Exquisite Tenderness Review

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Years after being suspended for carrying out unauthorised experiments, a twisted doctor returns to the hospital in which he practised, determined to get his revenge and finish his work.


Moonlit hospitals, surgeons turned psycho and hypodermic needles the length of your arm seem like nightmare material ripe for a thrilling, scream- and gore-packed horror film. Well, at least in theory.

Dr. Roger Stein (McDowell) is a stern-faced surgeon and inventor of a life-saving implant whose research gets sabotaged. The culprit is Dr. Julian Matar (Sean Haberle), medical genius number two, struck off three years earlier for dodgy experimentation. Matar, having discovered a life-saving fluid, is bitter about getting the boot and turns murderer to reap his revenge. So Dr. McCann (Glasser), a standard gorgeous career woman, decides to play hospital heroine, and gives chase to the resident psycho, followed, in turn, by resident hunk James Remar.

Schenkel, director of Knight Moves, offers up a weird mix of Gothic settings, cheesy romance and fast-paced action. Horror-wise he goes straight for the jugular. Syringes are shoved into eyeballs, foreheads and up nostrils - while Charles Dance speaks only a few lines before his mouth gets sewn up.

The themes are given scant attention; Schenkel seemingly content with slasher movie formula, and the opportunity to look at medical paranoia is lost among seen-them-all-before shocks. And while Matar, with his gladiator physique, may make for a convincing nutter, he is possibly the least believable doctor of all time. Every time he saunters on screen the likelihood is laughter rather than screams.

Gore hounds will no doubt have their fill, but the doctor-gone-loopy scenario had real fright potential for a paranoid nightmare of medical phobias.