As Paula quickly discovers through her studies, there exists a crazy, frat-like organization on campus whose members like to perform autopsies. What’s so crazy about that? The surgeons of this secret society like to perform said autopsies on live humans. Naturally, that results in danger for her and creepy imagery for us.
Slick, sick and stylish, the film is written and directed with considerable suspense by Stefan Ruzowitzky (who helmed last year’s underseen and underrated Deadfall). It’s also a better mainstream horror film than expected, for Germany or any country, which may be why I’ve returned to it a few times since its original release on home video. I now prefer Mill Creek Entertainment’s Blu-ray because, while it loses the supplements of Sony’s earlier DVD, it makes up for it by containing the 2003 sequel.
To its immense credit, Anatomy 2 is no carbon copy of the first film. It switches gears from the slasher genre to the medical thriller, yet retains Ruzowitzky’s twisted touch. It helps he returns to scripting and directing. (Potente, meanwhile, graciously pops in for a cameo to tie the pictures together.)
This time, idealistic intern Hauser (Barnaby Metschurat) joins a Berlin hospital and soon is invited to join a group of select doctors who gather weekly. As he learns, they’re all anti-Hippocratic, but since he’s eager to rub shoulders with the bigwigs, he joins anyway. Perhaps his decision has something to do with a late-night sexperiment with a beautiful woman (Heike Makatsch, Love Actually) who gives him seven orgasms. Seven.
The lot is conducting clandestine research involving synthetic muscles operated via remote control that improve one’s strength by some 400 percent. Unfortunately, the docs are intent on creating these supermen at all costs, even if it means murder.
Anatomy 2 isn’t better than its predecessor, but stands as its own being. Ruzowitzky could have taken the retread route, but opts to shake things up while still playing upon the public’s distrust of doctors and fear of bodily harm. In the process, the sequel becomes far more glossy and far less gruesome, but it works, and I wish the franchise had continued. —Rod Lott