Fantastic Fest Review: Patrick

No one really asked for a remake to Patrick.  The original is not exactly what you might call a “recognizable” title (one of the many reasons companies remake films: familiarity and recognition).  Nor was the original all that special (perhaps the ultimate argument to remake the film).  But a remake of the Australian ’70s film is what we get.  

And, for what it is, this contemporary take on Patrick isn’t too shabby.  I can’t tell you it’s a great film.  Trashy?  Maybe.  A cut above being “okay” is more like it thanks to some choice humor that comes through in the dialogue and editing.

The eponymous comatose patient unleashes some rather nasty mayhem, too, further making Patrick goofy, nasty fun.

Director Mark Hartley should take a lot of credit for elevating the script and infusing some visual energy and humor into the material.  He’s got a great grasp on atmosphere, even if it is a bit too CG-assisted for my taste.  The film is set at a “crusty” psychiatric clinic where Dr. Roget (Charles Dance, who is aging like fine wine and gives a great performance here) is overseeing and performing research on coma victims, including Patrick.

Sharni Vinson (of You’re NextBait 3D) is Kathy Jaquard, a young woman who takes on a nursing job at the clinic.  Instantly, she takes a liking to Patrick, a young man with a trouble past who, in spite of his condition, is able to maintain his good looks – including his muscle tone, as Jaquard is quick to point out.  Patrick, although in a coma, takes a liking to Kathy and quickly begins to demonstrate his telekinetic abilities.  But things turn deadly rather fast and everyone in Kathy’s life is put in danger.

There’s not much dramatic meat to the Kathy character.  She’s avoiding her boyfriend and avoiding her life by taking on this job at the remote clinic.  And she’s apparently not shy about feeling Patrick up to get a reaction out of him – this pays off in a hilarious way later and made me re-evaluate her name (Kathy “jack hard”?).  Kathy’s a bit all over the map and I couldn’t get a grasp on any sort of arc that was created for her.

The rest of the cast fares well.  Rachel Griffiths as Matron Cassidy chews the scenery and the aforementioned Dance has some delicious lines of dialogue.

Still, it’s all so silly – especially once Patrick’s wrath really makes itself known (although I particularly liked how Hartley demonstrated Patrick’s communication with Kathy via text messaging).  Regardless, I got caught up in it all even though, after viewing the film, I felt really bad about it. 

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