22 June 2024

Frightfest 2012: Errors Of The Human Body Review

The debut feature from screenwriter Eron Sheean, who was responsible for penning The Divide for Xavier Gens (which also starred Michael Eklund), Errors of the Human Bodyis a film that belies genre-specific categorisation. Part Michael Crichton medical thriller, part David Cronenberg body-horror, with a hint of the classic Frankenstein, it’s both a challenging and intriguing film – although it is not without its faults.

The film follows Canadian scientist Dr Geoff Burton (Eklund) who takes up a position at a scientific institute in Dresden, Germany, with the intention of continuing his research into random embryonic abnormalities – research borne out of a personal tragedy (the death of his infant son) that has haunted him for years. Hooking up with his former intern, Dr Rebekka Fiedler, now one of the top researchers at the institute, Burton becomes fascinated by her research into a regeneration gene, one that could have possibly saved his son. But it’s not only Dr. Burton who’s interested in her research as he finds out when he spies the mysterious and creepy Jarek (Lemarquis) using her formula on the mice in his basement ‘mouse house’. Racked by guilt over his son and fixated on Jarek, sure he’s plotting something nefarious, Burton steals one of the lab mice to run his own tests. However when his experimentation goes wrong and he’s bitten by the mouse, Dr. Burton becomes convinced he’s become infected, a human test subject for Jarek’s modified regeneration gene, and he might not be wrong…

Errors of the Human Body couldn’t be more timely. Playing on the fears of genetic modification and stem cell research, the film is a dark, often bleak, look behind the curtain of science, showing the true price of medical breakthroughs – doctors pushed to the brink, experimentation that many would say borders on the inhumane, and the possible future consequences of (medical) success. These themes, whilst central to the film, run parallel with the very human story of Dr. Burton, whose life and deeds have made him a broken man. Thankfully Eron Sheean cast the perfect actor for Dr. Burton in Michael Eklund. One of the best character actors working today (you’ll know the face even if you don’t know the name), it looks like Eklund really threw himself into the role of Burton and his commitment really gives the character a believability and an emotional resonance that grounds the film come it’s almost fantastical conclusion.

The film is not without its problems however. With an over-long running time, Errors of the Human Body suffers from too many endings and a third act that drags out the action to almost a snails pace. I understand that writer/director Sheean wants to show the gradual breakdown, both physical and mental, of Dr. Burton but that could have been achieved without a ridiculously long montage of him running through Dresden.

However despite the films issues, with Errors of the Human Body Sheean has managed to craft an interesting, intelligent thriller that never panders to the audience, never gets bogged down in medical mumbo-jumbo, and best of all never stoops to the usual “science gone bad” style story we typically see from these types of genre film. For that he must be applauded.

This Was a review from Phil at Blogomatic3000

UK Release Date: 27th August 2012 (Frightfest)
Directed by: Eron Sheean
Cast: Michael Eklund, Karoline Herfurth, Tómas Lemarquis, Rik Mayall, Ulrich Meinecke

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