ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Anatomie (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Stephan Ruzowitzky

Starring:
Franka Potente/Paula
Benno Furmann/Hein
Anna Loos/Gretchen
Sebastian Blomberg/Caspar
PLOT-CRUNCH
Paula (Potente) is a medical student who gets accepted at an exclusive Heidelberg medical school. Once there, she slowly uncovers an underground society of doctors who don’t play by the book when it comes to research on humans in the name of science. To complicate matters, there’s a psycho duder on the loose and he’s one beer short of a six-pack! ! And how were your school years?
THE LOWDOWN
This German bad boy was a box office hit in Germany. Now I know why, Anatomie has a lot going for it. First off, it has a dark atmospheric feel and lots of bleak visuals (the hall of human models is one for the bloody books). Second of all, it has a great lead in Franka Potente. She was kool in "Run Lola Run" and kicks arse here too (is it me or does she look like a young Jamie Lee Curtis?). And last but not least, it doesn’t shy away from the red stuff. You want bodies opened up? People cut in half? You got it! Pinhead would be proud.

This movie makes no apologies for what it’s making the viewer go through. Every time someone would wind up on an autopsy table, I would fear the worst and then the film would deliver exactly what I didn’t want to see (thank you). The film had me cringing like a virgin on prom night and yes, I did squint my eyes a few times in disgust. To be honest I have a thing against cadavers and doctors…they give me the willies. This movie’s cruel intentions worked on me: I was uncomfortable (in a good way). I mean why else do we watch horror movies? Finally one that affects me! I like films that go straight for the jugular.

Now for the bad news: The script has its shares of problems. First off, the plot holes, three that really hit me are: 1- the murder of a very prominent character and how the next day nobody notices he/she is missing. 2- how after being chased by two maniacs Paula still remains at the school. 3- a character’s true nature is uncovered and it’s impossible that he could have gotten into the prestigious school…like no damn way! I also thought the movie ended too abruptly, but that’s a minor quibble. But my biggest complaint is the film’s evolution. It goes from being a morbid mystery (I solved it within the first 15 minutes) about a whacked out doctor cult to being a teen slasher, psycho on the loose opus with a pinch of whodunit. The last segment although very effective reminded me of the finale of "Scream" with the two nutballs going haywire. It’s clear that they tried to imitate the "American" formula and that’s kind of a letdown because the film could have taken so many different directions.

Yes, the film’s influences are very obvious. A little bit of "Extreme Measures" some "Nightwatch" and a tad of "Scream". It’s almost like the film is torn. One side wants to be original and true to its German roots and the other wants to go the "American" formula way. Lucky for us, even though they get some inspiration from the US slashers it can’t hold back on its German vibe. The familiar elements are there but are communicated in a more ballsy and more relentless way. The last stalk sequence for example had me on the edge of my seat chewing on my shoe. Anatomie doesn’t fully know what it wants to be but there’s no denying that’s it’s an exhilarating ride. This flick has an edge. Let’s cut this one open…
GORE
This chili is hot!!! People cut in half being dissected while they’re conscious (brr), headless corpses, bloody stabbings and lots more! I loved the hall of corpses frozen in plastic. What a sick/beautiful display.
ACTING
I saw the dubbed version so it’s a little hard to judge its acting, but I’ll do my best. Franka Potente (Paula) is cute in a simple way and expresses all emotions honestly. She’s very natural and will be a star (see her in BLOW alongside Johnny Depp). Benno Furmann (Hein) has that classic Arian look and does what he has to do very well. Chicks will also dig his great body; brother works out! And no horror flick is complete without the token slut and Anna Loos (Gretchen) handles the part like a champ. It’s refreshing to see a tramp that also has some intelligence. What a turn on! Sebastian Blomberg (Caspar) has very thick eyebrows and he relies on them to do most of the acting. I though the dude was way too chill in respect to what was going on around him. Traugott Buhre (Professor Grombeck) delivers his monologues with passion and has a very unique presence. Andreas Gunter (Franz) was hired to wear glasses and do a sex scene. He’s no Brando.
T & A
Benno Furmann (Hein) gives it up for whoever will dig. He shows his tight ass and his cut chest. We also get another dude's ass. Us heterosexual men are not treated as well: Franka Potente in panties and Anna Loos in bra/underwear. What’s up with that? I wanted more! When the token slut keeps her bra on in a horror movie you know society is going to shite!
DIRECTING
Ruzowitzky shows off here. He loves sweeping pans, tight shots and extreme close ups (especially in the sex scenes). He likes to associate sex with death (he cuts back and forth between a sex scene and a violent scene). He gives the film a good pace and sure knows how to set up bone chilling moments (I loved the flickering lights). I was impressed.
SOUNDTRACK
The score is very eerie when it’s used. I thought they overdid it with the hip songs. The only track I recognized was one by Fat Boy Slim. I really dug the tune that played during the sex scene between Gretchen and Franz…kool stuff. I also dug the elevator-like music that played in the autopsy room…creepy…
BOTTOM LINE
You should all see Anatomie. It’s an interesting mix of German macabre and US teen slasher. Yes, it’s a bit schizo and at times very clumsy but one thing’s for sure: it blows 97% of the current American slasher flicks out of the bloody water. It has guts and goes for the kill. If you’re sick and tired of the pansy movies we’ve been getting these days (Urban Legends, Valentine…) then Anatomie is the cure. I for one am never stepping foot in a medical facility again. I will die sick…fuck that!
BULL'S EYE
Here’s one mistake I picked up: Hein visits Paula and she notices a big scar on his left breast. A few minutes later, when Hein takes off his shirt the scar is not there anymore. How’s that for fast healing?

Apart from her education in Munich, Franka Potente also studied acting at the world famous Lee Strasberg theatre institute in New York.
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