"Pathology" DVD Review
October 13, 2008 by Zach Demeter
In a world where Saw and Crank films rank up big box office dough, it seemed inevitable that we’d eventually be met with a film that attempted to combine the two. What Pathology is is exactly that: a hyper adrenaline gore fest that is mixed in with fast paced visuals, drugs, sex and a plot that makes about as much sense as…well, crack smoking pathologists. The film hopes you won’t care that it makes little sense with the way it forces its characters to change, but the truth is you’ll get so confused by their motives that you’ll have no choice but to either shut it off or wonder aloud how such a thing could be made.
Pathology revolves around Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia), a brilliant pathologist who feels that he’s finally arrived after being welcomed into one of the country’s most prestigious pathology programs. Although he has all he could want in the world, a beautiful fiancé and his dream job, Ted eventually gets roped into the other pathologist’s deadly world. Although shunned by them at first, the pathologists “leader”, Jake Gallo (Michael Weston), eventually takes Grey in and allows him to play their little game: kill someone that no one will miss and then attempt to discover how one another had done it.
Admittedly the film actually sounds rather entertaining, but it is just a horrible mess I don’t know how they got this one made. The biggest flaw the film faces is attempting to make the audience believe that Grey would give up all he has to play these murder games as the rest of the pathologists. It almost seems like an extreme version of some kind of high school clique, where you have to smash someone’s face in poop in order to be considered “cool,” only in this case “smashing face in poop” is “brilliantly murdering some nobody.” I can buy the premise, but I just can’t buy the execution.
The film immediately paints Grey in a light where he’s smart, intelligent, and almost completely satiated with everything going on in his life. He has a beautiful fiancé and there’s really nothing that would warrant his change in attitude to suddenly become a murderous doctor. I mean he even thinks this group is bogus at first, so what does he join them for? There’s just no plausible motivation for any of his characters actions in the film. He goes from being a privileged and brilliant Harvard graduate to a crack smoking murderer in the span of about ten minutes.
I did enjoy Weston’s character, but honestly it was just too hard of a film to swallow with Ventimiglia in the lead. I can’t believe he’s an evil person, but not when he’s set up to be a good one and the only event that could be responsible for his mood change is when they’re all sitting in the bar and Ventimiglia spouts off some long diatribe about how killing people is “in our nature.” Perhaps he just believed his own medicine too strongly…I just don’t understand how this film progressed in the least.
What seems to defy reality more than anything in this film that with a group of such brilliant doctors, how they can expect to continually getting away with murdering random citizens and, eventually, each other. The final scene where Ventimiglia’s character ends up frying everyone in a giant fireball is satisfying to watch, although the results of it are just about the stupidest thing you could witness. In the end everyone pretty much dies and it just becomes an incredibly disappointing film. It will keep your attention, but only in hopes that it’ll get better and you won’t want to run screaming due to its absolutely worthless plot.
One thing that became clear to me that this was almost a modern take on Flatliners, only that film at least had a reason for the individuals to act strange…this one, not so much. I will say that the visual effects are quite satisfactory and never once did I feel that the bodies looked fake or CGI. Other than that though, you can Skip this one without any fear of missing something entertaining.
Pathology arrives on DVD in a standard amaray case from Fox Home Entertainment, without any bells or whistles (No digital copy!? Shocking!) aside from a handful of extras. Menus are simple and easy to navigate, but the enjoyment ends there as there just isn’t anything worthwhile to look at. For what it’s worth the film features a satisfactory video transfer that boasts plenty of detail and wonderful clarity and the 5.1 sound mix compliments the crazy visuals of the film, but you’ll be so disheartened by how utterly disappointing this film is to really care about what’s being tossed into your ears.
First up is a commentary with director Marc Scholermann and Writers/Producers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Yes, there is actually a commentary for this film and it is moderately interesting to listen to, although the molesting dead body jokes gets to be a bit much after awhile. I guess we know why the film was lacking in class or style, apparently the people behind it had none either. I can appreciate dark humor, but…really…molesting dead body jokes? Only funny the first time.
Next up are the usual round of extras: “Creating the Perfect Murder” (15:02) is our making-of documentary that interviews cast and crew in typical fluff fashion, while "The Cause of Death" (8:05) takes a scientific look at the area of pathology. Finally a music video, "Unintended Consequences" (2:21) and "Extended Autopsy Scene" (3:04) wrap up our extras. Oh and a trailer for AvPR. Seriously that movie came out on DVD and Blu-ray months ago, why is that being advertised here?
I actually really wanted to enjoy this film. I like the entire main cast involved with it, but there just wasn’t any real sense to the film in the least. I enjoy mindless violence and gore as much as the next guy, but not when it conflicts so harshly with the characters in the film. This film had potential, but by making our center character cave in so easily to the strange world of the pathologists in this film, it just totally ruined the progression of the films plot. If a little more time had been spent on the character development, perhaps this wouldn’t have come off as such of a weird trip. Skip It.
Pathology is now available on DVD.