Review ‘Pathology’ DVD
There has to be a certain detachment when it comes to slicing open a human body. After all, it looks just like your own body and once you cut into the skin, you get to the inner mechanics and it can either be fascinating or repulsive. The art of pathology requires that emotional detachment while at the same time can remain fascinating as one tries to determine the cause of death.
While a fascinating premise for a character study, 20th-Century Fox’s Pathology used it more as a backdrop for a thriller that failed to thrill. The movie opened last spring to middling reviews and was immediately rejected by the movie going audience, vanishing after 21 days and earning a meager $109,045 at the box office.The movie, starring Milo Ventimiglia, was released on DVD this past week by 20th and it can be a diverting experience. Unless, of course, you like characterization. Milo’s Ted Grey has been invited to join a prestigious Pathology program in some nameless city. Being the newcomer, he’s easily dismissed or razzed by the team already in place, being tutored by the somewhat observant, somewhat creepy John de Lancie.
The quartet of residents is all attractive white folk who harbor a secret. To unleash their emotions and experience something, they have formed a club to play a secret game. Targeting and killing people then challenging one another to determine how the death was actually caused. Jake Gallo (Michael Weston) is the ringleader and sees the brilliant Grey as a rival so seduces him to play along. At first, Grey is justifiably repulsed at the notion but is brought into the circle and commits murders, slowly losing himself in the process.
Things begin to get out of hand when Grey begins sleeping with Gallo’s girl friend, fellow club member Juliette Bath (Lauren Lee Smith) and Grey’s life begins to spiral beyond his control. He’s killing people, doing drugs, cheating on his girl friend Gwen (Alyssa Milano) and no longer recognizable.
It’s about this time that Gwen comes for a visit and sucked into the game without her knowledge. The tension is ratcheted up until the story veers off the tracks and falls into predictable Hollywood territory so the ending, while neatly tied up, is not at all surprising.
The movie, written by the Crank team of Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor and directed by Marc Schoelermann, fails to make you care about Grey or the other club members. De Lancie’s mentor/supervisor character is creepy because the actor does that so well but plays a peripheral rather than central role and his connection to Gwen is extraneous. You have no clue what tipped these doctors over to the dark side, you have no idea if they even realize the moral boundaries they have crossed and when it comes down to Grey and Gallo, the motivations are all surface, without dimension.
Ventimiglia can play the jerk or the laconic figure and as seen in Heroes, something a little bit more but here is fairly flat, without shading. Weston is better as the antagonist, providing just enough manic edge towards the end to show what Grey could become if he was not careful. Smith and Milanno had little to work with so were attractive accessories to the story.
The movie disappoints because the concept is so fascinating and in the Making Of featurette, you see the actors are equally fascinated by the need to detach one’s self from the gruesome surroundings but they never really get to explore that.
Overall, the disc’s extras are perfunctory – deleted scenes, commentary, Making Of – although are well done.