Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Patrick (1978)

Directed by:
Richard Franklin

I know some people, people whose horror film taste I'm usually in tune with, that consider this an underrated, unjustly neglected gem. Sorry to say, I just don't see it with this one. After electrocuting his mother and her lover, young Patrick (Robert Thompson) becomes, "170 pounds of limp meat hanging from a comatose brain." Well, at least that's how the video box colorfully describes it, anyway. Four years later, still seemingly docile and deep in a coma, Patrick appears to be using telekinetic powers to wreak havoc on the staff of an isolated hospital. Susan Penhaligon (THE CONFESSIONAL) stars as Kathy, the newly divorced nurse who strikes Patrick's fancy. Intriguing premise, but this Aussie "thriller" is in serious need of some grit, some shocks, some scares, some bite... something of interest. But the fact it has a PG-rating and is burdened with an extremely dull, eventless script (written by Everett De Roche) means it really goes nowhere and takes its sweet time getting there. Some rather flimsy characterizations don't help matters much either. Director Franklin (a devotee of Hitchcock) thankfully got better and followed this up with ROAD GAMES (1981) and the surprisingly good PSYCHO II (1983). The cast includes Robert Helpmann as Kathy's boss, Rod Mullinar as the ex-husband, Julia Blake as the head matron and Bruce Barry as a neurosurgeon.

Two years later, a basically unrelated Italian "sequel" PATRICK VIVE ANCORA (aka PATRICK STILL LIVES) was made using the same basic coma-patient-uses-psychic-powers-to-kill plotline. That film (stupid as it is) turned up the notch when it comes to gore, sex, sleaze and overall exploitation and is nowhere near as boring as this one.

Score: 3.5 out of 10

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