So I was going down the list of movies classified as neo-noir on IMDb, to see if I can find any hidden gems I wasn’t aware of and to see what films I wanted to re-watch and review on this site. Quite aways down this list I noticed this movie, Pathology. I thought “I remember that movie!” I originally watched this film back in 2008 when it came out on DVD for two reasons, fairly good reviews from horror fans and it had Alyssa Milano in it. From what I remember I liked this film and thought it was an above average horror movie and Alyssa wasn’t in it as much as I would have hoped. I would have never thought of this film as a neo-noir though.
On a second viewing I wanted to see why this would be classified as neo-noir and if I would agree. So here are the elements I picked up on that would make it a neo-noir. We have a lot of shadow and washed out grey scenes that look almost black and white. There are a lot of shots filmed from a ground eye view, popular in noir. We have a femme fatale played by Lauren Lee Smith that sucks our protagonist in. Our main protagonist gets in a situation that is way over his head and very bleak. This gives us the sense of doom that all good noir movies posses. We have heinous crimes committed, though these crimes are not committed for profit like most noir. There is not a very happy ending, just like most great noir.
This story starts with a gifted doctor, our protagonist, Ted Grey played by Milo Ventimiglia. He leaves his girlfriend played by Milano to go study Pathology at an unnamed prestigious city morgue. There he meets a slightly socially awkward Ben played by Keir O’Donnell. Ben is an outcast and not accepted by the in-crowd led by Jake, played by Michael Weston and includes Smith’s femme fatale character. Ted is slowly drawn into the popular group of gifted pathologists with nights of drinking and drugs. They soon drag Ted into their sick game of killing people and then having the others in the group figure out how they did it. This is just the start of the dark journey we go on.
A few great smaller parts played by Larry Drake and John de Lancie were very entertaining. This is written by the writing team of Neveldine and Taylor who also brought us the Crank movies.
So is this film a neo-noir? I think so, it definitely has horror elements, but mostly these are because of the gore, we are dealing with people who cut dead bodies open to see why they died after all.
I think this little film is worth watching for horror fans and noir fans alike. It’s a pretty good story with a few like-able characters and a lot of unlike-able ones.