Autopsy (2008)

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Autopsy (2008)
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Autopsy (2008)
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A-Mark Entertainment
June 25th, 2009
Release length: 1:24:00
Autopsy is part of the third After Dark Horrorfest, however it was first premiered in Singapore in June of 2009. It plays on the concept of Horror and Mystery associated with hospitals, and found an estimated four million US dollar budget to fund the telling of it’s twisted tale. Between a cast of larger known actors, and a bunch of lesser ones, does this independent film of the extreme perils of drinking and driving really make for a good movie, or does this end up requiring hours of plastic surgery to make at least presentable?

The concept of the film is a rather simple one at first. A group of teens are at a party, which is shown through various still shots and footage from a handheld camera that finds everyone having a good time getting drunk or high as the opening credits roll. There’s even a scene where one of the females flashes the camera by removing one of the two shirts she has on. Once that’s all done, the camera finds the group of five after a head-on collision with a tree in the middle of nowhere, leading to the discovery that they had infact hit someone. An ambulance just happens to be passing by, stopping to help pick up the injured man, as well as bring the main characters to Mercy Hospital for treatment. The vibe inside of the waiting room is rather creepy, as there isn’t a soul to be found outside of them and a nurse named Marian (Jenette Goldstein). Eventually, the doctor starts calling them up to his office one by one, but Bobby (Ross Kohn) decides to pull out a large shard of glass his girlfriend Emily (Jessica Lowndes) had discovered, prompting him to be transported to the operating room by the staff as he’s quickly bleeding out. His girlfriend, Emily, starts to get irritated that she has no word on his condition, especially when she goes up to visit Dr. David Benway (Robert Patrick).

As the story progresses, so does its feeding the gorehounds, which is largely what the story is built around outside of establishing Emily as the main character and ignoring the rest of the cast. Of course, she has the least of extreme things happen, such as a consented spinal tap where the doctor drinks some of the fluid. This allows her to piece the events together rather slowly, including walking around the hospital’s second floor to happen on some of the other patients with a girl wearing horrible white make-up that seems to be inspired by Ringu, and being locked in the doctor’s office and just rummaging around the third floor. As she explores the hospital’s second floor, Jude (Ross McCall) goes off himself, prompting the staff to look for him. While in the bathroom trying to get high, one of the orderlies, Scott (Robert LaSardo), walk in on him, and then walks him about the grounds. As if best friends, he takes him to the medical supply room and let’s him try any drug he wants while his friends continue to be called away. It’s at this point that the final struggle to survive begins, including Emily getting a cell phone to call the police, the big reveal as to why the doctor is doing this, and a final battle that leaves the movie with a punch out cliffhanger that will make you groan, being the icing on the stereotypical gorehouse cake.

Some of the deaths in this film are rather interesting, but unfortunately as you get further in, they become more traditional. There’s a psychological scene that doesn’t result in a death, but deals with hallucinations involving a body bag, the end result making you expect a suicide, as well as people having their insides removed and left bleeding out. There’s also the reveal of a character post-spinal chord removal, and bludgeoning the back of another’s head while Scott comes in and uses what it was laying on as a foot rest completely unmoved by the situation. But, perhaps the most interesting is the final scene revealing the doctor’s secret, showing another key lead character on life support while all of his insides are strung up around the room, hanging like above a baby’s crib. But, later on, it seems like the funds on this sort of imagery ran out, and everyone just resorts to stabbing one another. There is a scene involving exploding nitrous oxide in a moment of selfless heroism, though it’s a huge fault to the film as the gas is a non-flammable one, killing what little reality you might be invested in.

But, gore abound, sometimes you can’t help but laugh. Some scenes are handled in a manner that you would swear were ripped out of a very dark humor-oriented cartoon. At one point, Scott is taking a beltsander to a body, trying to get the skin off of it, but is focused largely on a severed hand. This later leads to a cart of body parts being inadvertantly wheeled into a tense situation, and a rather comical staredown right out of the pages of an episode of Looney Tunes. There’s also a scene with Jude walking right past the guards as they are about to kill someone. The only things missing to it and the ensuing chase scene funnier are hitting fast forward and playing some Benny Hill music over them.

The production managed to do a decent job at setting up the proper atmospheres, and it does stand out well in that respect. A good example is the character with the organs ripped out and strung up, which looks somewhat stylish and can even hint at a Re-Animator style imagery, while everything else has a bit of a creepy, modern gothic tone of desolation. Unfortunately, aside the bad outside shots of Mercy Hospital that make it look non-existant and out of environmental context, its the post production that kills it. Nearly the entire first half of the film [at least my copy] had a horrible problem with the audio not lining up with the actors at all. For a good thirty minutes, you’ll honestly begin to question whether this American made film is in English or dubbed from another country, especially when the lips clearly don’t match the delayed voices. The latter isn’t the case, and eventually it does sort itself out, but it was about thirty minutes in before it did. The story of the film itself moves pretty slowly, and never really builds up much tension, as well as doesn’t quite take advantage of the atmosphere, not to mention many of the actors involved with this film just are not that good. Many times you can’t even believe that they are in mortal peril, but at leas the ones that need to show a fear emotion can do it well enough in the time given.

While Autopsy has a decent concept behind it despite it not really making sense considering it’s revealed even the police in that town apparently know the hospital was closed down, the execution made it incredibly hard to sit through. Between the obvious post-production issues, bad acting, some major errors in physics, and bland story writing that puts more attention to the gore and development of just one character, your attention will be bouncing in and out through the whole film. Sometimes the plot is interesting, and sometimes the gore is executed well enough to make you cringe here and there. This isn’t a bad movie, but it’s not that good a movie either. It’s unfortunately stuck in that boring middle. If you don’t care too much about plot and simply want to see a bunch of stupid teens you won’t give a good ghod damn about die, then this is a film you’ll probably get more of a kick out of than the rest. If it isn’t your cup of tea, it’s at least tolerable and better suited for background noise, but you’ll be checking the clock every so often if this is your movie night selection in hopes it’ll end quicker than you expect it to.

Overall Score: 5/10
Autopsy still shot
Autopsy still shot
Autopsy still shot
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.