After the shocking bathtub death of his mother and her lover, the sinister Patrick lays comatose in a small private hospital, his only action being his involuntary spitting. When a pretty young nurse, just separated from her husband, begins work at the hospital, she senses that Patrick is communicating with her, and he seems to be using his psychic powers to manipulate events in her life. Written by
[to Kathy Jacquard who is applying for a job as a nurse]
Why did you choose the Roget Clinic, Mrs. Jacquard? We tend to attract certain types - lesbians, nymphomaniacs, enema specialists..."
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The later 70's saw a handful of films about people with psychic powers, but this little-known thriller from Australia may just be the most unique of them all.
Nurse comes under the spell of her seemingly comatose patient, whose intense psychic powers are menacing the people around her.
Patrick is a bizarre, yet oddly moving film that benefits strongly from its off-beat and ultimately unpredictable story. It's a tale that manages to side-step clichés to become not only a brooding chiller, but a weird love story as well. There's an occasional good bit of suspense and shock that keeps the tension high. The story also possesses a strange sense of the erotic. Granted, the plot is a bit slow in pace but Richard Franklin's direction and a good cast help to carry it well.
Star Susan Penhaligon does a throughly good performance as the films heroine/victim. Rod Mulliner is good as Penhaligon's troubled husband, as is Bruce Barry as her boyfriend. Robert Thompson is also a stand-out as the films menacing title character. Even though Thompson spends most of the film lying in silence he still conveys a threatening presence, he's just that good of an actor.
For those seeking a left-field thriller that's thoughtfully well done, Patrick may just be your date.
*** 1/2 out of ****
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