Written by Neveldine/Taylor and directed by Marc Schölermann, this 2008 thriller stars Milo Ventimiglia as Ted, a promising young doctor who just graduated from Harvard Medical School and got accepted to a prestigious Pathology program. This is where he and other recent med school graduates work as interns for a hospital, where they student dead bodies for the local police, to help determine the cause of death, and any clues leading to the killer in cases of murder. Right off the bat, Ted has trouble fitting in, as the apparent leader of the rest of the interns, a man named Jake (Michael Weston) takes an instant disliking to him, for no reason. Only one of the other interns, Ben (Keir O’Donnell) is friendly to him in the beginning. Eventually, thanks to Ben, Ted is invited to hang out with the rest of the interns after work, and after a wild night partying, including drinking alcohol and doing crystal meth, Ted is let into their confidence and learns their secret. This group likes to play their own sick little game, where they each take turns killing people, and then the rest of them study the body to see if they can figure out how it was done, with the goal being to see who can commit the “perfect murder”. The catch being that they only kill known criminals, as opposed to innocent people. Over the next few weeks, Ted gets deeper into this game, and begins having an affair with one of the doctors, a woman named Juliette (Lauren Lee Smith), who happens to be Jake’s fiancé. And when Jake, who still doesn’t like Ted, finds out, the group begins to turn on each other, and the quest to commit the perfect murder turns personal.
First, I have to say that I bought this DVD under false pretenses, as I thought that Alyssa Milano had a major role in it. As I’ve been impressed with her in recent weeks on MISTRESSES, and was extremely pleasantly surprised by her film MY GIRLFRIEND’S BOYFRIEND, I went on Amazon to look up other films she’d been in, that I hadn’t seen, and this one came up, so I bought it. She’s on the cover of the DVD, and her name is above the title, third after Ventimiglia and Weston, but the truth is she has a rather small role in this film. She plays Ted’s fiancé, Gwen. We see her in the opening of the film as they say goodbye to each, as Ted leaves for 3 months to join the Pathology program. About halfway through the film, he goes back home to visit her, and she reveals that she’ll be going back with him, to stay with him until the rest of the program is finished. This is after Ted had joined the game, began his affair with Juliette, and is frequently taking meth, so he struggles to hide this from Gwen as she joins him in his new place. And then she becomes a target of Jake’s wrath, as he looks for revenge against Ted. She’s very good in the role and every scene that she’s in, but it’s far less than I’d expected.
Thankfully, the rest of the cast is very good, and carry the film well. Both Ventimiglia and Westen really shine as the two antagonists, especially as the film progresses and it turns into a deadly game of one-upmanship between them. Lauren Lee Smith is also very good in her role, as she plays Juliette with perfect ambiguity, so can’t tell whose side she is on. John de Lancie, best known as “Q” from Star Trek: The Next Generation, also has a small, but pivotal, role as the doctor in charge of the program. Overall, this is a decent psychological thriller, with enough twists and turns to keep you hooked until the end. I’ll give it a grade of: B
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