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Pathology (DVD)

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Pathology DVD (click here for larger image!)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Staring Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Weston, Alyssa Milano, Lauren Lee Smith, Johnny Whitworth

Directed by Marc Schoelermann

Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment


“I swear by Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea,
and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses …
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone …”

— The Hippocratic Oath

The first thing that bothers me about the above oath is that in this 21st Century doctors are still swearing to Apollo and company to keep us safe. That’s no real knock on anyone’s belief system, but Apollo? Come on! Rocky kicked the shit out of him twice! Now Clubber Lang, there was a real bada… huh? Oh. Well, never mind then.

*clears throat*

As a species one of our greatest fears is death. No matter who you are or what your faith, the thought of taking the eternal sleep has no doubt sent a shiver down your spine at least a couple of times throughout your life. Simply put, dying is gonna suck, but for me what happens to our remains is even more terrifying. We basically have two choices: Burn until turning to ash or become food for insects. Neither sits particularly well with me, but what if before we have to deal with either of those options, we’re violated further? What if the people who have sworn to protect us abused our vessels as we lay there cold and helpless. Filming us for laughs. Mocking us. Positioning us in silly or obscene positions before rifling through our innards. The notion alone is deeply disturbing, but as it turns out in Pathology, the doctors whom we trust can do a hell of a lot worse than that.

Pathology (click here for larger image!)Ted Grey (Ventimiglia) is a hotshot young pathologist with a star career in his field that’s steadily on the rise. During his stay at a new hospital, he finds that his fellow co-workers are less than, shall we say, respectful of their jobs. Some of them travel in a clique and walk around as if they’re god’s gift to the field. Their leader, Jake Gallo (a deliciously evil Weston), takes a shine to Ted and decides to let him into their dark little inner circle. One that consists of lots of questionable sex, drugs, and … murder! *cues spooky music* Turns out this group has a game that they like to play: In rotation each of them kills a person as perfectly and with no immediate signs of the cause of death as they can. Then the others try to guess how they did it. As you can imagine, things get pretty out of control, and it’s not long before anyone and everyone ends up being a potential victim.

Pathology starts off strong and disturbing. The horror presented here begins as realistically as possible. The corpses and the autopsy effects will have you squirming and generally feeling queasy. There are points in the movie during which we feel like we’re seeing less a work of fiction and more a documentary on pathology itself. For that I commend the filmmakers. Then it happens. By the time the third act rears its head, a lovable Italian wearing a leather jacket and swim trunks screams “Ayyyyyyyyyyyy!” as he jumps over the proverbial shark tank. The film falls apart. Everything that was working so well in the first two acts grinds to a halt, and in its place we get stilted and nonsensical plot twists in rapid fire succession. Even the acting and dialogue fall quickly downhill. If what was used here from the actors were their best takes, I’d hate to see their worst. By the time it’s all over, you’ll find yourself wondering where the good movie you were engrossed in went.

Pathology (click here for larger image!)The special features serve to confound things further. Things kick off with a pretty good commentary by director Marc Scholermann and writers/producers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who seem, despite the apparent shortcomings, very satisfied with the end result of their film. On to the featurettes. The first is a fifteen-minute making-of entitled Creating the Perfect Murder. Honestly, this was more fascinating and entertaining than the film itself. Mainly here is where we get a chance to hear from the cast and crew as they detail their experiences doing research at the L.A. County Morgue as well as get some really good and gruesome insight and looks at the film’s extensive make-up F/X. It’s really good stuff and once again makes you wonder how everything could go to shit as quickly as it did. From there we get an eight-minute chat with real life pathologist Craig Harvey about the field and the reasons he chose to take part in it, a music video, and an extended and gorier version of Pathology‘s final autopsy scene. All in all, there’s some quality stuff to be sifted through here.

This is a truly middle of the road experience. While it would be easy to dismiss this flick and tell you to stay away, Pathology is also home to some really visceral bits of horror that you may not want to miss. In the end this is a solid rental that’s not for the squeamish. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what went wrong; maybe the film itself is in need of an autopsy.

Special Features:

  • Audio commentary by director Marc Scholermann and writers/producers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
  • Creating the Perfect Murder featurette
  • The Cause of Death – A Conversation with Pathologist Craig Harvey featurette
  • “Unintended Consequences” music video by Legion of Doom F/ Triune
  • Extended autopsy scene
  • Trailers

    Film:

    2 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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    Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

    Directed by Colin Bemis


    Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

    The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

    As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

    Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

    Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

    In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

    On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

    In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

    Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

    • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
    3.5

    Summary

    Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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