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Jul 20, 2014I appreciate the film's Gothic atmosphere, the psychiatric ward the film takes place in is the perfect setting for this type of film. It's almost a cliche if you ask me. This film certainly didn't really do much for me. It certainly has a goofier approach to the story, some of the deaths are downright laughable. These were by design, so I can't really complain. And the whole 'brain dead telekinetic' killer premise, though I know this is a remake of a 70s horror movie, is really absurd to me. It's clear that the movie wants you to laugh with it and not at it. With that said, I think this film is really average at best. It's got some good acting, I thought Charles Dance was entertaining in his role. He's got great presence but the guy also has some good comedic timing to boot. Sharni Vinson is also good, but her role, or her character at least, is something that you've seen done so many times by so many different people, both men and women, that it didn't really even register with me. But that's not Sharni's fault, it's just the scripting of her character, but she's good as well. The special effects are really terrible but, again, I believe it was intentional. Give the film B-movie look and feel on purpose. So I get that. What else can I talk about? Rachel Griffiths is also good. If there's one thing you can't complain about in this movie and that is the acting. Of course they're acting out this absurdly funny story, but they're still good. I'm struggling to come up with more stuff to say about this film, so I'll just leave it at that. This film certainly invites you to laugh with it with its absurdities and eccentricities, but I wouldn't say that this is a good movie. It's average at best. When it comes to horror films, where the bad-to-good ratio is far higher than with other genres, then average is great.Jesse O Super Reviewer
Apr 24, 2014. PATRICK (1978) Australia WRITTEN BY: Everett De Roche DIRECTED BY: Richard Franklin FEATURING: Susan Penhaligon, Robert Helpmann, Rod Mullinar, Bruce Barry, Julia Blake, Helen Hemingway, María Mercedes PATRICK: Evil Awakens (2013) Australia WRITTEN BY: Justin King (based on Everett De Roche's original screenplay) DIRECTED BY: Mark Hartley FEATURING: Charles Dance, Rachel Griffiths, Sharni Vinson, Peta Sergeant, Damon Gameau, Martin Crewes, Eliza Taylor GENRE: HORROR RATING: 8 PINTS OF BLOOD PLOT: In this delightfully sick thriller, comatose patient Patrick who is psychokinetic -and psycho in love with his nubile new nurse Kathy -has some supernatural surprises for Kathy's suitors and for the scheming mental hospital staff. COMMENTS: Patrick (1978) is a unique horror film from Australia, written by Everett De Roche who brought us three of Australia's most unusual and imaginative "exploitation" era horror films, The Long Weekend (1978) and its superb 2008 remake Nature's Grave (formerly reviewed here), Harlequin (1980), and Razorback (1984). In the 1978 film, bug-eyed Patrick is a catatonic mental hospital patient with a disturbing countenance and an even more disturbed psyche. Through telekinesis, Patrick embarks on a one-sided romance with his pert, sympathetic caregiver, Nurse Kathy after she determines that he's not brain dead despite her administrators' claims to the contrary. How does Kathy figure this out? You must watch the movie to see it for yourself. Her strategy is surely lifted from a twisted scene in Dalton Trumbo's horrifying and controversial 1971 anti-war drama, Johnny Got His Gun. Jealous of Kathy's paramours, and threatened by the hospital's director who has designs on him for sick experimentation, Patrick wreaks havoc by maliciously employing his special abilities. The idea isn't new; we saw it in the 1953 sci-fi movie, Donovan's Brain, based on Curt Siodmak's classic horror novel, about the possession of a scientific researcher by a willful tycoon, who exists as a brain kept alive in a laboratory tank. In Patrick, Richard Franklin, who went on to direct Jamie Lee Curtis and Stacey Keach in the eerie Aussie, two-lane blacktop odyssey, Road Games (1981), and then brought us Psycho II (1983), does a pretty good job with this offbeat psychic concept by crafting Patrick into a straight-forward, memorable horror movie. The film was well-produced on a small budget, and despite a few flaws, withstands the test of time. Thirty six years later it's still a tensely compelling, watchable horror flick. So why remake it? With some exceptions, horror-movie re-dos often leave something to be desired. There have been a few good ones though. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) and The Thing (1982) come to mind. Without losing any of the charm of the originals, these subsequent shoots effectively capture the essences of their predecessors. New technology allowed graphic, frightening special effects. But importantly, the new versions of these films don't rely on showcasing new technology. They were made to better communicate their respective stories, and the improved production techniques enhanced, rather than replaced, solid literary devices. Sometimes however, horror movies lose something in translation when they're updated to a modern context and to our contemporary values. To skirt the problem of predictability, filmmakers frequently alter the endings. This can be a bad idea, because the scriptwriters usually got it right the first time. Changes tend to either miss the point entirely, or lose the impact of the original. The remake of Planet Of The Apes (1968) is a good example of a movie with a second-rate, amended climax. It simply can't compare to one of the most dramatic endings ever in American cinema, when in the 1968 film, astronaut Taylor (Charleton Heston) rounds a bend on a desolate beach and comes face to face with the wreckage of a famous idol from his past. That one, now iconic, chilling frame instantly and powerfully communicates the ironic, emotional thrust of the entire film. Wonderfully, documentarian Mark Hartley's 2013 revamping of Patrick, entitled Patrick: Evil Awakens, is a positive departure from the trend of lame remakes. The new version is faithful to the original, but subtly tightens up the script, introducing credible character motivations, and tweaking the timing to build additional suspense. With a bigger budget and modern cinematic tools, the new Patrick is sleek, tight, and appropriately much darker and creepy. Italian horror composer Pino Donaggio whose credits include Brian de Palma's Carrie (1976) and Nic Roeg's Don't Look Now (1973) contributes a sharp, sassy score. The refinements do Patrick justice in a way which demonstrates that Hartley is a true aficionado of the first version, and not merely going through the motions to execute a more marketable update. While this 2013 edition succumbs to a few stock conventions such as the use of dramatic orchestrations to inflate non-crucial surprises, the movie is a top-notch, general consumption chiller. Patrick: Evil Awakens is genuinely scary, rich with gloomy atmosphere and eerie tension, but free of camp, and doesn't insult your intelligence.Pamela D Super Reviewer
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