Film Review: PATIENT SEVEN (2016)

PATIENT SEVEN *** USA 2016 Dir: Danny Draven. 113 mins

In a direct steal from two British horror anthology movies (ASYLUM and TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS), this is a portmanteau constructed around heartless, no-bullshit doctor Michael Ironside tormenting a succession of psychiatric inmates with their own hang-ups and traumas in a bid to truly understand their condition.

What unfolds are Danny Draven’s framing scenes intercut with seven pre-existing short horror films from around the world, several of which are a few years old. The disparate origins of these individual “sessions” and the sometimes tenuous efforts to link them to newly shot footage makes for a rather disconnected anthology, reinforced by one particularly bad accent and the awkward link to Ironside’s own backstory.

Despite an entirely guessable twist ending, Ironside is terrific as always, and most of the shorts are worth a look, even if it’s vastly overlong: two zombie stories in a horror compendium boasting seven episodes (!) is a real stretch. Stand-outs are Dean Hewison’s witty, New Zealand-set “Sleeping Plot”, a macabre tale of an adolescent girl raising funds for a notably grim purchase and Erlingur Thoroddsen’s genuinely creepy “The Banishing”, the story of a pre-teen murderess (“I wonder what sounds you’ll make…”) apparently in the grip of a malevolent imaginary friend. Paul Davis’ “The Body”, screened at Frightfest in 2013, is also a terrific, blackly comic spin on AMERICAN PSYCHO with a great turn from Alfie Allen as a deadpan, sharp-suited young man literally getting away with murder as he drags a fresh corpse around London on Halloween night.

Review by Steven West


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