Today’s film is the 2016 Canadian science fiction thriller Patient 62 by writer/director Rick Antony and Bryce Schlamp. Starring Reece Wagner, Chrissy Mozylisky, Glenn LaPointe, Andrew Valdez and Anna Seibel.
Patient 62 tells the story of Lucas Chance(Reece Wagner), a bartender at a local nightclub who is wracked by nightmares of his sister (Anna Seibel) being abducted. On a visit to his mother Lucas learns that Angela has been missing for sometime, at first hesitant to believe she has actually disappeared due to his poor relationship with her and her seeming drug habit Lucas quickly changes his mind when he finds his mother has been having the exact same nightmare as he has been having. Looking to get to the bottom of his sister’s disappearance Lucas enlists the help of Angela’s sleazy ex-boyfriend Dennis(Andrew Valdez) to poke around the strip club she works at. Things quickly go off the rails as the trail leads to a research lab where Lucas witnesses the murder of a lab tech and is accidentally exposed to the experimental drug being developed. He quickly discovers that he has been granted telekinetic powers and tries to learn to control them as he delves deeper into the web of human trafficking and illegal research in hopes of finding his sister before it is to late.
Right out of the gate I was fairly excited about Patient 62 as it hooks you with it’s Bond film like opening with it’s long strands of DNA combining to the rhythmic music overlaying it and a beautiful girl’s silhouette dancing in the background. It is a strong start and promises good things to come and in many ways it almost delivers up to it’s potential. The story is very well conceived and is so action paced it will hold your eyes to the screen if you can get past the one major glaring issue of the film it’s self, the acting.
No matter how well thought out the story of any film is it really comes down to the dialog to hammer it home and the performance of the actors themselves with it. Patient 62 fails on both of these fronts however as the dialog is delivered in a over the top fashion hearkening back to the old mustache twirling villains who were so ham-fisted you couldn’t take them seriously. Like a lot of Canadian independent movies being set in the high octane world of action it is full of cliche phrases and an over abundance of foul language to give it a gritting and edgy feeling that is really the hallmark of lazy writing. Which is a shame really as the film has such a great theory behind it. This is only compounded by the flat acting of the cast.
While the character’s themselves are fully fleshed out with finely detailed backstories the delivery of the performances is just cringe worthy and completely jars you from your suspension of disbelief required for a film like this. Each of the actors simply speak their lines without conviction almost like their hearts weren’t really in it. While this could be contributed to the fact that the lines themselves were fairly weak you can not help but feel their body language and facial expressions suggested a deep dissatisfaction with the script.
Where Patient 62 really shines however is the masterful work delivered by the Factory Factory Entertainment production company. The production quality of the cinematography is simply sensational. It is at all times perfectly sharp and clear of any artifacts which are often plagued in Canadian Indie films. The scenes themselves are shot in a clever way where they just cut away from a dramatic scene just before something really intense happens in several parts of the film. This lulls you into a false sense of muted violence until the director pulls a complete 180 on you and starts sending chunks of Squick (company term for blood and gore) from all directions that fully shocks you as is intended after such a soft start.
The audio quality of the film is also quite impressive. It is very clear that the post production was careful to clear away any unwanted sounds and made sure the dialog (sub-par that it was) was still heard heard with crystal clear acuity. The musical score was a slow build of intensity that finally released at the climax of the film in a very satisfying way and was very well thought out by the director. It is a very big selling point in a science fiction thriller film that can very easily go wrong if you are not careful. One unfortunate thing with the sound however is the fact that the guns themselves in the film are very muted and can barely be heard when fired. You simply hear a little wafting sound and then see someone’s brains go flying out the back of their head despite them holding what looked like a .50 caliber handgun at times or a AR-15.
I will say however the props used in the film were very high quality. All of the weapons themselves from the knives to the rifles looked authentic and the actors handled them as if they had actual weight to them. I don’t know how many times I have watched a film where the heroes (or villains for that matter) heft their massive weapons around as if physics had no meaning. It can be a very mood shattering moment in a film but Patient 62 handles the situation very well. Even the prop needles for the injections actually look like real syringes instead of over elaborate things to give them more ambiance that was really refreshing.
Over all at one hour and twenty one minutes Patient 62 is a action packed thrill ride that almost delivers up to it’s full potential. If you can get past the hammy dialog and the mediocre acting you’ll find a very well thought out story that shares many similarities to the film Deadpool that tries to latch onto the success of the blockbuster.
While I doubt you will want to watch it more than once, that one time is very well worth you time for any science fiction fan.