Autopsy Adam Gierasch

On the commentary track included with the DVD release of Autopsy, a couple of actors refer to "previous drafts" of the supposed screenplay for the film, which is perplexing, as just about everything within it seems made up on the spot — and not in a good way. The plot is pretty standard, as far as these "line 'em up and murder 'em graphically" films go, with five college grads suffering a car crash after a Mardi-Gras celebration, only to wind up at an abandoned hospital where a crazed doctor (Robert Patrick) and a cleanliness-obsessed nurse (Jenette Goldstein, who most will know as Pvt. Vasquez from Aliens) perform kooky experiments. People get internal organs ripped out, others get their heads bashed in with fire hydrants (à la Irreversible), some get drills driven into their skulls and some simply get limbs chopped off. It's all incredibly gory, but familiar, and strangely un-affecting. Part of this is because the film builds absolutely no tension, while the other is a simple lack of originality. There's no pleasure to be had, even on a visceral level, from simply watching boring archetypal characters being tortured and brutalized, unless you're the sort of person who tormented animals as a child. Anyone familiar with the recent rash of French horror films, such as Martyrs and L'Interieur, knows the frivolity in trying to "out-gore" the competition, even in the deliberately schlocky manner demonstrated in Autopsy. Then again, there are always emotionally stunted boys out there with a puerile obsession with gratuitous death, which is psychologically transparent. Perhaps these fellows will get a kick out of this crap. On the upside, cinematography from Anthony B. Richmond is above average, keeping the film from looking like porn. The DVD includes the aforementioned commentary, in addition to a brief "making of" where both Robert Patrick and Jenette Goldstein struggle to keep straight faces while talking about "characters." Also included is an alternate ending, which will excite only those who care about the outcome. (E1)