas Cronenberg’s film had the courage to delve deep into the minds of its characters, and present us with a dark, unadulterated view of one’s inner velocity toward moral oblivion, “Pathology” is a stupid and poorly-acted slasher flick with few redeemable qualities at all.

 

            Ted (Milo Ventimiglia) is a recently-graduated med school student who has moved to The Big City (in this case, I think it’s L.A., although it’s not really recognizable as any city). He has left his lovely fiancée (Alyssa Milano) back in Grover’s Corners. Ted gets a job working in the Los Angeles forensic pathology lab, where it is his job to determine exactly how people died. There are many scenes of Ted hacking and slicing through rubber corpses or heavily made-up extras.

 

            Also working in this lab is a group of heavy-drinking assholes, led by the borderline Jake Gallo (Michael Weston, who eats more scenery than any slasher villain I’ve ever seen). Gallo invites Ted to join him and his compatriots in a game. One player selects a mark, kills them in a creative way, and the challenges the other players to diagnose the cause of death. They justify this by claiming to be jaded by the death they see every day, and killing only dregs with no familial connections. Ted, without any real motivation, joins in this fun game. There’s a lot of drugs consumed, some decent nudity from Ted’s new S&M-obsessed squeeze (Lauren Lee Smith), there’s a Josh Brolin-type (Johnny Whitowrth), and an Asian lesbian (Mei Melançon) who only exists in the film to, I dunno, titillate the boys in the audience by playing tonsil hockey with Lauren Lee Smith.

 

            Yeah, I know. The setup is actually halfway clever for a slahser flick. Committing murder, then challenging your peers to find the cause of death? Brilliant. This concept was cooked up by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the same fellows behind the mild success “Crank,” so they’re very good at coming up with good gimmicks. Problem is, they don’t have much of a knack for dialogue, and stray way too far into ethical territory without really knowing what they’re talking about. If you’re going to have a film about killing, focus on the killing and the gore and the sex. Have fun with the head-stabbings.  

 

            If you’re going to write a film about the morals of killing, stay away from the shock and the gimmicks. And don’t give your film to a nondescript German music video director like Mark Shoelermann.

 

                        The only good things about “Pathology:” John DeLancie appears as the young doctors’ oblivious mentor, and he walks away with every scene he’s in. Alyssa Milano does indeed appear in the film. So that’s what she’s been doing. “Pathology” doesn’t skimp on gore or nudity, recalling a time in horror films when everything was a little bit sexier, and a little bit slimier.

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Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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