19 February 2008 | BA_Harrison
An under-rated Aussie chiller.
Following the success of Brian De Palma's 'Carrie' in 1976, movies featuring psycho-kinetics became all the rage. In 1978, Hollywood cashed in with 'The Fury' (also by De Palma) and the Richard Burton vehicle 'The Medusa Touch'; US TV gave us 'The Initiation of Sarah'; and even Disney got in on the act with 'Return from Witch Mountain'. Meanwhile, in Australia, director Richard Franklin joined in the craze with his creepy, offbeat chiller 'Patrick'.
Susan Penhaligon stars as Kathy Jacquard, a pretty nurse who discovers that her new comatose patient Patrick (Robert Thompson) is not only capable of communicating via psychokinesis (and the occasional bit of spitting!), but is also able to kill. As Patrick gradually begins to fall for Kathy, any other man hoping to get close to her automatically becomes a target of his awesome mental powers.
To feature a malign character who spends 99.9% of the film's running time absolutely motionless, staring into space, is an unusual, but very effective idea, and one that director Franklin cleverly uses to crank up the tension: his audience know damn well that Patrick will move at some point in the film, but have absolutely no idea when it will occur (I jumped twice: first, when Patrick unexpectedly spits at his nurse, and... well... you'll definitely know the other moment when it happens).
There are those who may find the slow-burn approach of this movie a little laborious, but I loved its leisurely approachparticularly as it gave me time to fully appreciate the movie's more bizarre moments: Kathy's job interview, during which the hospital's Matron mentions that such a job attracts certain 'types' (lesbians, scoptophiliacs, necrophiliacs, zoophiliacs and enema specialists!!); two scenes in which frogs don't do so well (one has his brain smushed with a needle and another is eaten by a doctor); Kathy attempting to prove that Patrick can feel by giving him a little 'wrist action'; and repeated appearances by Patrick's 'neighbour', a crazy old man who wets himself.
7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.