Plot: What’s it about?
A traumatic event can often send people into comas, which is what happens to young Patrick (Robert Thompson). After he saw his mother and her lover in the bathtub together, something inside of Patrick snapped and he dropped in a special surprise, one that fried the lovers to a crisp and landed Patrick in a comatose state. As the years pass, Patrick simply lies in this condition and never seems to improve, even with different doctors and nurses caring for him, a recovery seems impossible at this point. But while his normal senses are of no use to him by now, Patrick has developed a sixth sense to remain alert, one that calls upon his psychic powers and of late, he’s gotten pretty good with those powers. His latest nurse is a young woman named Kathy (Susan Penhaligon), who has just left her husband and as luck would have it, Patrick winds up with a serious crush on her. As she cares for him, he begins to grow more and more fond her, but when romance looms ahead for her, his mind begins to snap once more. A young doctor wins her affections and a rekindled romance with her husband also starts to brew, leaving Patrick to use his psychic powers to try to end these affairs. But can he manage to make Kathy all his again and if so, will anyone ever discover who is behind the strange murders?
He’s in a coma…yet, he can kill. This is either one of the coolest taglines for a horror movie or one of the cheesiest, but in any case, its a memorable one. At least it holds true to the movie’s content, unlike a lot of promises made in horror movie taglines, which are often revealed to be mere marketing techniques. No, old Patrick is in a coma and thanks to his psychic powers, he can kill and of course, that’s truth in advertising. Its odd to think of a horror movie in which the main killer is in a vegetable state throughout the picture, but Patrick walks down that bold line and fares well, though it never reaches its aspirations. The premise is solid and the setup is good toward the start of the film, but it unravels as it moves ahead and by the closing moments, you’ll realize Patrick simply doesn’t offer enough thrills. The movie hits a wall about halfway through and struggles to continue, with a slow pace and ample dull moments, then hits us with an ending that merits head scratching, to say the least. But the first half is quite good and sets the stage well for what’s to come, even though that turns out to be very little, as it were. Even so, Patrick is worth a look for genre fans and Elite’s disc is solid all around, so its recommended.
I know you’re expecting for me to ramble on about the comatose Patrick here, but instead, I am opting to focus on Susan Penhaligon’s performance. As our lead psychopath is buried in a coma a mile deep, Penhaligon’s character has to shoulder most of the load and all things considered, she does very well for herself. She has a nice, solid character to work within, which is developed in good fashion and turns out to be likable, which is important here. Even though this nurse is drawn into Patrick’s evil plans, she doesn’t become involved by her own will and as such, we need to keep a solid banter with her here. She is able to play the role well and even though it is a low budget horror production, she gives a good turn and stays serious, never going over the top or adding uncalled for humor or the like. Other films with Penhaligon include The Land That Time Forgot, Leopard in the Snow, Soldier of Orange, and The Masks of Death. The cast also includes Robert Thompson (Road Games, Sin of Innocence), Robert Helpmann (The Red Shoes, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and Rod Mullinar (Dead Calm, Breaker Morant).
Video: How does it look?
Patrick is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I would have rather had a new anamorphic widescreen edition, but this is still widescreen, so I won’t complain too much. The print looks very clean and while a tad on the soft side, that’s to be expected in this case, given the movie’s age and low budget roots. But it looks better than I had anticipated, as Elite has scored this nice print and then had it authored with great skill, giving us a terrific image. The colors seem natural and bright when needed, while black levels score high thanks to well balanced contrast throughout. I do have to knock the score a shade due to lack of anamorphic enhancement, but it still looks good.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio here isn’t memorable, but it covers the material and in the end, that’s all we can ask. The film’s atmosphere is enhanced by the music and some creepy sound effects, but this is no DTS ES soundtrack, so keep your expectations in proper balance. This was a low budget movie and it sounds solid here, as time hasn’t worn too much on the materials. Thus, you won’t hear hiss or distortion, and balance seems to be good, so no elements get drowned out. The dialogue is smooth and consistent too, so no troubles there. This disc also includes Spanish and French language options, in case you’ll need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main extra here is an audio commentary with director Richard Franklin, who details his memories of the production. Not the best session I’ve ever heard, but a decent one and one that fans will want to give a listen to. This disc also includes some talent files, as well as a couple of the film’s theatrical trailers.