A particularly nasty slice of medical-themed horror, Marc Scholermann's film is the sort of thriller in which the tenderest scene depicts an autopsy. The tale of a young doctor and the fellow residents with whom he participates in a grisly series of murders followed by made-to-order autopsies, "Pathology" will best appeal to the sort of people who look up crime-scene photos on the Internet.

The story centers on Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia, NBC's "Heroes"), a doctor specializing in pathology who begins a residency at a Philadelphia hospital. (As is usual in such horror films, the hallways seem dangerously underlit.) He soon comes into contact with a group of young fellow docs, led by the crazed Jack Gallo (Michael Weston), who are so into their work that they have devised a devilish game. First, one of them dispatches an unwanted member of the community, and then the others perform an autopsy to try to figure out how it was done. Sex, drugs and general hilarity ensue.

Ted, the sort of concerned young doctor who gets off a bus rather than treat a fellow passenger in the midst of a heart attack, doesn't hesitate to join in on the fun. One motivation is the general hotness of the female doctors taking part, especially Jake's gal, Juliette (Lauren Lee Smith), with whom he is soon enjoying torrid, post-autopsy liaisons.

Eventually, though, even Ted begins to realize that things have gotten out of hand, especially after being reunited with his gorgeous fiancee, Gwen (Alyssa Milano). But when he attempts to opt out, he becomes involved in a deadly cat-and-mouse game with Jack and his former partners in crime.

Sacrificing any sort of depth, credibility or character motivation in favor of chilly atmospherics and gore, "Pathology" earns its R rating with endless grisly sequences of bloody post-mortems.

Although it might earn points with the hardcore horror crowd because of the utter amorality of its lead character, the film is unlikely to appeal to anyone else. Not helping matters is Ventimiglia's stiff, uncommunicative performance, which makes his character even more unappealing than necessary.

Lakeshore Entertainment/Camelot Pictures
Director: Marc Scholermann
Screenwriters: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Producers: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor, Skip Williamson, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Richard Wright, Gary Gilbert
Executive producers: Marc Bienstock, Eric Reid, Barrett Stuart & Yan Fisher-Romanovsky, Phyllis Carlyle
Director of photography: Ekkehart Pollack
Production designer: Jerry Fleming
Music: Johannes Kobilke, Robert Williamson
Costume designer: Frank Helmer
Editor: Todd E. Miller
Ted Grey: Milo Ventimiglia
Jake Gallo: Michael Weston
Gwen Williamson: Alyssa Milano
Juliette Bath: Lauren Lee Smith
Griffin Cavenaugh: Johnny Whitworth
Dr. Quentin Morris: John de Lancie
Running time -- 93 minutes
MPAA rating: R
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