Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Patrick Evil Awakens

Back in the days of perusing the VHS shelves, I was never enthusiastic about Patrick (1978). The cover art depicted a guy in a hospital bed with glowing eyes. A male variation on Carrie, I thought. Never grabbed me.

When I learned of a re-make, I thought: Why?

Now I see it's because a nicely moody and atmospheric horror thriller was waiting to be born.

The film grew out of director Mark Hartley's Not Quite Hollywood, a documentary about Australian exploitation films. Asked which ozploitation film he'd like to remake, Patrick came to mind.

After the carefully executed shock of the film's opening moments, the new version, Patrick Evil Awakens, establishes a wonderfully grim, near Gothic style.

Events are  set in a creepy seaside facility for coma patients that offers plenty of dark corners. Even the gray and almost anachronistic uniforms for the nurses help established the feel and the chills.

Once that mood is established, Hartley exploits the central idea deftly.

Patrick (Jackson Gallagher) is a non-responsive patient possessing fierce psychic abilities. He's unresponsive but not unaware, and he falls deeply and possessively in love with his  new nurse, Kathy (Sharni Vinson).

Kathy's compassion for the patient invites his influence into her life outside the institute. A suitor begins to exhibit strange behavior, and an ex-lover who's still in pursuit becomes a target.

Danger and darkness escalate as Kathy clashes with the institute's director, Doctor Roget, who's played with devilish verve by Charles Dance.

Conscious of his own aging, Roget's driven to complete research he sees as his life's work. He's not above unethical measures to hurry things along, even when they are physically harmful to patients.

He's backed in his endeavors by the institute's matron nurse, a grim and sterile Rachel Griffiths of Six Feet Under.

A few incidents strain character credibility, but those are forgotten, especially as Patrick's power is unleashed in a fast paced and violent third act.

Patrick's opening in some markets March 14 and due on Blu-Ray shortly. It's worth a look for horror and thriller fans.


Charles Gramlich said...

Don't think I even heard of this one the first time around. Or had forgotten perhaps.

Sidney said...

I think it was pretty much a rental. I don't recall it on cable often or anything.

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