April 24, 2008

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Pathology (R)
Bored med students working in the morgue start giving themselves extra-credit take-home work in Pathology, a movie that fulfills your need for sadistic doctors and some slicing-into-people special effects.

If you donít have that need, well, then Iím pretty sure Enchanted is out on DVD.

Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia) is a smart young doctor with a bright future. Heís engaged to Gwen (Alyssa Milano), the beautiful lawyer-to-be daughter of a wealthy and powerful man. And heís got a fun new stint in a morgue, where he and other med students will work to discover the causes of death for the corpses.

Of course, Tedís not the only go-getter in the group. Some of his fellow students are such eager beavers that they donít just hang around waiting for the bodies and their difficult-to-determine causes-of-death to come to them. Oh no. They compete to see who can kill in the most convoluted, sneaky way so as to confound the others when the body hits the slab.

Like a really challenging Sudoku, if creating a Sudoku could get you the death penalty.

Though Ted is at first horrified, he soon finds himself hanging around with this bad crowd, going from preppy to crack-smoking, fiancťe-cheating-on serial killer quicker than you can say ďsave the cheerleader.Ē

So, how many times does this make for Alyssa Milano being naked in a film? I donít personally know but Iím fairly certain that wherever this appears in the timeline of Milano nudity, this will be the only thing this movie is ever famous for. The film feels similar in tone to 1990ís Flatliners and similar in plot to plenty of horror films with maniacal doctors. Thereís goth silliness and moody darkness (the pack of naughty docs could have easily come here straight from playing extras in some theatrical production of an Anne Rice book, circa Lestat). The absurdity of this filmís setup is just heavy enough (thereís an unused wing of a hospital? and it has dramatic lighting?) to keep you from finding enough fun in its campier side.

Ventimiglia doesnít bring much to the filmó I like Peter Petrelli just fine but he was never the best part of any of his storylines. (Meanwhile, the movie did get me thinking about how very long it has been since Iíve seen an episode of Heroes ó will I even remember all the characters when it comes back in the fall?)

But, where were we? The movie. Unless youíre a 30something guy who never really got over Whoís the Boss or a horror fan absolutely desperate for a little twisted gore, there isnít much worth a ticket price here. C-

Rated R for violence, gruesome images, strong sexual content, nudity, drug use and language. Directed by Marc Schoelermann and written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, Pathology is an hour and 33 minutes long and is distributed by MGM.