My capsule review & pictures of “Patrick” North American Premiere Q&A at Fantastic Fest 2013

On Monday, September 23, 2013 I attended the North American Premiere of Patrick at Fantastic Fest 2013 in Austin, Texas. The screening took place at the brand new Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline.

Rapidly rising newcomer Sharni Vinson (Step Up 3D, You're Next) stars as Kathy Jacquard, the newest nurse assigned to a mysterious private psychiatric hospital. Oscar nominee Rachel Griffiths, in a super creepy star turn, plays her immediate superior Matron Cassidy (think a slightly ratcheted down Nurse Ratched). Overseeing it all is legendary British actor Charles Dance as the pompous Doctor Roget. The facility only houses coma patients. The enigmatic one in Room 15, the Greek god-like Patrick, is of particular interest to Roget and triggers an emotional, even sexual attraction in Nurse Jacquard. The puzzling goings-on in Room 15 reveal themselves patiently throughout the course of the film and are well worth the wait. 

The pivotal role of Patrick, who has no dialogue, was awarded to young Jackson Gallagher. This is his first feature although he's a familiar face on Australian television. He starred in a 2008-2009 series titled The Saddle Club, and just signed on for five seasons of Home and Away, an iconic soap that's been on the air since 1988 and may be the longest running drama of any kind, anywhere in the world. The filmmakers were fortunate to snare a young actor on the cusp of superstardom.         

While this is only the second narrative theatrical feature for director Mark Hartley, he’s no newcomer. Hartley has over 25 projects to his credit, as writer, editor, producer, researcher, and director of numerous shorts and documentaries. He won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Documentary in 2008 for Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! His previous feature, the doc Machete Maidens Unleashed! had its North American debut at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival on the way to worldwide festival acclaim. Writer Justin King was his researcher on Not Quite Hollywood... His script is based on the 1978 Australian horror film of the same name. This is the first narrative feature for cinematographer Garry Richards, although you’d never know it.

Hartley scores big in snaring legendary composer and Brian De Palma favorite Pino Donaggio. He’s composed the music for over 130 movies, including Carrie (yes, the original), Dressed to Kill, The Howling, Blow Out, Body Double, Raising Cain, Seed of Chucky, Grindhouse, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Pirate Radio, and Passion. They didn’t just want a De Palma-esque soundtrack. They wanted THE guy, and they got him.     

Editor Jane Moran’s acclaimed projects include Witness, The Mosquito Coast, Strictly Ballroom, Lorenzo’s Oil, The Portrait of a Lady, Moulin Rouge, and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. She just completed James Cameron’s 3D diving documentary.

Patrick was, surprisingly, one of the few pure horror films at this year's Fantastic Fest, in the tradition of Hitchcock, De Palma, and King. I’ve selected it as one of my Top Picks and a longer review is forthcoming.

Director Mark Hartley and writer Justin King introduced the film and returned after the screening for an informative and entertaining Q&A session.

Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&A:

GALLERY (19 photos)


NOTE: Patrick was backed by Screen Australia, with financing from a half dozen Aussie and British production sources. It has theatrical, television, and home video distribution in its native Australia through Umbrella Entertainment. It is awaiting a North American distribution deal.

The trailer is below. Contains spoilers.

Patrick (2013) Trailer

Patrick, a young coma patient, has been lying in a hospital bed for years, unable to communicate with anyone. When a…
  • Video Release: July 05, 2013
  • Length: 1.77 min
  • Views: 5459

Patrick International Trailer

After killing his mother and her lover some years before, Patrick is the comatose patient in room 15 of a remote, private…
  • Video Release: July 25, 2013
  • Length: 2.00 min
  • Views: 209


Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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  • Author: Larry Richman
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