The Melbourne International Film Festival is in full swing at the moment, making it a very exciting time to love cinema and be in the city. One of the highly anticipated – among some circles – is Mark Hartley’s remake of the ’78 Oz Horror classic Patrick.
Who is Dr. Roget? Newspaper clippings describe him as a “shock doc”, compare him to Frankenstein. What is his strange and sinister work, described as the “repatriation of coma victims”? And who is Patrick, Roget’s “special project”?
Clearly something sinister is going on at Roget’s private clinic, a run down, dilapidated place that seems at odds with it’s modern surrounds. A nurse in a dated uniform is killed, while investigating by the light of her iPhone. And into this world comes Kathy (Sharni Vinson), a young woman on the run from her past. Things are about to get scary.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not in any way a horror film fan*, so what was it that convinced me? Well, it’s fundamentally about a coma patient developing psychic powers, which is enough to intrigue me. And then I saw it had Charles Dance (of recent Game of Thrones fame) being creepy, and I was sold.
There are a lot of horror film staples; a creepy matron (played superbly by Rachel Griffin), sinister doctor, seemingly innocent people suffering (nearly everyone), “they think it’s all over, but it isn’t”; I can’t really compare this to other films in terms of how well these cliches were done, but it worked for what I saw. Hartley’s film makes a point of telling us that in our modern world, even when we’re alone, someone is watching us, be it a murderous coma patient using telekinetics, or Kathy looking up her ex on airquotes “Facebook”**.
* Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods is my exception.
** You know that things films/tv shows do when they don’t want to say “Facebook”, but you know what it is? MyBook, FaceSpace, etc? That.