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Australia 2013
Directed by
Mark Hartley
90 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Andrew Lee
2 stars

Patrick (2013)

Synopsis: A remake of Richard Franklin’s classic Australian 70s horror movie, Patrick, updated to the modern(ish) day.  

Recently, a friend has been in and out of hospital. Visiting we've commented on the large number of attractive nurses attending to him. Sharni Vinson carries this tradition in the role of Nurse Kathy Jacquard. She’s the quintessential new and naïve nurse, recruited to a strange facility for the mentally ill where Doctor Roget (Charles Dance) is conducting weird experiments on Patrick (Jackson Gallagher). She’s horrified and tries to reach out to the comatose Patrick, and well, things go bad from there.

Here’s the thing, this is a bit of a boring movie. It’s trying to be a slightly cheeky gothic horror, but there’s no spark to be found. Kathy isn’t that well developed of a character, so much of what she does is just befuddling, especially when her hand slides under Patrick’s bed sheet. It leads to a very funny moment later, but seriously. Charles Dance is just playing Charles Dance, barking at people and waiting for his cheque to clear. And worse than that, the plot is full of false setups, narrative dead ends and general time-wasters filling in a story that is barely there.

I’ve never seen the original, which has a considerable cult reputation, so I don’t know how much is the fault of the source material and how much is the inexperience of the filmmakers, but it’s just bad. Disappointingly bad, not trashy fun bad. I wish this had been trashier, sillier, less burdened by a need to feel ominous. Mark Hartley, director of the Aussie exploitation movie documentary Not Quite Hollywood should have known to let well enough alone. As it stands his version is likely to leave you as comatose and pissed off as the title character.




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