Anatomy (2000)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Franka Potente, Sebastian Blomberg
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Storyboard Comparison, Featurettes, Still Gallery

You know that a movie is cookin’ when there is a scene in which the villain is about to get caught red-handed and you are on the edge of your seat. This is just an example of the high-quality filmmaking that one can expect from ’Anatomy’, a German horror film which is new to DVD. ’Anatomy’ stars Franka Potente (of ’Run Lola Run’ fame), as Paula, a young medical student who is attending a highly-regarded anatomy course in Heidelberg. Once there, however, Paula finds it hard to concentrate on her studies, as someone is taking their studies too far and committing murders in the anatomy lab. Despite the fact that the other students think that Paula is cracking from the pressures of her studies, or playing a joke perhaps, she continues to dig for clues and attempts to uncover the devious plot behind the murders.

’Anatomy’ plays like a straight-forward slasher/giallo film, but it is very well-made and features some fine performances. Writer/Director Stefan Ruzowitzky has obviously studied other films in this genre, such as ’Scream’ or Alejandro Amenabar’s ’Tesis’ (to which ’Anatomy’ owes a huge debt), and has come up with a very competent film. While there is nothing new in ’Anatomy’, all of the pieces fall into place, as it balances suspense, gore, humor, and action, and deals them out in the correct quantities. The film is also brilliantly shot and edited, with Ruzowitzky showing a knowledgable use of the widescreen. ’Anatomy’ does suffer from some lapses in logic (Paula knows that she is in danger, yet she continues to visit the lab!), but these don’t detract from the viewing experience. Potente is great in the lead (she looks like a cross between Lili Taylor and Colleen from ’Survivor’), and Sebastian Blomberg and Benno Furmann give good performances as well. This is the first horror outing from Ruzowitzky (his next film is a drag-queen comedy), but I’d like to see more of his suspense work in the future.

’Anatomy’ surprised me not only with how good the movie was, but by how good it looks. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen, and is letterboxed at 2.35:1. The image is incredibly sharp and clear, showing practically zero grain and no defects from the source print. The colors are very well represented with natural fleshtones and vibrant reds and blues. As noted earlier, the director makes good use of the widescreen format, and the framing here appears to be on target. The DVD features a German soundtrack which is in Dolby Digital 5.1, and sounds fabulous. The track makes good use of the surround sound spekers and offers a nice soundfield. For the subtitle impaired, there is also a dubbed English track.

The ’Anatomy’ DVD is a Special Edition and boasts many extras. There is an audio commentary with writer/director Stefan Ruzomwitzky, which is in German with English subtitles. Ruzowitzky does a fine job at keeping the talk scene specific and tells many interesting and humorous anecdotes about the making of the film. We next have a five-minute ’Making of’ featurette, which offers some cast & crew intereview and some behind-the-scenes footage, as well as a two-and-a-half minute featurette which concentrates on how the medical models, which figure prominently in the film, were built. There are two deleted scenes, both of which are short and should have been left in the film. Next is a storyboard comparison section, which offers a scene from the film running side-by-side with the storyboards from that scene. A music video is featured, but we aren’t told who the artist is, or who directed it. Still, it’s a cool song. The theatrical trailer and teaser for ’Anatomy’ are featured, both full-frame and dubbed in English. There are also trailers for ’Circus’ and ’Run Lola Run’. Finally, we have a still gallery and talent files. I urge all horror fans to give ’Anatomy’ a try, as the prognosis for this film is very good.