Patrick (1978)

I was somewhat amused to note that IMDB lists this one as a “romance” (as well as Horror and SF):  After all, we’re talking about a comatose patient who has developed impressive telekinetic powers, thanks to his current state, and is using them to harass anyone who gets too close to the nurse he has fallen in love with.

Yep.  A romance.

Yeah, right.

This is a suspenseful and well-made Australian film which, while there are a few spectacular moments, gets most of its undeniable power from its carefully constructed set-up and eerie details.  As it progresses, we slowly learn of the extent of Patrick’s gifts – and see that there is a lot more going on under the surface in the Clinic than we suspected.  It isn’t so much a film that gets under your skin, like The Sender, but one which lets us see how dangerous its central character is long before we learn just how powerful he is – or what he’s already done to those around him.

There are several quite scary moments, as well as two gross-out scenes involving frogs.  The best part, however, is Robert Thompson’s performance as Patrick, which dominates the film – even though he barely moves a muscle throughout.

While it may not have been a huge success, it clearly made a strong impression, as it spawned an Italian “sequel” two years later and a 2013 remake (and sequel!).  Not bad for a film only a few people remember anymore.

But you’re probably better off just watching the original.

As overused as psychic gifts and telekinesis have become these days, it is always a pleasure to see a film which found a new way to use them.  Hopefully, with it now available on Blu Ray and DVD, it will find a new audience.

It deserves one.

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