Review: Patrick (2013)

Patrick (2013)
Director: Mark Hartley
Writer: Justin King
Stars: Charles Dance, Rachel Griffiths, Sharni Vinson

Summary: Behind the walls of Roget Clinic, which specializes in the care of coma cases, a supposedly brain-dead patient is subjected to brutal experiments.

At the time of viewing this movie, I was unaware that Patrick was a remake of a movie by the same name that was made in 1978. J.W. Brewer, if you were planning on doing a “Remake Vs. Original” of this franchise, I do apologize. But I am going to go out on a limb and just assume the original was better after having only watched the remake.

The movie starts with a nurse at the clinic snooping around in the basement and being killed by a needle to the eye from an unknown person. We then cut to the heroine of the story, Kathy Jacquard (played by Sharni Vinson), applying for a job at the clinic. She is a highly educated expert in the care of comatose patients and is hired by Dr. Roget (Charles Dance) immediately. He does warn her though, that what he is doing at the clinic is very avant-garde and that he is taking drastic steps to improve, perhaps even awaken at will, a person in a comatose state.

While Kathy is getting used to the hospital and its coma patients (who are all topless and in one single room), we learn that Kathy is on the run from something in her life which led her to Roget’s clinic. Her friends wonder on her (imitation) Facebook page where she is and why she is avoiding phone calls.

The only coma patient with his own room is Patrick, who strangely has his eyes wide open and has a muscle spasm where he randomly spits. This is Dr. Roget’s special project. And the method of testing he uses is…a little off. He basically puts two electrical probes to Patrick’s temples and electroshocks the shit out of his head. According to Roget, he is trying to awaken long dead neurons in the hopes that the patient will make a full recovery.

For the first and second act of this movie, it relied heavily on a build-up of jump scares and eerie settings to keep the viewer interested. And then…something happens. While Kathy is alone with Patrick after one of his treatments, she learns that Patrick can actually feel and can communicate through his spitting (spit once for yes, twice for no). She tests him by touching his face, his chest, his feet, and then…

Wait. What? Hold on. Is she trying to give him a hand job? Fortunately, Kathy is interrupted by the head nurse, but what the hell was that about? What was her end game there? It was such an odd thing to happen in the movie and was so out of character. From what we saw of Kathy previously, she is intelligent, self-assured and independent. So why the hell is she sticking her hand down Patrick’s pants? Was it medical? Was she looking for a reaction? Why not just tickle his feet? It was one of those things you couldn’t really disregard. If you think I am dwelling too much on the attempted hand-jibber, I wish I was, but this little moment turns into the crux of the third act.

Patrick will only communicate with Kathy and no one else, which causes Kathy to second-guess her sanity, especially when Patrick begins to communicate through the computer monitor in his room. At this point, I was wondering if the director was going to go for one of those clich├ęd, no-longer-a-twist endings where maybe Kathy is the one in the coma and all the events that she is experiencing were symptoms of her illness or random firing of neurons, some crap like that. The scene structure of the movie sets up for such an ending, as each scene just kind of appears with no set-up, much like a series of dream sequences. Whoever she interacts with seems to hurt themselves, and although it was not as frenetic and feverish as say, Jacob’s Ladder, there were some odd things going on. 

So, I was intrigued. I at least wanted to know if I was right about how it would end. There was some decent suspense and intrigue built up and leading into the last half hour of the movie. What will happen with the coma patient who is being experimented on by a desperate, half-mad doctor as well as a nurse who is struggling with bouts of delusions? And then I watched the movie shit all over the proverbial bed.

Telekinesis. They went with Telekinesis. Apparently, for each of Patrick’s treatments, he was getting stronger and was able to better control objects with his mind, even from miles away. Patrick is controlling cars, he’s taking over people’s computers, he’s making phone calls. Not only is he making phone calls, but he’s also controlling the people he calls through the goddamn telephone if they pick up the receiver. Why, he can make a man melt his hands in a sandwich press if he wants. At one point, he doesn’t even need to make the phone calls. He just wills himself into another’s body, whether they are alive or dead.

Toward the end, Dr. Roget gets so desperate for results from the testing that he literally amps up the treatment, giving Patrick all sorts of telekinetic powers. Because that’s how electricity works. Let that be a lesson to you, kids: If you’ve ever wanted to do a Jedi-mind trick, like Luke Skywalker reaching for his lightsaber, then all you need to do is grab your favorite fork and jam it into the nearest electrical socket.

This third act was so terrible, it felt like I was watching someone smear themselves with their own shit. Sweet little Patrick was actually admitted to the clinic right after he killed his mother and her boyfriend and tried to off himself. And now he was obsessed with Kathy. Why? Because she showed him some care and consideration. Oh, and the hand job. Patrick was really keen on getting that hand job. In order to convince her to finish the (hand) job, Patrick controls all of the coma patients by making them sit up straight and say, “Patrick wants his hand job.” No, I am not kidding.

Now, if Patrick could control multiple people at will, couldn’t he have just taken over Kathy’s body and finished his hand job then? It would have given a whole new spin on “the stranger” masturbation technique. And it would have saved me a lot of frustration watching this dreck.

The movie turned into such a farce; I hardly even noticed the ending. I was half-expecting Leslie Nielson to come into Patrick’s room and go, “I just wanted to tell you both good luck, we’re all counting on you.”

Kathy kills Patrick somehow, in a way that I didn’t really care about, but right after she does so, Patrick gives himself one last surge of electricity and flies his body out the goddamn window to kill himself. Again. And I couldn’t stop laughing.

- Michael Jenkins

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