Blu-Ray Review: PATRICK (1978)
I half remember seeing a commercial for this movie back when I was a child. I also half remember being creeped out by it, which was the primary reason I decided to review Severin’s new blu-ray, but alas the movie left me wanting.
Like Thirst (1979), another recent release from Severin, I was initially into it for about an hour then it started to lose me. The premise is solid, it’s about a kid named Patrick, who killed his mother and her boyfriend by tossing a heater into the bathtub they were in; it’s never clear what happened to him, but when we see him again he’s been in a coma (eyes open) for the past three years and being taken care of in a home, but the entire movie moves at a snail’s pace. Not that I have anything in general with this kind of pacing, The Vulture (1965) and The Strangeness (1985) come to mind, and they too move leisurely through their plots, and I adore them, but there are some movies that move at a snail’s pace that really feel like they’re moving at a snail’s pace and unfortunately Patrick felt like it.
As I mentioned the concept at the heart of Patrick is one that fascinated me. Being in a coma for so long Patrick has learned to develop his “sixth sense.” He can move objects with his mind, take brief control of others and move about astrally to other locations. The protagonist here is a new young nurse the home hires to care for him. Patrick takes a shine to her and decides to affect her life in such a way that I supposed to make her love him. He makes her soon-to-be-ex-husband disappear for a while, kills off a nurse who was threatening his life and finally reaches the point where he needs to defend himself from the doctor who heads up the home who performs tests on him on a daily basis.
No one else knows of Patrick’s powers except the new nurse, so it was never quite clear why this Doctor performs these tests, or why no one at the home as turned off Patrick’s breathing machine and let him die. They stress how problematic and expensive it is to keep him in this state and that only “fear” hasn’t gotten any of them to flip the switch. This “fear” is never quite explained.
As I said the pacing was what killed this movie for me. It never gets as scary as it could be either.
A remake was made and is set to hit disc in June and I plan to review it in hopes it’s got more flesh on it’s bones than the original.
It initially hit DVD in 2002 from Elite Entertainment, then in 2008 from Synapse Films now on March 25th, Severin Films releases it as a combo as it hits blu-ray for the first time ever. The 1080p 1.77:1 anamorphic high definition transfer looked as crisp and clean as Severin’s other two Aussie flicks (Dead Kids, Thirst) they just released. Audio-wise (English, French, Spanish and Italian, all 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo) the movie was just as good.
There are no subtitles.
As far as extras are concerned carried over from the 2002 and 2008 editions are the Richard Franklin commentary and the Trailer and TV Spots. Added to this Severin version but not new is a Vintage TV Interview (20:24) with Director, Richard Franklin that’s a little bit biographical as well as touching base on the movies he’s been involved with, and Not Quite Hollywood (Extended Interviews) (1:06:00), with Richard Franklin, Screenwriter Everette de Roche, Producer Antony Ginnane and Stars Susan Penhaligon and Rod Mullinar. These interviews were done for the 2008 documentary, Not Quite Hollywood; I’ve never seen it, but judging by the “Extended Interviews” label I assume there’s more here than what made it into that doc.
It’s an interesting set of interviews. Since I knew nothing of the movie’s history I learned Hollywood dubbed all the voices in it when it was first shown over here and that the Italian “sequel,” Patrick Still Lives (1980), isn’t much of an actual sequel where no one from the first movie was ever involved and is pretty much hated by director, Franklin.