Recently I’ve been under a tiny bit of fire over one of my reviews for a low-budget indie project. Without naming any names and pointing any fingers at a whiny Australian filmmaker who got his feelings hurt over my mean review, I want to make something perfectly clear; I hate giving bad reviews to independent filmmakers. I know what kind of a struggle it is to get your vision out there, and I know that there are logistical reasons that can hold you back from reaching your true potential. With that said, this is Film Threat, and we do not hold back on our opinions. Plenty of low budget films have shined past their flaws and delivered something special. A lot of times, people can get the job done with a shoestring budget and make it look like a billion bucks. I love film. I love independent film that exists outside of the rules and absurd restrictions of the major studio system. I almost never want a film to be bad, and even when I watch a bad film I try to find things about the film that I like. With that preamble out of the way, Patient 62 is a terrible movie, but still one that’s worth a watch.
“…this story is terribly formulaic and flawed.”
Patient 62 is a Canadian sci-fi thriller about a mild-mannered bartender who gains super powers. Directed by Rick Anthony and Bryce Schlamp, the film stars Reece Wagner as Lucas Chance, our hero who’s on a mission to investigate the disappearance of his sister. Wagner acts with his eyebrows high, and his charisma low. The film’s script almost goes out of its way to make him look tough and badass, but I just can’t buy it. The poor guy looks like a grown up version of that fat freckled kid from The Sandlot and other various kids’ films from the 90’s. After some heavy investigating with IMDb, I can 40% confirm that these two actors are not the same person. Looks aside, he’s not a competent actor and the script doesn’t add any layers or nuances that make his character interesting. A true sign of a really bad low budget action/sci-fi flick is when the bad guys are just cartoonishly rotten to the core. The villains have no redeemable qualities, no depth to who they are and why they do what they do, everything is brutishly simple: bad guys are bad because they’re the bad guys, and good guys are good because they have to fight the bad guys. You have to explore your characters, especially if you don’t have actors who can pull off being menacing.
Glenn LaPointe plays the main henchman, Kelly Ethan, and he’s hilariously bad in a Jeremy Irons in Dungeons and Dragons kind of way, it looks like he’s having fun, but his acting choices make the film more absurd than anything. His crazy character chips away the already dangerously low levels of realism this film attempts to hold onto. His “pervert” scar on his forehead looks like someone put silly putty on his face and scratched on it with a toothpick. It’s ridiculously distracting. Later on in the film, he gets another facial wound and it just looks like they slapped him with a fruit-roll up and topped it off with some grape jelly. The makeup effects are terrible. It would have been better to just let that aesthetic choice go. Scars are a very common choice to make someone look evil, tough, and menacing, but it absolutely does not work here. I laughed out loud the first time Kelly showed up on my screen. The only star shining in this film is Chrissy Mozylisky as Twitch, the sarcastic and plucky sidekick Lucas picks up during the second act. She has the best lines, delivers them in a convincing fashion, and she steals every scene she’s in. The worst thing about Patient 62 is hands down the character of Dennis played by Andrew Valdez. The character is written terribly with no redeeming qualities and his attempts at humor fall tragically flat. Still, Valdez has moments that hint that maybe if he was given better material and a better character, he might be fun to watch.
“It’s a great bad movie, one that can be admired for all the wrong reasons.”
The story is basic, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing if the execution has heart, but this is strictly by the numbers and incredibly predictable to the point of being tedious. Look, I can get past bad special effects and poor acting as long as there’s something special behind all of it. Nothing feels special about Patient 62, and even with a bigger budget and better actors, the story would still be a generic action sci-fi flick that’s all been done before. The story is what matters the most to me, especially when you’re a movie with no budget and no professional actors, and this story is terribly formulaic and flawed. I will say this though; it’s damned entertaining as a bad movie night choice. Grab a few drinks, a few of your open-minded friends, and throw this on. You’ll get a kick out of Kelly Ethan’s silly forehead scar, the bad effects, the laughably absurd dialogue, and the blatant continuity errors (Twitch gets shot in the leg, the next scene there’s no sign of any wounds and she’s running). Even with a running time of 81 minutes, the film never drags or feels bogged down. It’s a great bad movie, one that can be admired for all the wrong reasons. Check it out.
Patient 62 (2017) Directed by: Rick Anthony and Bryce Schlamp. Written by: Rick Anthony. Starring: Reece Wagner, Glenn LaPointe, Andrew Valdez, Chrissy Mozylisky.
6 out of 10