SEPTEMBER 28, 2008
I wanted to see Pathology in theaters, but someone talked me out of it, saying it sucked (Spooky Dan really liked it, but that dude liked the Halloween remake, so that was sort of like a 2nd strike against it). But I promised to rent it as soon as it hit DVD, and I did. Five days after it hit DVD.
Well it was neither terrible or good. It’s certainly well made, and the cast is on their game (although Milo Ventimiglia really needs to stop playing the brooding good guy who constantly flirts with his darker side), but it’s just not a very enjoyable film. The script is by Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine (I’m sorry, Neveldine/Taylor, as they credit themselves on the film and introduce themselves on the commentary. Apparently they have fused together), who wrote and directed Crank, a fact that the poster/back of the DVD doesn’t let us forget. But comparing it to Crank sets up a different movie; it would be like going out of your way to point out that Schindler’s List is from the same guy who made Hook. Crank is a blast from start to finish, excessive and ridiculous with no point other than to have a good time. But that’s not what this film is like at all; there’s some occasional (and hilarious) black humor in the first half hour, but after that its just a dark, kind of depressing movie, with no characters to root for and no real suspense to drive the narrative either.
See, like all of these sort of “good guy joins a club of bad kids and then realizes they are crazy so he tries to get out” movies, you pretty much know the entire plot structure right from the start. Guy will meet the “group”, they will dislike him, then welcome him, then he will get “too close”, do something he regrets, back out, get the “you can’t just LEAVE!” speech from the bad guy/group leader, sides will be drawn, and our hero will eventually prevail. Unfortunately, our “hero” is Milo’s character, who cheats on his fiancé (though I can’t blame him, Lauren Lee Smith is fucking hot as hell), smokes crack, and kills at least two people who never did anything wrong to him. It would be one thing if he were to pay for his crimes in the end, but no, he actually becomes MORE of an asshole in the final ten minutes, killing everyone rather than report them, and even roping in another med student who is seemingly in love with him to aid him with yet another murder. Go Milo!... I guess?
It does have its moments though. Milo and Lauren have a super hot sex scene after they kill her abusive father (Larry Drake!), fucking the shit out of each other with his fresh corpse just a few feet away. And Michael Weston is wonderfully sneery as the main antagonist/would-be best friend. There’s a bit where he knocks over a bunch of champagne glasses that floored me; between that and the one in Dark Knight, it’s a great year for spilled drink gags.
But these moments aren’t enough to give it more than a very slim pass. The uneven tone really hurts in the long run, and since the basic idea has been done so many times, there aren’t enough new ideas to keep viewer interest. Also, at no point does anyone get fucked on a mailbox.
The DVD has a nice smattering of extras, including an amusing commentary by Neveldine and Taylor, plus alleged director Marc Schollerman (since N&T also produced and even worked as the camera operators, I am guessing it was a Poltergeist type of deal). Schollerman barely speaks, but N&T are pretty hilarious at times, mocking each other’s dialogue and camerawork, making things up, etc. They even mock the Lakeshore logo, which I appreciated since I hate that goddamn thing. Schollerman actually has the best line though, when he mocks the Twister MPAA rating ("intense depiction of very bad weather") when discussing the lengthy reasons for this film's R rating (which is pretty impressive in its own right). There are also a pair of featurettes, a music video, an extended autopsy scene (worth watching for the fantastic score that accompanies it), and for some goddamn reason, the AVP2 trailer, listed as an actual extra (instead of like “Also from FOX”). It also replaces the original, pretty cool poster with a generic cast lineup that attempts to make Alyssa Milano's role look substantial, when she's really only in the movie for about 10 minutes.
So if you’ve ever watched House, MD and wondered what would happen if they all started killing each other, this might be the movie for you. Otherwise, it’s a good concept that is ultimately weighed down by the script’s schizophrenic and rather generic execution. Oh well. Bring on Crank 2!
What say you?