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Monday, April 28, 2008

PATHOLOGY (2008) - Marc Schoelermann

Okay, I’ve seen some truly awful films in my time. A great many of these awful films are horror or psychological thriller movies. It just goes with the territory. The genre is open to criticism of all sorts due to the fantastical scenarios horror and psychological thrillers can bring about. And so, this month we have Pathology, a film so unbearably bad, there were moments I wanted to tear my arm off and throw it at the screen.

This monumentally awful piece of shit is about Ted Grey, a hotshot young doctor who begins his internship in a prestigious Pathology program. There, he is noticed by a group of interns who introduce Grey to a world of sex, drugs and murder. The interns play a game where they each try to commit the perfect, undetectable murder. But as Grey involves himself in these games, he finds himself losing grip on his life and reality. His life begins to spiral out of control.

Right, now that the summary is over, I find myself wondering where to start with how utterly awful this film is. The writers, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor did a pretty good job with their previous effort, Crank. Crank was over the top, completely ridiculous and as such, surprisingly entertaining. However, Pathology shares Crank’s ridiculousness, but not it’s entertainment value. The premise of Pathology is quite interesting. Can someone who excels in detecting methods of death create the undetectable death? Pretty good. Where it all falls apart is that the premise is backed up with a screenplay that is riddled with massive plot holes, abhorrent characters and a protagonist so unsympathetic as to make me wish he’d suffered a long and painful death himself.

Not one of the characters in this film is either realistic or entertaining. Ted Grey, played by Milo Ventimiglia is one of the most hateful characters I’ve ever had the misfortune of watching for two hours. This guy turns from a clean-cut super student to a morally corrupt serial killer in, literally, the length of a short car ride. It’s one of the stupidest character developments the screen has offered, and Ventimiglia’s performance is as bad as his character’s writing. Maybe it’s because Heroes is fantastical and it distracts from the acting, but if this is a fine example of Ventimiglia’s acting ability, then we wont be seeing him around for very long. When truly awful things happen to his character, Ventimiglia seems unfased. In one particularly ridiculous moment, Grey must perform an autopsy on someone close to him who has been murdered. Rather than it being a poignant and emotional moment, it is instead laughably stupid.

Grey’s antagonist in this case, is Dr. Jake Gallo, also a young intern in the Pathology program. His character is a ridiculous cliché of the brilliant psycho who’s out of control, on the edge, and shouldn’t be messed with. But really, all this character needs is a good slapping and to be told to behave. There’s nothing menacing about him, and he actually comes off like the kind of guy you’d bully in school because he’s such a little shit. Michael Weston, who was brilliant in one of the best episodes of Six Feet Under, hams it up to ninety, which really doesn’t help matters since his character is so utterly stupid in the first place.

The rest of the cast is made up of arrogant young twenty-somethings and the occasional middle-aged actor who make little to no impact on proceedings. The direction, by Marc Schoelermann is pretty awful to say the least. But it’s the script, the foundations of the film which is the biggest downfall. It tries to mix blood and violence with sex to give it an ‘edge.’ In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the script was sold with the line ‘a couple of interns cut people up and have sex in front of the corpses.’ Because literally, this is all that happens for the majority of the film. It’s really that bad. The writing is astonishingly bad, the acting is mind-numbingly awful to the point of being laugh-out loud hysterical at the wrong moments, and the direction is, to put it as simply as possible, crap. Everyone involved should take a long, hard look at their career choice and perhaps consider starting afresh as, I dunno, one of those human sign posts. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen.


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