PLOT: Ted Gray is one of the best in his class. He is transferred to a best of the best pathology program where he finds himself an outcast. Soon, Jake Gallo, the most powerful of the med school click takes an interest in the new guy. He invites him for a night of sick pleasure and offers up a secret game that this group of self absorbed, spoiled brats play. It is a case of kill those who deserve to die and find out the how of it. But Ted Gray begins to realize the level of depravity they have fallen victim to, and it is up to him to take control of his life back by ending the game. But not without a fight.
I always knew doctors had a God complex, but this is ridiculous. PATHOLOGY is the newest film from Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor who brought us CRANK. It has all the slickness and style of that film without the humor. I suppose there are a few light moments, but in a film about medical students killing not so innocent victims, only to have the rest of the gang try and figure out the how, it is a pretty dark concept. And since it is called PATHOLOGY, there is a decent amount of cutting, slicing and dicing a few corpses here or there. And in case you want a little T & A with you violence, you have a few slick sex scenes with Lauren Lee Smith and Milo Ventimiglia (from “Heroes”) bearing a little bit of skin (breast and buns). And possibly, Alyssa Milano bearing more than her soul… but don’t get too excited by this, you’ll have to see it to know what I’m talking about.
So if you haven’t seen the all too revealing trailer, and you know little about the film, here it goes. Ventimiglia is a top of his class medical student named Ted Gray. He and his fiancé, Gwen Williamson (Alyssa Milano) are both successful and seem to have the whole world in front of them. So why does Ted, when he finds himself the center of some unwanted attention by his new classmates, feel the need to fit in by betraying everything he has worked for? Once he meets the “popular” fellow students, they berate him and act like they are in junior high school. Do med students act like this in real life? Sadly, I’m guessing yes. But the top dog, Jake Gallo (Michael Weston) takes a personal interest in the new guy. He brings him along for a sick little game these a-holes like to play. Kill somebody, and let the others figure out how.
The good about PATHOLOGY is that it looks amazingly stylish and offers enough sex and gore to please fans of the genre. It is a decent ride that twists and turns its way through murder and mayhem and the power of playing God. But in the end, it feels just as empty as the characters that inhabit it. I don’t mind a film that offers up main characters that are really horrible people. But I do mind when they are so shallow and self absorbed, that it makes it difficult for you to feel anything for any of them. Ms. Milano is the only one who is semi-likeable, but she is a supporting character. The focus is Ted and Jake, two smart and manipulative sons a bitches, neither of which are all that fascinating. Certainly not as fascinating as Gallo thinks he is. These guys remind me of the snooty Boston Ivy Leaguers in GOOD WILL HUNTING that Matt Damon asks, ‘how do you like them apples’.
As far as their performances go, I liked Milo as Ted Gray. But he didn’t warrant a whole lot of sympathy and oftentimes felt sort of mechanical. I have a feeling it wasn’t so much his performance, but the way his character was envisioned. As for Michael Weston and Gallo, I don’t think I have disliked a character more than this in quite a while. Weston is so over-the-top with the role that none of it felt real. I talked to a few people after seeing the film and some liked his mad doctor performance. But when it came time for his little maniacal bit near the end, I just wanted him to die as quick as possible. Not because he was a bad person or an evil character, he was just annoying. This felt like a bit too much scenery chewing instead of a real character.
But somehow, with all the problems I had, I still felt that FLATLINERS 2008 was an entertaining couple of hours. It’s not as deep as it thinks it is, and it is not all that smart. Seriously, these characters are so moronic, many of their actions seem to make almost zero sense. I would hate to see what Gray did in high school to be part of the cool kids. But still, director Marc Schoelermann is able to deliver the visual goods, it looks pretty impressive with a few moments of icky goodness, some nudity for the boys and the girls, basically its a decent (although predictable) waste of time… you could do far worse. And at least it is a little ballsier than the recent onslaught of PG-13 slasher flicks. It might be a good DVD to check out if they load up the special features, but not necessarily a must see night at the movies. My rating 6/10 -- JimmyO