might not be on the tip of every tongue, but Australia’s favorite telekinetic
coma patient is one of the few horror movie villains known affectionately by
their first names, like Freddy and Jason. He might look easy to outrun, but he
has a long paranormal arm. Mark Hartley gives him a dark and stormy rebooting
in Patrick: Evil Awakens (trailer here), which opens
this Friday in select theaters.
brain trauma nurse Kathy Jacquard arrives at the Roget Clinic (a remote sanatorium
for persistent vegetative patients that looks like it was designed by the same
architect responsible for Norman Bates’ house), Patrick Thompson apparently
just lies about, creeping everybody out. Occasionally, he spits too, but that
is one of those involuntary reflexes. Soon
though, he begins communicating with the empathetic Jacquard via his powers and
the nearby computer terminal. Initially, Jacquard is determined to save Patrick
from Dr. Roget’s dubious shock treatments, but she soon starts to suspect her
patient is behind all the mysterious mayhem happening around her.
Patrick is definitely the clingy type. However, Dr. Roget is no saint either,
but he is a wizard at coming up with synonyms.
His daughter, Matron Cassidy is not exactly warm and friendly either.
This will be a tough gig for Jacquard, but it will be worse for the men looking
to worm their way into her life.
a cult favorite is always a risky proposition, but probably no filmmaker could
tackle Patrick with as much credibility
as Hartley, a certifiable expert in Australian (and Filipino) exploitation
films as the director of the wildly entertaining Not Quite Hollywood and Machete Maidens Unleashed documentaries. Hartley cranks up the gothic elements,
drawing nearly as much from the Hammer Frankenstein franchise as the original
source film. It all looks great and gives Charles Dance OBE plenty to chew on
as Dr. Roget. While there is an over-reliance on cheap jump scares in the early
going, Hartley cuts loose in the second half with some deliriously over the top
not exactly a feminist triumph, the figure of Jacquard is comparatively
proactive and You’re Next’s Sharni
Vinson’s performance is reasonably assertive. At least, she is not sitting
around waiting to be a victim. Likewise, former Oscar nominee Rachel Griffiths (for
Hilary and Jackie, remember?) pulls
off a few well turned character development surprises as the severe Matron
Cassidy. As for Jackson Gallagher, you could say he is rather stiff as the
genre standards, the new Patrick is
pretty impressive, featuring a massively moody score composed by Pino Donaggio
(probably best known for his work with Brian De Palma and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now). Hartley also finds a
wickedly funny way to drop in Brian May’s original Patrick theme. It is certainly preposterous at times, but it still
works quite well, all things considered. Recommended for horror movie fans and
Ozploitation junkies, Patrick: Evil
Awakens opens this Friday (3/14) in select theaters.
Labels: Australian cinema, Horror Movies, Mark Hartley