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Mind-Numbing — Patrick

October 27, 2008

PATRICK (1978)
d. Richard Franklin 

The 70s was a hot-bed for psychic power movies, and unfortunately Patrick comes in at the low end of the totem pole. It’s not entirely horrible, it’s just that it feels overly familiar and I feel that I’ve seen better in similar films.

Patrick is introduced in a scene where he “overhears” a woman and her lover making sweet love and then sharing a bath; in a rage/fit of jealousy, he throws an electric heater into the tub killing the lovers, but not before the woman is revealed to be his mother.

Cut to some time later when a newly employed nurse (Susan Penhaligon) who is to take care of the title character, now in an open-eyed coma. While the staff has given up on Patrick as brain-dead, she believes him to still be aware, and creates a form of communication that involves his spitting once for “yes” and twice for “no”.

When strange incidents occur and when characters who have wronged our nurse protagonist start getting killed off, it’s no secret who is responsible.

The cast on a whole is rather bland in this one despite the almost 80s hairstyles which are rather fun to witness, and despite the ravings of Robert Helpmann’s (from The Red Shoes and Tales of Hoffmann) head doctor — who at one point munches down some frog intestines — and the stern mother-superior attitude of the head matron (Julia Blake) who ends up a crispy critter.

The effects are very low-budget, the thrills minimal and obvious, and the villain/heavy is immobile. Perhaps the only neat thing was when the nurse and Patrick communicate via typewriter.

In any case, not the best psychic thriller out there (Carrie and The Fury still top my list). And I would stick to director Richard Franklin’s later effort, Psycho II.

* star.

With the release of the Saw V, I try and catch up with a review of Saw IV, though my expectations are quite low since I haven’t enjoyed the series at all so far. That’s my caveat.

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