Thursday, October 13, 2016

Patient Seven Digs You a Grave: A Film Review

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*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Terror Films. This critic has worked on publicity, for this film, in the past.

Directors/writers: Danny Draven, Paul Davis, Ómar Örn Hauksson, Dean Hewison, Joel Morgan, Johannes Persson, Nicholas Peterson, Erlingur Thoroddsen, Rasmus Wassberg, Sam Dickson, Richard Falkner, Paul Fischer, Jacey Heldrich, Barry Jay, Brian McAuley, David Steenhoek, Aidee Walker.

Patient Seven is a horror anthology, from at fifteen writers and directors. Short films, from around the world, make up this recent outing. Comprised of seven short films and one wraparound, there is a little something here for every horror fan. This film fan enjoyed Ómar Örn Hauksson's take on 28 Days Later (2002), with "Undying Love." These two films are very comparable in costume and shooting style. As well, "The Body," which practically begins the anthology, is especially well written, by Paul Fischer and Paul Davis. The comedic twist is a welcomed surprise. Many of the short films include the occurrence of a prop, the shovel. Symbolizing the burying of something or someone, this prop visually and thematically unifies much of the film together. And, Patient Seven is one film anthology horror fans will want to unearth.

There are too many shorts to unpack, so this writer will stick with two of his favourites. "Undying Love," a film from Iceland, is a zombie outing, influenced by 28 Days Later. There are elements of unrequited love in this one, too. What is more romantic than chaining your girlfriend up in the basement? Fans familiar with 28 Days Later will see at least one greenish costume, from this earlier film, within "Undying Love." As well, Omar Orn Hauksson's frenetic shooting style and use of medium length action shots are also heavily influenced by Danny Boyle's earlier work. Also, there are hordes of running infected everywhere, in both films. It is amazing to see how 28 Days Later continues to influence horror filmmakers and this groundbreaking film lives again within "Undying Love," also.

There are a number of other quality shorts waiting inside Patient Seven. However, this viewer enjoyed Paul Davis' "The Body," the most. "The Body" takes place on Halloween night. In the chaos, a serial killer, played by Alfie Allen, is able to pull-off a murder. In a twist of dramatic irony, the audience is aware of a wrapped victim's fate, while the characters are - strangely - not. They figure out the direness of their situation, a little too late. This short film is both horrifying and comedic as the killer deadpans his murderous intentions and actions.

Viewers of Patient Seven will notice a recurring prop. A shovel appears again and again. Symbolically, shovels represent burying something, or unburying something. In Patient Seven's case, something or someone is constantly being buried. For instance, within Dean Hewison's "Sleeping Plot," a young girl is hustling for money. She wants to buy a shovel, in order to bury her deceased friend. In Erlingur Thoroddsen, Jacey Heldrich and Brian McAuley's "Banishing" a pet is buried in the backyard. The shovel returns as one murderess makes short work of another character, in this same short. Likely, some of the filmmakers were tasked with using a shovel, in the development of their script. As it is, this prop is used over and over again to dispatch one character after another; killers have a lot of digging to do. And, this prop weaves some of the film together, visually and symbolically.

Patient Seven is a competent production. The acting, from Michael Ironside, and others is consistently believable. Many of the shorts are well-written, especially "The Body." There are a number of writing twists. And, the film's wraparound breaks up some of the film's reality. It is difficult to trust mental patients. And, in this case, even the psychiatrists cannot be trusted. Some of the shorts wear their influences on their sleeves and proudly, while others are more original and never-before-seen. There is a bit of something for everyone, in this short film compilation. And, this critic recommends a sip of an adult beverage, every time a shovel appears, on Halloween night. In no time, you will be dead and buried, like many of the characters onscreen.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

A movie clip, for Patient Seven, can be seen here:

The "John Doe" Movie Clip on 28DLA


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