Film Review: Errors of the Human Body (2012)

SYNOPSIS:

When a potentially lethal virus is created within his new lab, Dr Geoff Burton is shocked to discover he is not only the unwitting cause, but also its first victim.

REVIEW:

At a time when the horror genre is packed full of loud bangs, gory torture and CGI monsters it is refreshing to find a film like Errors Of The Human Body. This is an understated, thoughtful production that tackles issues greater than simply what the filmmakers can get away with.

Written by Shane Danielsen and Eron Sheean, and directed by the latter, Errors is much more of a thriller than a typical horror film. Geoff (Michael Eklund) is a research professor starting over at a facility in Dresden following the death of his baby son and the subsequent breakdown of his marriage. We quickly realise Geoff is extremely troubled and almost on the verge of a breakdown as he cannot let go of his previous life despite his wife having moved on. Through flashbacks we see the agonising death of his son and Geoff’s sole purpose is now to continue his work into how this happened.

After arriving at the new facility Geoff meets his former intern Rebekka (Karoline Herfurth) and learns of her research into tissue and limb regeneration which has now stalled. He also meets Jarek (Tomas Lemarquis) who is carrying out similar research to Rebekka, although somewhat more recklessly and it’s not long before Geoff himself becomes part of this program as the line between wrong and right becomes increasingly blurred.

How much you take from Errors will depend to a large degree on how much you buy into the characters and their motives. It is never fully clear who is on which side but this just makes the film more interesting. With his shaved head and blue eyes Jarek is immediately presented as the bad guy, a scientist out of control and willing to take whatever risks are necessary to further his research. Rebekka is the idealistic one, somehow hoping that Geoff’s arrival will solve more problems than just the ones in her laboratory, and facility head Samuel (a toned down Rik Mayall) offers just enough to make the audience suspect he knows more than he is letting on. It is in these performances that Errors is possibly at its best. Each actor is on topn form slowly turning up their performances as their motives slowly become clear and the story develops. Eklund is particularly strong as the withdrawn and understated Geoff who through a series of events becomes increasingly manic and tortured as his life unravels.

The director must take a great deal of credit. Nothing in Errors is rushed, nor any detail ignored. The stark, almost abandoned corridors of the facility blend with the cold, wintry outdoor scenes of Dresden; the grey palate being a constant throughout the film and this reflects in much of the underplayed action. There are scenes where the camera seems to linger just a few seconds longer than necessary adding to the tense atmosphere, as if the director wants to emphasise the awkwardness and discomfort of the characters. The moral conundrum over the research is hinted at but never becomes lecturing and is left purely down to the audience to draw their own conclusions.

It would be fair to say that Errors is quite a tough watch. As I said, this may depend on your investment in the film but as the twists and turns are slowly revealed the realisation of where the film is taking you is a shocking one. Typically though, this is so understated and quiet as to be almost missable and there is as much emphasis on what is not said as to what actually is. There are obvious references to Cronenberg and Lynch in this film but they are subtle and reverent as opposed to outright parody and Sheean is clever in knowing when to push and when to draw back from cliché or horror staples. There will always be some familiarity in the horror genre but there is enough originality here to keep you interested right to the end.

To conclude I didn’t really enjoy Errors, but then I’m not sure this is the intention. I would recommend the film to anyone looking for a change from the usual gore or monster storyline and you won’t be disappointed. But don’t expect to smile at the end. This is a film that draws you into its dark heart and takes you on the same unpleasant journey its characters experience.

Errors of the Human Body (2012)

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