First off, while Mark Hartley's Patrick (subtitled Evil Awakens) is technically a remake (or maybe a prequel? I'm not sure on that point) of a film of the same name from 1978, I haven't seen the original in well over a decade and I barely remember it. So there will be no comparisons made and I will just be judging this new Patrick solely on its own merits.
Second, when I initially started this Australian film, I was hoping THIS Patrick would be the star...
Sadly, that was not the case. However, once I got into Patrick, I found that I actually enjoyed this subtle little psychological/sci-fi/horror thriller.
The Plot: New nurse Kathy Jacquard (Sharni Vinson) has begun working at a strange, out of the way psychological hospital in the middle of nowhere, run by the cruel Dr. Roget (Charles Dance), and his cold daughter Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths). All of the patients in the hospital are comatose, and Dr. Roget seems to be running some sort of experiments on them, but he pays special attention to Patrick. Kathy is concerned about Patrick, and the level of abuse that Roget inflicts on him. Concern turns to fear when Patrick begins displaying telekinetic powers and a dangerous obsession with Kathy...
One of the reasons I was most excited to see Patrick was Sharni Vinson. I totally fell in love with Vinson after seeing her kick absolute ass in You're Next and she doesn't disappoint in this film either. Her accessible Australian beauty is heavily played down in this film, but it doesn't make her any less of a magical heroine. She is still lithe and curious and able to hold her own against the telekinetic attacks that Patrick inflicts upon her, her friends, and her loved ones. While I am sure that Vinson won't remain in the horror genre forever, I will continue to look forward to her future performances.
Charles Dance always makes an absolutely brilliant villain, and in Patrick, he's frigging terrifying. Frankly, I still remember this guy scaring the crap out of me in Last Action Hero when I was 10. Even if he's a nice guy in a film, he's still horrifying. Dance plays Dr. Roget as an utterly reprehensible douchebag, and it's affective. There are no shades of grey in this bad guy, and it makes it fun to root against him. As Patrick, Jackson Gallagher spends the majority of the film just lying there, which gave me plenty of time to wonder where it was I recognized him from. Right around the end of the film, it finally hit me. He was on The Saddle Club, a show about girls who ride horses, that kids I babysat for forced me to watch. This isn't relevant per say... it just made it difficult for me not chuckle every time he was doing something evil and smoldering, comatosely.
Overall, the story of this film is fairly engaging, with decent effects and some intelligently staged gore scenes. The only real problem with the movie is that is falls apart a little toward the end, which is when the best horror films should be taking off. I found my mind drifting to memories of Gallagher as "Chewie" Becker on The Saddle Club. And then I started making Chewbacca noises at my dog. And then I realized the movie was over and I had no idea how it ended.
So if you do watch Patrick, which I think you should, just make sure you pay attention in the last 1/3. And then tweet me and let me know what happened, would you?
Rating: 3 Electro-Shock Treatments out of 5