While it’s clear that director Mark Hartley is a huge fan of the original 1978 feature of Patrick, and the Ozploitation scene, this is none more evident than in his fantastic documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! It seems an obvious choice for someone so immersed in the subgenre should take the helm and wield a reimagining of the classic Aussie feature, what is absent however, is the essence of the original feature that made it so iconic.
That’s not to say that it’s poorly constructed, the film is crafted well enough and Hartley does well to tap into the world of psychokinesis, and draw it out for a modern-age audience. It boasts a decent cast in Sharni Vinson (You’re Next), Rachel Griffiths and Charles Dance. All of whom manage to craft out some nice performances from dialogue that feels a little strained at times.
For those unfamiliar with the narrative, Patrick tells the tale of Kathy (Vinson), a nurse who starts work at a psychiatric clinic where she meets the titular character, Patrick, a comatose patient who has the ability to move objects with the power of his mind.
Patrick is also being systematically abused by Dr Roget (Dance) and the Matron (Griffiths) through a series of Electroconvulsive therapy. This is like kicking the hornet’s nest and stirring a world of hatred in Patrick, who also becomes dangerously obsessed with Kathy and begins to manipulate things and people who come close to her, so that he can have her for himself.
The film is slick enough, perhaps too slick, not harbouring the grit of its predecessor, but the cast are engaging and tied to the script despite its flaws and bring life to the fore.
Stand out for me will always be Vinson, who deserves more praise than she currently receives and Dance happily chews up the scenery and gives across condescending like no other performer that I know. For that it’s worth the watch.
Currently this feature serves as a double feature blu-ray alongside the original in a current release by Umbrella Entertainment.
- Saul Muerte