Here’s a clever idea take a bunch of ready-made shorts and wrap a linking structure around them to create a portmanteau horror, that in a nutshell is what Patient Seven is.
Dr Marcus (Michael Ironside) has arrived at the Spring Valley Mental Institute to interview six inmates locked up for committing terrible crimes to determine whether they are really mad or just faking it to avoid the gas chamber. Some patients have to be bullied and some hypnotised while others are happy to reveal all in flashback.
Jill (Anna Rose Moore) in The Visitant claims that it was a demon that killed her mum and little sister, while JD (Danil Lench) explains his fear of shrink-wrap was to do with when a serial killer in London wrapped his body in it in The Body. Icelander Gabriella (Sirry Jons) explains the murder of her boyfriend’s lover was committed by a zombie in Undying Love while the refreshingly foul mouthed Kiwi Sarah (Amanda Graeff) explains exactly what she was saving up for when her bestie went missing in The Sleeping Plot. Possession by a bad old lady explains how Jessa’s (Grace Van Dien) mother and sister get battered to death and the need to kill vampires (in Norwich of all places ) is why Damien (William Mark McCullough) hired a killer.Can Marcus believe them or is what they have just told him part of their psychosis?
Oh yes that’s six, isn’t it? There are no prizes for working out who Patient Seven is, but his backstory Evaded, involves blaming zombies for killing all of his family back in Sweden.
As I said at the beginning the basic concept of Patient Seven is clever, and all the shorts are really good and well made small horror films in their own right, but I found the linking structure to be over ambitious in creditably stitching together such a diverse range of short films. I could just about buy the fact that most of the inmates had entered Spring Valley Mental Institution as kids and subsequently their had appearance changed as they grew up, but how come five out of the seven committed their so-called crimes in the UK, New Zealand and Scandinavia yet get locked up in the USA? It’s just pushing the suspension of disbelief too far for this old horror fan, but then I guess that is the danger when you cobble together even top quality existing material from different sources, rather than making a whole film in one go like Amicus used to with the format back in the 1960s and 70s. Having said that I do think it should be possible to stitch together a compatible bunch of shorts if the right linking structure can be devised and I have indeed discussed this concept with a number of British short filmmakers.
My favourite stories from Patient Seven were the two British entries, which I guess will not come as much of a surprise, but I thought they both came along with a nice wry sense of dark British humour and The Body does conclude on a thundering great gag. The Sleeping Plot is also quite amusing, while the two American stories are your regular in vogue supernatural fare. As to the two Scandi zombie segments, well pretty much the expected chowing down and head twatting going on there.
Good concept, with some great individual stories that are ultimately let down by a weak linking structure I give Patient Seven a 555/666
Patient Seven is available today across multiple platforms including: YouTube, Vimeo On Demand, Amazon Instant, Google Play, XBOX Live, VUDU, Sony PlayStation and iTunes.