Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dreary "Pathology" needed a nip and tuck

Pathology (2008) 
94 min., rated R.
Grade: D +

Privileged, straight-arrow Harvard med grad Dr. Grey (Milo Ventimiglia) finds himself thrown in with a tight-knit group of fellow pathology residents in the Los Angeles county morgue. Soon after being introduced to their scene of heavy drinking, meth smoking, and kinky sex, the hotshot is initiated into the group's outre hobby, a game by which one of them commits the perfect murder and the rest have to determine the method. 

"Pathology," this darkly atmospheric but grisly and perverse medical thriller, has the backbone of a diabolically intriguing premise, crossing hedonism with morality, made up of bits from "Rope," "Flatliners," David Cronenberg's "Crash," and "Fight Club." But somewhere in the execution, director Marc Schoelermann and the screenwriters make no sense of the story and just throw their hands up, surrendering to gratuitous cadaver gore and fetishistic sex. 

With this being a thriller, you don't have a single person to root for: they're all stamped with a God complex and they never shut up, not even protag Ventimiglia who goes from cocky know-it-all one minute to a murderous, drug-using nympho the next, all because of peer pressure! Alyssa Milano is handed the only pure role as Ventimiglia's fiancĂ©e, about twenty minutes of screen time, that it seems like a waste. If the opening segment of the "orgasm/diner scene" from "When Harry Met Sally" performed with corpses isn't depraved enough, we get pathologists having sadomasochistic sex with needles in their skin, adjacent to a dead body on a medical table. 

This is a seedy world not many will want to enter, as if erotic fetishes for automobile accidents in "Crash" wasn't enough. 

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