Title: Patrick: Evil Awakens
Director: Mark Hartley
Starring: Charles Dance, Rachel Griffiths, Sharni Vinson, Peta Sergeant, Martin Crewes, Damon Gameau, and Jackson Gallagher
Running time: 1hr 35min, Rated R,
Available on VOD /In Theaters 03.14.14
A remake of the same named 1978 film is the story of Kathy (Sharni Vinson), a nurse whom is hired at a private psychiatric clinic run by the intense duo Doctor Roget (Charles Dance) and Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths). Kathy is introduced to patient Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), a young man who’s been in a coma since he was 15 when he murdered his mother and her lover in a bathtub, and then attempted suicide. Kathy is appalled at the realization that Dr Roget has been performing cruel and inhumane experiments on Patrick, and discovers that Patrick is able to communicate with her while comatose; first physically by his spitting reflex, then by telekinesis. Patrick develops an obsession with Kathy, and hurts anyone close to her – her boyfriend by taking control of his mind and causing him to self harm, then her reporter friend who also happens to be male.
The bad: Without even seeing the original, this movie feels like familiar territory. Maybe Tarantino had it playing when I was roaming around Video Archives one weekend and I remember some snippets. At least I know now where he came up with that scene in Kill Bill. I didn’t really like Kathy, she seemed too weak to be the heroine. How low is her self esteem when the guy she’s interested in spits in her face, and then she gives him several chances, even when Patrick is manipulating him to harm himself. She’s supposedly unaware of this at first, but c’mon; I would’ve never called the guy after the spitting incident. Even after he suffers severe burns to his hands after Patrick forces him to grill them, I would’ve told the guy he’s friend-zoned and left. I’d rather be lonely than put up with that madness. When she stands in front of the mirror scantily clad with just a white towel and hears it cracking, why would anyone stand in front of it? Get the hell away from it, it’s glass you moron! You can’t yell at your mirror from the safety of your hallway or at least drop to the floor? There’s a gruesome scene where Dr Roget is still aware of his surroundings and attempts to pull the electroshock wands away from his head that Patrick is controlling. Are we just supposed to believe it’s at a low enough voltage to have mental and bodily control, but still be incapacitated? I’ve been electrocuted, you ain’t doing shit.
The good: It had a bit of comedy where I’m not sure it was meant to be. Kathy tests Patrick to see if he’s faking when she sticks her hand down the front of his shorts, which was probably intended to shock or titillate, but I laughed. Later on Patrick manipulates several comatose/zombie patients into waking up and chanting creepily “Patrick wants a hand-job.” The silly predictable death of Kathy’s only female friend (that was already shown in the trailer) was almost Looney Tunes-esqe when she gets crushed by an elevator; the cherry on top was the “splat” sound effect. Jackson Gallagher was like a poor-man’s Robert Pattinson in the looks department, but did a decent job as Patrick. You would think it would be difficult to screw up comatose, but it has been done and luckily not here. Rachel Griffiths and Charles Dance are consistent in pretty much anything they do; both play evil and creepy so naturally. It’s like Nurse Ratched and Josef Mengele re-imagined and re-birthed .
By throwing in some familiar technology (social network, cell phones) Director Mark Hartley’s take turned it into a modernized gothic tale. I would’ve preferred without the somewhat hokey CGI effects of the flying furniture, melty cell phone and the car going over the cliff, but they and some of my nitpicks were easily forgivable with the intense score and some good editing with jump scares.
Total rating: B-
Reviewed by: JM Willis