After violently murdering his mother and her lover, Patrick (Robert Thompson) lays comatose in a private hospital. When a pretty young nurse (Susan Penhaligon) begins working at the hospital, Patrick tries communicating with her, while others in her life are being hurt and killed in mysterious ways.
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'Patrick' is one of those movies I've loved since I first rented it on VHS at my local mom and pop video store. I had a fascination with horror movies, and a friend and I rented it based on the recommendation of the cool employee behind the counter one summer. I was blown away by how effectively scary and suspenseful 'Patrick' was, especially since it rarely used any sort of special effect, or employed scare tactics every few minutes like so many horror films have done and still do today.
In a way, this movie is a little like Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining', as it is a suspense-building horror-drama drawn out over two hours with little to no blood and gore. Instead, we get brilliant characters and super creepy moments that will have on the edge of your seat. Director Richard Franklin ('Psycho II') has concocted such a brilliant horror film, that modern directors have paid homage to 'Patrick' over the recent years, including Quentin Tarantino's 'Kill Bill'.
'Patrick' is actually a love story deep down in its dark soul, as it follows a man named Patrick (Robert Thompson) who falls in love with a girl and tries to keep her "safe". Well, that's not entirely true. Patrick has been in the hospital for the last few years since his murderous "accident" and hasn't moved a muscle, blinked an eye, or mumbled a word since he arrived. In fact, many employees of the hospital think he is brain-dead and has just been a comatose state with the exception of the involuntarily spitting.
But while Patrick's body may seem to be "dead", his mind is very much alive. So much so that some believe he is the poster boy of true evil and has telekinetic powers to control things and people. These things seem to ring true as the new nurse Kathie (Susan Penhaligon) starts to notice strange occurrences at work and home. For some reason, Patrick has taken a liking to Kathie, but nobody would know it, as he is "brain-dead". But he uses his special power to communicate to Kathie through a type writer and by guiding the men in her life to keep away from her.
Meanwhile, the head doctor of the hospital, Dr. Roget (Robert Helpmann, awesome), is a mad scientist of sorts as he tries to figure out what makes Patrick tick in this life and in his supposed comatose life. On the other hand, there is the matron of the hospital, Cassidy (Julia Blake), who thinks Patrick is truly evil and is not a fan of keeping him alive or in the hospital. So without moving a single muscle or uttering the slightest whisper, Patrick must protect himself from the nurses as well.
The film runs at a slow but steady burn, and it keeps the suspense very much alive. You'll never know what to expect or when something crazy is going to happen. There are several big twists and turns throughout, with a great shocking climax that will haunt you for a while. Everyone turns in solid performances here and Franklin uses his camera to capture the using only a couple of sets, mainly in Patrick's room. 'Patrick' is an iconic horror movie. One that has stood the test of time and still delivers thrills and chills.
'Patrick' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This is not the best HD transfer I've seen, but it's not the worst. This is definitely an improvement over the previous releases, but it doesn't have that vivid and sharp detail like it should. There is still a layer of grain that gives it its filmic quality, but nothing is polished. That being said, closeups do look more defined than the wider shots. Detail is improved, showing makeup effects and individual hairs on the actor's faces.
t's just not as clear as you'd expect. The colors are a bit of problem too, as the color timing is a bit off with skin tones looking more yellow than natural, and earthy tones looking more muted than normal. There are some compression problems, specks of dirt, and some shakiness to the image from time to time as well. Even though this looks stunning, compared to previous versions of the film, I would have hoped for a better transfer.
This release comes with four different language options, all of which are in a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix. I wish we had a DTS-HD 5.1 track, because it would have been great to hear the score and creepy sound effects from the rears, but I suppose that would be asking for a lot. So we have a 2.0 track, which is actually very good.
The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. The sound effects do offer a loud and robust sound when they happen, but only in the front speakers. The same goes for the ambient sounds and the score. Don't get me wrong. All these aspects sound good, I just think this release could have benefited from having a more immersive sound for being a suspenseful horror film. There were no issues of any pops, cracks, or hissing in this audio presentation.
Audio Commentary with Director Richard Franklin - Franklin, who died in 2007, gives a fun commentary with writer Everett De Roche chiming in about half way through. Franklin discusses the influence of Hitchcock as well as psychokinetic abilities through this commentary. The two also talk about shooting the film and the origins of the story. This was a fun listen.
Interviews (SD, 61 mins.) - Some good interviews with the cast and crew of 'Patrick' from Mark Hartley's 2008 documentary, 'Not Quite Hollywood'. This is worth the watch.
Vintage Interview of Richard Franklin (SD, 21 mins.) - An interview with director Richard Franklin about his career and life, and touches on the movie 'Patrick'.
Trailers (SD, 3 mins.) - Trailers for the film.
'Patrick' is a great horror film that is still very effective. Sure, you won't get the same amount of gore or action that you would in an 'Evil Dead' movie, but that's not what Richard Franklin set out to make. Instead he made a slow-burning, very suspenseful movie that still shocks audiences today. The video and audio presentations could be better, but there are some quality extras here. If you're a fan of horror, then you must pick up 'Patrick' on Blu-ray. It's worth the upgrade.