PURCHASE                      INSTANT VIDEO


PATRICK: EVIL AWAKENS is fairly faithful remake of Richard Franklin’s classic Australian horror film, but you wouldn’t know that as none of the credits even mention that it’s based on the original film written by Everett De Roche. Ultimately the remake is a mixed bag. Visually a much more polished film with some decent acting by the entire cast, it suffers from some odd plotting, editing and an overreliance on “boo” scares that get annoying after awhile. 

Kathy (Sharni Vinson) lands a job at an isolated psychiatric hospital that specializes in comatose and brain dead patients. She’s especially intrigued by the patient in Room 15 named Patrick (Jason Gallagher). She has been told by Dr. Roget (Charles Dance) that after witnessing the brutal death of his mother and her boyfriend and suffering an injury himself, he is beyond help. Patrick is brain dead and can’t sense the world around him. Any movement (like his spitting) is purely involuntary. 

But Kathy is convinced he’s trying to communicate with her. Soon strange events start taking place and people start dying in unusual ways. Could Patrick, using mysterious psychic powers, be able to control these events in his comatose state? If Kathy can’t figure out a way to stop his killing spree, she might be his next victim. 

I can understand why they would remake PATRICK as the original suffers from it’s low-budget, but I find it odd that director Mark Hartley and writer Justin King haven’t done much to improve it. As a matter of fact, some things work much better in the original. 

This version does have a nice look and a better cast, but it’s not scary and suffers from lame jump scares and a truly over the top score by Brian DePalma’s frequent collaborator, composer Pino Donaggio. The music is overwhelming and at times so over reaching that it almost becomes comical. This is no slight on Donaggio, as he’s a great composer, but this score is ratcheted up to 11. 

With major pros and cons, PATRICK: EVIL AWAKENS is hard to recommend because it suffers from a number of issues. Sadly it seems that there’s a decent film hiding somewhere between the original and the remake, but it just can’t find it’s way to the surface. Personally, I would stick with the original. Not because it’s a great film, but it showcases Richard Franklin’s burgeoning talent that he would hone with ROAD GAMES and PSYCHO II earning him the moniker of the “Australian Hitchcock.”

AUGUST 8, 2014