THE 11TH PATIENT *** USA 2019 Dir: Derek Cole. 80 mins
Is fear all in the mind?
And can it be controlled?
Some of the answers you seek may lie within this film that starts with us joining some kind of strange psychiatric hospital in a fear laden offering from Uncork’d that rolls at you with a dark and thunderous opening and a nice, scary classical score by Nicolas Gasparini that helps to maintain a steady and black heartbeat of tension all the way through what is a great ‘crawler horror’.
The dialogue free introduction set my suspense and interest level really high as I encountered an ominous world full of evil and claustrophobic fear within a string of loosely connected puzzles that kept my mind asking for more.
The young boy Steven is obviously undergoing some strange and untested treatment into how the human mind overcomes and deals with fears and this was so well done that I actually started to feel like I was the patient thanks to what is quite a simple story that weaves a good sense of steady intensity and mystery into it’s well written plot. Steven’s nightmare very quickly becomes your own in a film that is skilfully crafted to freak you out and steal away your sanity, treading the thin boards between the known and the unknown in both life and death.
The scenes are well shot and very effective and gave me a great sense of the feeling I had when I watched ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ many moons ago and in fact Andy Gates who plays Dr.Sobel is a bit of a dead ringer for a younger Tim Robbins. The Scarecrow-like character alive on the hanging tree added some brilliant stalking atmosphere too that helped keep my mind entertained and puzzling with dark intrigue to find some answers, although some of the expressions of Steven Cole who plays Steven the patient, sometimes came across as not
scared enough to me, or maybe he was being TOO brave?
The film will raise many doubts in your mind too, but that is it’s beauty. FX fans won’t go for this, but psychological horror fans and thrill seekers will be absorbed into a maze of a tale that involves a constantly unfolding and interdimensional crypt of fear that Steven finds himself trapped inside. The set is small and efficient with a small and able cast and with bags of dark imagination added to it this film drags you into a darkly crazed world where your mind will enter young Steven’s very troubled subconscious.
‘The 11th Patient’ enters some very strange waters towards what becomes an unnerving and clinical climax where the many different pieces of the puzzle come together in ways that will test the limits of your insanity.
You may question what is real and what is fantasy as you delve deeper into Steven’s troubled mind to discover that he might be unwittingly caught up in something much darker…….
Review by Nathan Sandiford