Directed by Mark Hartley
Written by Justin King
Starring: Charles Dance, Rachel Griffiths, Jackson Gallagher, Peta Sergeant, and Sharni Vinson
When a young nurse begins work at an isolated psychiatric ward, she quickly becomes fascinated with Patrick, a brain dead patient who is the subject of a mad scientist’s cruel and unusual experiments. What starts as an innocent fascination quickly takes a sinister turn as Patrick begins to use his psychic powers to manipulate her every move, and send her life into a terrifying spiral out of control.
Patrick has a simple story to tell and has no illusions outside its specific genre. Running like an old Hammer flick with its creepy hospital, potentially mad scientist, and revolving door of jump scares. A young nurse (Vinson), accepts a job at an ominous psychiatric ward caring for a comatose patient named Patrick (Gallagher), who, as with most horror films, isn’t all he seems. The same can be said for the familiar “crazy” Dr. Roget (Dance, Game of Thrones, Alien 3), who has a deeply, if not disconcerting desire to “jump-start” Patrick back to consciousness. Rounding out this creeptastic cast is lead nurse, Matron Cassidy (Griffiths, Six Feet Under), a hard-assed Nurse Ratchet type. The young nurse grows close to the silent patient, convinced his state isn’t as obvious as it might seem.
I was surprised at the skill of the cast for this lower budget horror tale, something that’s becoming more prevalent with films of this nature. These talented players make a fun B movie feel like a much headier work. The bulk of the film takes place at an isolated hospital that no normal person would consider working for, the perfect place for Dr. Roget’s experimental tests. Roget has a strange relationship with the blank-eyed Patrick and it’s quickly noticed by young and naive Nurse Jacquard. His insidious treatments are extreme and even cruel at times, but this is a horror film and things are rarely what they appear.
I wouldn’t consider Patrick groundbreaking in the genre, but it’s fun and unsettling film to watch after dark. Atmosphere is everything in hospital-horror, and I promise you Anthem is not accepted in the depths of this hellhole. Exploring the reaches of psychic power and compassion, Patrick will reinforce your desire to stay away from the flickering lights and questionable treatment facilities lurking on the outskirts of society and ethics.
Patrick hits theaters March 14, 2014.