Errors of the Human Body (2013)

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Errors of the Human Body (2013)Starring Karoline Herfurth, Tómas Lemarquis, Rik Mayall, Michael Eklund

Directed by Eron Sheean

There’s a menacing, playful undertone present from the instant Errors Of The Human Body begins, a quality that keeps you interested in the slower moments of the film where deeper ideas are being explored. Although there are some graphic scenes peppered throughout, Errors is theatre of the mind. The horror comes from the ideas and their implications, it’s only then that we see the physical torment wrought by the unethical implementation of cutting, bleeding edge science gone mad.

From a script by Shane Danielson and director Eron Sheean, Errors stars Michael Eklund (The Divide) as tortured geneticist Geoffrey Burton, a broken but hopeful man still reeling from the death of his tumor-ridden toddler whom he was unable to save. (That’s real torture, forget being tied to a chair). Burton is called upon to join a team already in the midst of genetic experimentation at a German research lab in Dresden, a town that already has a dark past after famously being fire-bombed in WWII. The Laboratory is actually the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. Geoff is reunited with his former intern Rebekka (Karoline Herfurth) on a hush-hush project involving the regeneration of human tissue, the goal being to one day harvest body parts.

Geoff is also introduced to scientist Jarek Novak, played by Tomas Lemarquis, whose bald dome and piercing blue-eyed stare are immediately off-putting. From the instant the two meet – they literally run into each other violently – the central conflict is set in motion. Novak is a memorable antagonist with a destructive, almost punk attitude that’s in direct contrast to Geoff’s quiet, brooding demeanor. Geoff’s suspicions mount when he finds out that Novak isn’t exactly playing above board. This road of mistrust, whether justified or not, sends him spiraling towards a dangerous, potentially tragic outcome as the film nears its climax.

Geoff begins to do research at home with an unfortunate lab rat and as the research slowly becomes reality, the physical horrors shown in the more graphic scenes actually compound the emotional weight that’s already been established. Through dreams and flashbacks, the anguish of Geoff’s past is on display along with the terror foreshadowing his future.

Once the big revelation unfolds after a tense confrontation between Geoff and the ego-fuelled Novak, Errors could have gone one of two ways, and it doesn’t make the mistake of turning into a mutant monster movie in the third act – and it very easily could have. In fact, I might have been looking forward to it. But the emotional payoff was probably more impactful than any possibility of creature feature mayhem.

In fact, it’s the emotional resonance of Errors and how it connects to the themes of regret and overreaching good intentions that make it a stand out. Errors isn’t really body horror, it’s a science-gone-wrong cautionary tale that’s more Shakespeare than Cronenberg. At the conclusion, there’s certainly closure but that peace turns out to be its own personal form of hell.

3 out of 5

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