Patrick divides US critics

14 March, 2014 by Don Groves

Rechristened Patrick: Evil Awakens, Mark Hartley’s re-imagining of Richard Franklin’s 1978 cult horror film Patrick opens in the US today.

Many US critics had already seen and reviewed the film, which is being released simultaneously on Video-on-Demand and in cinemas in Los Angeles, New York and Columbus, Ohio, by Phase 4 Films.


The latest batch of US reviews is a mixed bag, ranging from the mostly effusive to a couple that were dismissive. On the positive side,’s Brian Orndorf declared, “Armed with a brand name and movie geek recognition, the producers have elected to mount Patrick once again, using contemporary fright film mechanics to sell a familiar tale. Against all odds, they’ve managed to succeed where many efforts fail, returning the tension and peculiarity of the premise for another go-around of telekinetic terror.”

Orndorf praised the performances of Sharni Vinson, the nurse who forms a rapport with the seemingly comatose Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), and Charles Dance and Rachel Griffiths as the clinic's psychiatrist and his daughter, the matron.

“Eschewing subtlety but retaining good taste and an interest in the particulars of gory make-up effects, the picture avoids remake potholes, preserving the creepiness of the original while entertaining its own capacity for telekinetic destruction,” Orndorf concluded.

Variety's Sydney-based critic Richard Kuipers said "the pic has some wobbly dialogue and doesn’t deliver full-blown terror, but should satisfy audiences hankering for old-school genre entertainment….

"With veteran Aussie exploitation mogul Antony I. Ginnane producing both the original version and this remake, it’s perhaps no surprise that [it] is largely faithful in plot and tone to its predecessor. Were it not for the sight of cell phones and computer screens. audiences could be forgiven for thinking this reboot was made in the same era as the Richard Franklin-directed original."

The Dissolve’s Adam Nayman quibbled with the jerky plot and cross-cutting but found it  “a handsome-looking horror movie.”

He too was won over by Vinson, finding her “sympathetic in a role that thankfully never devolves into mere damsel-in-distress shtick. Her physically and emotionally agile performance makes her the perfect foil for a bad guy who spends the entire movie flat on his back.”

The Village Voice’s Nick Schager bagged the film as ludicrous and a “techno-thriller of brain-dead proportions," while noting, "The usual jolt scares involving slamming windows and shattering glass are plentiful, executed with the same dreariness as the romantic entanglements and revelations about Patrick's past Oedipal insanity."