Every year the After Dark Horror Fest releases a selection of independently produced horror films, with one film, in particular, seemingly getting a bit more of a push than the others. In the fest's first year, that film was The Abandoned, one of the more underwhelming pictures in the lot. In the second year, the French film, Frontier(s), was given that nod. With 2009's line-up, Autopsy seems to be the fest darling, and, thus far, the most well received film in this year's collection.
A group of college graduates embark on a road trip through Louisiana, and, after a pit-stop in New Orleans (where they pick up a handsome Russian tourist named Andrey), the kids get in a car accident on a remote country road, when Emily (Jessica Lowndes), drives their car into a tree, running over a man in a hospital gown in the process. An ambulance soon arrives and the paramedics offer to take the injured kids to the nearby hospital from which they claimed the patient escaped. The group agrees, and soon find themselves under the watchful eye of Nurse Marian (Jeanette Goldstein), who runs a very tight triage, and insists that all of their prospective patients stay in her waiting room while Emily's boyfriend, Bobby (Ross Kohn), is seen by the seemingly benign Dr. Benway (Robert Patrick).
Emily is next to see Benway, and, after a few questions about Bobby, is sent back down to the waiting room despite her pleas to see her boyfriend. Emily decides to sneak off and explore the hospital, while, in the waiting room, Jude (Ross McColl) grows restless as his ex-girlfriend Clare (Ashley Schneider) snuggles up to Andrey (Arcadiy Golubovich), so he wanders off to smoke some pot in the men's room. In typical divide and conquer slasher movie fashion, Nurse Marian sends paramedics Scott (Robert LaSordo) and Travis (Michael Bowen) off to recover their missing patients, while Clare and Andrey meet their respective fates at the hands of Benway, who turns out to be more of a mad scientist than a doctor. It doesn't take long for Emily to discover what it is Benway and his associates are up to, and it's up to her to stop them before she, too, becomes another one of the madman's experiments.
Autopsy is a gory, goofy, darkly humorous mix of torture porn and slasher spoof. While its limited budget is evident in the somewhat shoddy production values, this is more than made up for by some really great gore effects and solid performances by a cast full of familiar faces. While I often found myself wondering aloud as to how it was Benway and his three accomplices were able to hide the fact that they'd converted a recently closed hospital into a charnel house (replete with running water, electricity, and their very own ambulance), this is one of those movies where it's not so much about the plot as it is about the gruesome nature in which people die. There's obviously a market for this sort of stuff, and, I'm proud to say, I'm a part of that market, so I had a good time with it. However, if you're a stickler for things like logic and plot, well, you may be sorely disappointed.
Lionsgate releases Autopsy as part of the 8 Films to Die For Collection, and packs it with a bunch of great bonus features, including behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentary tracks, trailers, and more.