Director: Mark Hartley
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 5/10
When embarking on the journey of remaking a film, there’s usually one of two types of end products. There’s the remake that deviates greatly from the source material in hopes to create something new or, in the case of Mark Hartley’s Patrick, it’s a near mirror image of the original. Fans of the original 1978 Australian horror classic will find themselves in very familiar territory here, which can be looked at as either a loving homage or an unnecessary retread. While the case could easily be made for either one, I’d like to believe the former.
The film revolves around Kathy (Sharni Vinson), a young nurse who gets a job in a home for coma patients. One patient, Patrick, stands out as a special case for her and despite being completely comatose, she immediately forms a bond with him. As it turns out, Patrick has an acute telekinesis, and begins interfering with Kathy’s life. She begins communicating with Patrick through a laptop, which he can type on using his mind. As Patrick’s power grows so do his violent outbursts.
Aside from the obvious technological advancements like typing on a computer rather than a typewriter, this version of Patrick is extremely similar to the original, both in tone and visual style. It’s not a shot for shot remake per se, but it’s damn close. It’s very clear that Mark Hartley was a huge fan of the original, placing in tons of little references to Richard Franklin’s version.
Charles Dance plays the mad scientist Doctor Roget, who is performing various experiments on Patrick in order to (hopefully) wake him up. Dance owns the role and proves to be the film’s highlight even though he gets far less screen time than most of the other characters.
While the plot is essentially the exact same, Hartley ups the ante on the violence and jump scares by adding additional scenes of gore and more supernatural Patrick tomfoolery. Some of this works effectively and some of it feels downright silly. The scene with Rachel Griffiths as Matron Cassidy in the basement was more climactic than the original but when Patrick starts sending text messages to Kathy it’s just a bit too ridiculous.
Being 35 years since the first film, advancements in technology enabled the filmmakers to do a lot more with the abilities Patrick can use against his victims. The kills are far more elaborate and brutal this time around, but the CG work looks very poor. Fortunately, there’s a solid amount of practical effects at work, just not enough.
Patrick is a fun throwback to the cheesy shock flicks of the ‘70s that’s backed by a great score, but it still feels completely unnecessary. Hartley captured the essence of the original, but does little to add to the story.