Anatomy | Varied Celluloid

Anatomy

Posted by Josh Samford On October - 8 - 2007
Plot Outline: Paula Henning is a bright young medical student who has just been given the opportunity to study at the prestigious Heidelberg University. Contrary to her father’s wishes, she decides to go; leaving her family and dying grandfather behind. All seems to go well at first: she makes new friends, has a brilliant teacher, and a charming young boy quickly begins to fall for her. Until one day she makes the shocking discovery that one of the corpses used for experimentation during the lecture actually belonged to a young guy whom she had just met the day before. Much to her dismay, Karen eventually realizes that within the much acclaimed Heidelberg University there exists a secret society called the AAA; which conduct experiments on living human beings for the benefit of medical progress. As their slogan promptly points out, “Experimental killing of the few to ensure the survival of many”. Needless to say, Paula soon becomes the target of a maniacal member of the group who is determined to shut her up once and forall.



The Review
I have to admit that I had zero expectations for this movie as I popped it into my dvd player during one of those lonely, rainy nights. I had never even heard of it before, and I decided to give it a rent for the sole reason that I liked the title. I didn’t even know it was a German film, and I sure as hell didn’t expect that I’d spend 100 or so minutes reading English subtitles to fully understand what was going on. Yet, I must say that “Anatomy” proved to be a pleasant surprise for the most part. With the Hollywood horror scenario currently characterized by tired, repetitive slasher flicks and unnecessary remakes, this foreign film seemed to be a breath of fresh air.


One of the positive things about “Anatomy” is that, unlike many other horror movies, it actually has a story to tell. And I dare say a quite ambitious one too. We are presented with a secret society whose scope is to conduct experiments on living human beings for the benefit of medical science. And by experiments I mean the literal cutting and removing of flesh and body parts. Naturally enough, in a movie with this sort of plot you would expect it would have its fair share of blood and gore. In all honesty it had a substantial amount, but it’s not something which would make you lose your appetite for a week. And to tell the whole truth, I was actually expecting a little more. However, the real strength of the movie lies in the concept itself. Imagine yourself waking up tied to an autopsy table, powerless to do anything other than to stare at mysterious masked men who are cutting your abdomen apart. The idea alone makes you feel slightly uncomfortable. I mean, you could look at all the gore present in the George Romero zombie films, and something in the back of your head will tell you that what you’re seeing is just a fictitious horror movie with fictitious zombies. When you see the zombie from “Day of the Dead” rising up from the autopsy table with all his kidneys falling on the floor, you could somewhat say to yourself that this zombie is just a fictional character. You just can’t relate to a zombie. This is not the case with “Anatomy”. You know that all the characters in this movie are common human beings just like you and me, and for this reason the decapitations somewhat get more under your skin. And mind you, this whole concept isn’t just scary; it’s even quite amusing in its own demented way. It’s like, one day you make a new friend. The very next day you find him dead on the autopsy table for experimentation during your anatomy class. Call me sick, but I couldn’t help myself from giggling at that part.


Another thing that impressed me was the acting, and here I’m specifically referring to Franka Potente. I have to admit that this is the very first Potente film I’ve seen; I still haven’t got around to watching her most famous film to date being “Run Lola Run”. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by her performance. She seems to be a very versatile actress, and her character in this movie was totally believable. If there is any justice left in the world, she has the potential to become a major Hollywood figure in the near future. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for most of the other actors in the movie. I didn’t find most of them the least bit believable. And to be completely honest, this wasn’t completely due to their performances as such. This is where I think this film fell into the first of a number of clichés. These students should be the crème de la crème of medical science. And chances are that if you are one of the brightest medical students in the country, you look and act like a nerd. And if you are a nerd, you probably won’t even know what a gymnasium is. Yet, nearly all of the students depicted in this movie seem to have been sculptured from stone. It’s as if they spend their whole day working out at the gym instead of burying their heads into boring medicine books.

The Conclusion
This leads us to the other negative aspects of the movie, which are practically present in the whole second part. Just when I thought I had found a modern horror movie with a difference, I soon became aware that I was wrong. The second part of the film basically consists of the same, old, tired elements present in 99% of slasher flicks released nowadays. There’s the inevitable sex scene, the death of the slut, the survival of the good girl, the boring chase scenes and the unsatisfactory ending. To make things worse, the movie’s soundtrack is totally off-putting. I mean, I can understand that the movie was mainly targeted at teens; but do we really have to listen to a Fat Boy Slim song in a horror movie? It was really like watching “Dawson’s Creek” at one point. And it’s a real shame because this movie really had potential. The second part of the film bored me out of my wits, even with the hundred plot twists the director decided to include. I was very disappointed it went so downhill throughout the end, because I really wanted to give this movie a higher rating. I guess I have to keep investing in my search for a truly outstanding, original modern horror movie.



Review contributed by Scarface

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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