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Patrick

Year: 2014
Production Co: Screen Australia
Director: Mark Hartley
Writer: Justin King
Cast: Sharni Vinson, Jackson Gallagher, Charles Dance, Rachel Griffiths, Peta Sergeant, Damon Gameau

If you haven't seen the 1978 original on which this film is based but you're a grindhouse cinema fan, you can be fairly sure this version – despite the ridiculous premise – is far better. The first reaosn is because by all accounts, the original film is terribly campy despite a Tarantino-sized stamp of approval. Second, this is a very well done frightfest.

Not Quite Hollywood director Hartley has said he was going for an American Horror Story vibe, and he and cinematographer Garry Richards have achieved it in droves.

The colour and atmospherics of the Melbourne-based locations look every bit like they could be the Carpathian mountains or eternally haunted English countryside. It's all sombre, blue tones and misty landscapes and a sense of dread coming out of every brick of the archetypal lunatic house from a hundred ghost stories.

But the ghost in this case is very much alive. Patrick (Jackson Gallagher, in what must have been the easiest acting job of his career), is the titular antihero, one of a host of patients in a coma and under the care of the pioneering but sinister doctor Roget (Dance).

He's been experimenting on bringing the invalid patients back to the world, but as incoming nurse Kathy (Sharni Vinson) finds, Patrick's more alive than most of the living of the place, especially the frosty head nurse, Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths).

Patrick takes a shine to Kathy and uses his creepy telekinetic powers to make sure she stays in his orbit – and nobody else gets too close.

There are some effective jump scares but crucially the whole thing is scary. Hartley and his creative team set out to make a horror movie and that's what they've achieved, not just a thriller with some gory jolts.

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