Anatomy is Germany’s answer to our present crop of Screams, I Know What You Did Last Summers and Urban Legends.Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) is Paula Henning, a young doctor’s apprentice and med student. She received admittance to a top anatomy research facility in Heidelberg and is ecstatic with her accomplishment (she’s a third generation doctor — in training). The audience is privy to murders on the campus where a group of students are in the process of dissecting a live specimen. Her arrival at the facilities automatically begins to host a harrowing atmosphere (flickering fluorescent lights, eerie occurrences with the cadavers, etc.). The anatomy center is filled with spectacularly detailed models of the human body, which we discover, are real bodies once “all the water and fat have been sucked out, then plasticized.” Coincidence? Highly doubtful. As Paula chooses studies over sex and romance, her naïve gal pal is off delightfully frolicking through promiscuity. Her discoveries lead her into wonder as she stumbles upon evidence of an anti-Hip’pocratic Society, where live dissection is done on people for the sheer research — “sacrifice one for the benefit of all others.”
Anatomy actually plays like a more adroitly construed take on American schlock like The Skulls, with a hint of the 1998 hidden thriller Nightwatch. Stefan Ruzowitzky handles the construction and execution of suspense through the preempted writing and direction. He makes good use of the camera as our eyes, and Peter von Haller’s sweeping and (mostly) steady cinematography mixed with the stylistic production design by Ingrid Henn, Andreas Donhauser and Renate add atmosphere. This is no new material here, but from a cultural standpoint, it is an interesting observation of the American influence (a/k/a desensitization) of film. Anatomy packed its fair share of spooks, shivers and tingles. I have an aversion towards dubbed movies, and my reasoning is illustrated here: the voices used don't match (do they ever?) and it makes you realize just how imperative it is for the true actor to be judged not just by physiognomy and gesture, but by tone, inflection and delivery.
With Anna Loos, Traugott Buhre and Sebastian Blomberg.[Redeemable.]