Severin Films // 1978 // 96 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Alice Nelson // April 5th, 2014
Spoiler Alert: This one ain't about the starfish that lives in Bikini Bottom.
Kathy Jacquard (Susan Penhaligon) is a nurse who has recently taken a job at a private hospital in Melbourne Australia, where she is assigned to Patrick (Robert Thompson,) an acute coma patient who's been unconscious since he killed his mother and her lover three years earlier. Kathy shows a compassion for the young man that the rest of the staff does not, and unbeknownst to her, Patrick has special telekinetic abilities that allow him to control things using only his mind. As Patrick begins to fall in love Kathy, he becomes so possessive of her that he begins wreaking havoc on the people in her life. When Kathy figures out just what Patrick is up to, she realizes it won't be so easy to rid herself of this psychokinetic psycho.
Here is a typical scene from the film Patrick: Close up of Patrick in a coma, his eyes wide open. Someone he hates or believes wants to do him harm is standing just outside his door. They reach for the knob, but they don't turn it. Tension is building along with the appropriately suspenseful music. The hand gets closer to the door knob, touches it even, then, then...nothing. They walk away as the music subsides, and cutâ€¦end of scene. Things like this continuously happen for 90 very long minutes.
Patrick is an Australian import from 1978 and it suffers from the same affliction as many '70s horror films: It ain't very horrory. Thompson is a fairly capable actor, if you count lying in bed with your eyes bugged out for 90 minutes equal to a Meryl Streep-like performance. The crowning achievement of Patrick is that it makes a guy in a coma look like a first class a-hole, but other than that, it's a pretty ho-hum story that never really amounts to much of anything.
What do we know about this Patrick kid? Not much. It opens with him (in very tight high-waist '70s style jeans) killing his mother and her lover. Why? Who knows. Sometime after the vicious murders, Patrick has some kind of accident -- but we never get specifics about the mishap that leaves him in a vegetative state at a private clinic run by a mad man named Dr. Roget. This nutty professor is played by Robert Helpmann, whose overacting abilities far surpass his fellow castmates, but he is one of the few highlights of the film.
Penhaligon's performance is fine, not great, not memorable either. In fact, the acting in Patrick is really okay, better than I thought it would be before sitting in front of the boob tube to check this thing out. But adequate acting, combined with so-so writing, and a flimsy story isn't anything to get too excited about. In addition, it does have a tendency to meander at parts, and the editing is choppy, interrupting what little flow there is. Never for one moment did I find myself on edge, or scared of what Patrick's super powers might do to Kathy and the people in her life. It's easy to watch this film while doing almost anything else, because it doesn't elicit any emotional attachment to the characters or the story. Hey, I like a good horror film just as much as the next bloke, but Patrick isn't very good or very scary.
Severin's Patrick (Blu-ray) is a 1.85:1/1080p HD presentation that appears as if it were transferred directly to Blu-ray without any re-mastering. The film is grainy, the colors washed out, and the lighting is bad. The simple Dolby 2.0 audio sounds tinny and distorted, especially when the suspenseful music kicks in. Extras include a commentary by director Richard Franklin; an hour-long collection of interviews with Franklin, two of the films' stars, the screenwriter, and one of the producers; a vintage television interview with the director; the original theatrical trailer and a few television spots, an Easter Egg of the trailer for Patrick Still Lives in all its glorious awfulness; and a standard def DVD copy.
A forgettable attempt at horror that really isn't worth your time.
Hopefully, Patrick won't kick my ass with his psychokinetic powers for
finding this film Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Severin Films
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Italian)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Trailers/TV Spots
* DVD Copy