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?
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
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
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
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.