Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Land of Oz: Patrick

Australia is a curious continent, existing only as a country because England needed a place to dump it's stale beer and criminals.  In spite of that dubious beginning, it's a thriving country that has proved to be helpful in most major conflicts of the world.  Not only that, but they gave us Crocodile Dundee!  Of course, they also gave us Crocodile Dundee III they're not perfect.  Before that great moment- and that shitty one- they had a fairly-thriving film market that managed to stay under the radar for most Americans.  This movie, however, managed to be a cult hit in spite of this and is fairly well-available.  As a result, I can't ignore it any longer.  This film is about a young man's freaky journey into becoming a dangerous Carrie-eque telepath- despite being in a coma!  As a character drama, this could be boring...or it could be great.  What will the result be?  Find out in my review of...
Before the credits, we get an awkward scene involving an older couple coming home and fooling around.  I'd rather watch the couple fooling around from Santa Claws!  The guy- who has not the woman's husband- talks about her 'creepy son Patrick' and, sure enough, he shows up.  Going all Psycho on us, he drops a toaster in the tub and kills them.  Jumping ahead in time, we are introduced to a young woman who tries to get a job at a nursing home.  The head nurse is a complete and total bitch and won't hire her since she hasn't been a nurse in 'this country.'  No, they don't really address it, so neither will I.  Anyhow, the head doctor comes by and tells the woman to hire her...just because.  Random acts of fate are real people!  Our heroine gets the night shift and is assigned to Room 15.  Why is everyone afraid of this room?  Because it houses Patrick, a young man who has been in a coma for three years...for some reason.  No, they don't really address this either, so neither will I.  The next night, the man's estranged husband breaks into her apartment and molests her, but she won't get in the mood.  In the film's best line, he says 'So much for female rape fantasies.'  Seriously, Australia- WTF?!?
Strange things start to happen around Patrick and, to the movie's credit, they are actually pretty subtle.  For example, in the first scene with him and the woman, the window opens itself for no clear reason.  Our heroine tries to get over her estranged husband's attempted sexual assault as an appeal for their marriage and goes to a party.  She is set up with a neurosurgeon (gee, this won't come into play later), but that guy runs into some trouble.  All of a sudden, he nearly drowns in his pool, claiming that someone was pulling him in.  What?  Nobody was near him when it happened though!  In spite of this, our heroine begins a tentative relationship with the man while continuing to work her shift in Patrick's room.  Things go well on a date and the woman brings the surgeon home for some 'late night Fosters'...only to find her place a mess.  She blames her husband for the mess- if anyone would at this point, it would be him- but he declares his innocence.  Things don't get better as a mysterious thing happens while our heroine is typing up a memo for the doctor.  For some reason, words begin to appear on it that aren't hers.  Hmm...
Things get even worse when the head nurse finally decides to off Patrick, due to the weird things that are happening around him.  Incidentally, the doctor explains that Patrick was kept alive as part of some experiment to spot the moment of death in people.  I smell The Tingler, here.  She gets killed when Patrick controls her body and makes her grab the conductor.  Our heroine shows up the next day and tries to convince the police that Patrick is aware of his surroundings and has powers.  Surprisingly, the cops are not keen to believe this, especially when the neurosurgeon is not keen to believe it.  Patrick is busy, however, and manages to trap our heroine's husband in an elevator for a couple of days.  Why?  To get her all for himself, of course.  Things continue to not improve at the hospital as the head doctor decides to get rid of the staff one day and finish off Patrick.  Desperate to end it, the woman goes back there- despite being fired- and confronts our paraplegic-villain.  He smashes stuff around the room, but she doesn't fall for it.  He finally gives in and asks her to put an end to his nearly-deadened life.  She does so, putting an end to his rampage...or does it?
This movie is good, but it definitely has some flaws.  First off, the premise is fairly-creative, although Psychic Killer came out in 1974.  The movie doesn't blow it's creative wad early, making it heads and tails above many other films in the genre.  The film also sets up a nice, dry atmosphere to juxtapose against the drama and death of the story.  Now for the bad news: the movie is just too long.  At over 110 minutes, the movie is a bit padded out in the middle, much like the average American consumer.  Just like said consumers, the movie is a bit sluggish about getting anywhere.  I'm all for setting things up and building suspense, but the movie just takes too long.  The whole sub-plot with the estranged husband really doesn't add much to the story.  In addition, some parts of the film feel really out of place.  Seriously, why is there a scene where the husband tries to pretend to be a rapist in order to smooth things over with his wife?  Who writes something like that?!?  Really now!  Okay, I'm done talking about that now.  If you like cult movies, you'll have a good time with this one.  Just know that it could use a good trimming of about 15 minutes or so.
Next up, we get the film's only sequel from 1980.  I don't suspect anything- do you?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. This one is an odd one for sure, but I did like how subtle it was much to the same extent as PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, it wasnt so outrageously over the top that it defied believability. I need to pop it in for a second viewing soon