by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A young hot-shot reports for duty as a new pathology resident in a top teaching hospital. As time goes on he realizes that the other residents are playing a homicidal game - murdering street people and criminals in highly unusual ways in an attempt to fool their peers, who will perform the autopsy. The hot-shot is repulsed at first, but he is a cold person himself, and loves the intellectual challenge of trying to figure out how the murders were performed. There is, however, one major hitch in the fun and games. If he wants to play, he can't always be on the guessing team. Occasionally he has to supply some creatively murdered corpses.

Flatliners meets The Lost Boys?

Not exactly.

That basic plot summary barely hints at how dark and twisted this story is. The murders get the amoral doctors sexually excited, and they often make whoopie right in where they make their kills, or in the morgue itself. The adrenalin rush from their mass murder spree, coupled with uncontrolled drug consumption, drives them to the very edge of madness, and then beyond the edge, as they keep raising the stakes. The doctors eventually start to murder each other, each other's girlfriends, and beyond. Where could it go beyond that? Let's just say that the final scene makes every possible effort to shock the audience.

Pathology is a black-hearted thriller about sociopaths who commit murder for kicks, but it is more than that. The film is so depraved that it goes beyond the thriller genre and into the realm of gorotica, and offers enough sex and splatter to qualify for the Grand Guignol. The backdrop for the story is just as twisted as the plot line itself. Scene after scene pictures the doctors performing autopsies - and that is only the tame stuff, the legitimate medical processes performed on the corpses during normal working hours. The secret murder club adds all sorts of additional desecrations on the dead bodies when the innocent doctors have gone home.

The L.A.Weekly summed up the film's niche-market appeal perfectly:

"When a movie opens with the diner scene from "When Harry Met Sally" as performed by cadavers, and later proceeds to sex scenes involving scalpels and needles, the actual plot is inconsequential. Fans of hard-R exploitation will love this; everyone else will likely be appalled. Screw 'em."

To which I would only add that I can't believe this was ever rated R. If any mainstream film deserves an NC-17, this one does. "R" means that kids can go with parents, right? I wouldn't recommend letting your kids see this one unless they are in their forties. Between the explicit close-ups of naked corpses, the callous treatment of internal organs, the detailed medical processes, the sadism, and the drug-and-murder-fueled morgue sex, this film would provide an impressionable child with enough nightmares for a lifetime. It's just not a family picture, unless you mean the Manson Family.

Or possibly the Osmonds.

Also, I wouldn't recommend taking a date, unless you are trying to break up with her.

Having offered those precautions, I have to admit that the film works on a deep visceral level.  Pathology is ugly and cynical, to be sure, and there is no character to root for. Its "hero" is a mass murderer who isn't as bad as his fellow serial killers, and he was an arrogant, unlikable prick even before he got hooked into the murder game. And yet if you are into "shock gratia shock" cinema, this meets your quota for a while, and does so with good production values, a healthy budget, and competent actors. It is an effective "guilty pleasure" film which I didn't enjoy personally, but probably would have if shock and gore were my particular brands of guilty pleasures.


* widescreen anamorphic

* whatever








6.1 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. Not unsurprisingly, assuming that the potential audience for this sort of nihilistic material is a small one, Pathology received only a minimal theatrical run. It never reached more than 46 theaters, and didn't even do well in those ($100,000 total gross over three weeks), although the weak average per theater may have occurred because there was no cost-efficient way to market the film to its target audience in time for a theatrical release. Fueled by internet reviews which may help match it up with its potential audience, the film may perform substantially better on DVD.


  • Lauren Lee Smith showed it all in some dark sex scenes.
  • There are some naked corpses.
  • The Alyssa Milano character is naked before, during, and after an autopsy. We presume that none of the actual nudity is Milano. Most of it appears to be a mannequin.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


It is a solid genre picture which does not cheat on the gross-outs, sex, or gore.