A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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?
Pathology is trying to shock audiences, and it does -- but at the same time, it at least does so through its characters and with bleak conviction. 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. The movie succeeds in its mission, with more than just endless buckets of blood.
Talk to your kids 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?
- In theaters: April 16, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: September 22, 2008
- Cast: Alyssa Milano, Michael Weston, Milo Ventimiglia
- Director: Marc Schoelermann
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Horror
- 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
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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