• Review Date: April 15, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Medical thriller mixes extreme violence, sex.
  • Review Date: April 15, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 93 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The characters are part of a secret society of medical pathologists who challenge each other to commit untraceable murders; the group gathers around their victims to analyze one another's technique and then holds drug-fueled, sexual gatherings to "celebrate" their work.


Several murders, both on-screen and off, including smothering, murder by injection, stabbings, death by surgical procedure, and other startlingly creative (and violent) means of murder. Extensive footage of autopsy and surgical procedures, as well as post-mortem corpses and wounds, organ removal, and brute-force methodologies used to crack chests or remove skulls. Fistfights; assaults with blunt objects; slashings; stabbings. Characters literally make a game of murder as part of the film's plot. Discussion of a child molester's habits, past offenses, and predilections.


Sex and violence are frequently intermingled. Pathologists use severed heads to discuss whether or not women fake orgasm; fist fighting and acupuncture needles are part of foreplay; a woman slashes her tongue with a scalpel as a prelude to a kiss; repeated onscreen sexual activity includes a sex act at a murder scene; a woman's clothes are cut off with surgical tools. Also bisexual kissing, extensive nudity, characters tour a seedy brothel, naked buttocks and breasts visible, and extensive montages of couples having sex in a variety of positions.


Extensive and pervasive, including "f--k," "damn," "hell," "s--t," "bitch," "whore," "c--t," and "p---y."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink to excess (both beer and hard liquor); medical marijuana is abused; several characters smoke crystal methamphetamine; "whippits" (nitrous oxide inhalers) are abused.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this brutal horror/thriller is definitely not for kids, despite the presence of Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia in the lead role. It's full of calculated, ingenious, premeditated murders that are performed as an intellectual and moral exercise, which leads to lots of gory, traumatized corpses. The movie's violent and sexual content are both pervasive and extreme, as well as frequently intertwined (characters use needles in foreplay, have sex at a murder scene, and more). Language, drinking, and drug use are also frequent and excessive.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Brilliant young pathologist Dr. Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia) has accepted a position in the pathology department of a major urban hospital. His new co-workers are hardly welcoming, but soon charismatic Dr. Gallo (Michael Weston) shares his hidden philosophy with Ted: "It's in our nature to kill." Turns out Gallo and his co-workers have been killing randomly-selected victims ... and challenging one another to try to discern their inventive "perfect murders." After joining the group, Dr. Grey soon finds that getting out is much more difficult than getting in.

Is it any good?


With recent PG-13 horror/thriller films like One Missed Call, Prom Night, and Shutter having breezed in and out of theaters, it's at least refreshing that PATHOLOGY makes no bones about what it is: A grisly, R-rated thriller. Director Marc Schoelermann has clearly been reading the David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) playbook, as his film takes place in a visually majestic (yet still terrifying) city of secrets and conspiracies.

Kudos also to screenwriters Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor for refusing to take any easy ways out with Ventimiglia's character; Ted isn't a starry-eyed innocent embroiled in trouble, but rather a willing participant in his own damnation. Pathology is trying to shock audiences, and it succeeds -- but at the same time, it at least does so through its characters and with bleak conviction, not just with endless buckets of blood.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the fact that the movie mixes extreme violence with sex. What's the difference between positive sensuality and fetishized mingling of sex and violence? Why would filmmakers gravitate toward the latter instead of the former? What messages does this movie send about sex and violence? Families can also discuss the ethical and professional checks and balances that exist to prevent abuse by real-life medical personnel. What are the stakes when those systems fail?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 16, 2008
DVD release date:September 22, 2008
Cast:Alyssa Milano, Michael Weston, Milo Ventimiglia
Director:Marc Schoelermann
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:disturbing and perverse behavior throughout, including violence, gruesome images, strong sexual content, nudity, drug use and language

This review of Pathology was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written byquaycomputer April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

very fleshy

the plot of this movie is very interesting filled with gory cuts. Of course, full nudity should be expected since the movie is mostly focus on cutting dead(or alive) bodies - autopsy. Even though, sex scenes are not neccessary.
Adult Written by_momo_ December 3, 2009

Mature only.

I love this movie. I think if the person that's seeing it knows what they are doing is wrong(murdering people to be able to play their "game") then it can't force the person to do it too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byPPAMom June 30, 2009

You should think twice before wasting time & money on this one!

Wow, this movie was basically soft-porn!! Not good for any age, I'm afraid. The whole plot was unbelievable in almost it's entireity, and we couldn't wait for it to be over!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide