Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Medical student Paula wins a place at Heidelberg to study anatomy. Her grandfather is proud that she is to attend his old stomping ground, but her father - a GP - is strangely unenthusiastic. After some med school hi-jinks at Heidelberg, Paula starts to think that there's something odd going on when a young man she met on the train turns up on her gurney. And, sure enough, her investigations uncover a dark conspiracy. But who exactly are the conspirators?

Anatomie has some good points. Franke Potente, looking rather more demure than in Run Lola Run, makes a credible scream queen/final girl type. The production design is effective and the cinematography attractive, with a nice contrast being drawn between the ultra-modern medical facilities and the old-fashioned town. Mucho dinero was clearly spent and it's all on the screen.

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But other than this, I just did not like the film at all. After a promising start it quickly degenerates into a series of horror/thriller cliches and would-be shock moments, strung together by an increasingly haphazard plot. Admittedly films of this sort are rarely known for their great plotting. Just look at the Italian giallo for instance. But while Setfan Ruzowizky is unquestionably a talented director (I actually like his Luis Trenker meets Sergio Leone "Alpine western" The Inheritors) he just doesn't quite have the panache (Argento, Bava) or the attitude (Buttgereit, Fulci at his best) to bring it off.

Or maybe it's just that I like extreme - and preferably sleazy - euro-horror and was always going to be disappointed by a slick Hollywood-wannabe film that tantalised with the prospect of scenes of mutilation, dissection and necrophilia but failed to deliver them and instead concentrated on laughs and thrills.

Those enamoured with the idea of a German Coma-meets-Scream might well like Anatomie. Myself, I would have preferred Schramm or Nekromantic.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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An anatomy student encounters creepy goings on at med school.
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Adele Hartley **1/2

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Writer: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Starring: Franka Potente, Anna Loos, Sebastian Blomberg

Year: 2000

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Germany


EIFF 2000

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