Hello there fellow depraved degenerates, it’s Thakgore and today I bring you something pretty damn cool; a review of the comedy-horror film “Patchwork”. While outwardly appearing to be a homage to the work of filmmakers like Stuart Gordon and Frank Henenlotter, “Patchwork” has a lot more going on under it’s stitched together skin than meets the eye. So let’s peel back the layers of this terrible tapestry together and find out what secrets lie within the….
Directed by Tyler MacIntyre (who also co-wrote the film with his writing partner Chris Lee Hill) and starring Tory Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, Maria Blasucci and James Phelps, “Patchwork” is the best throwback horror movie I’ve seen in quite some time. With recent films like “Beyond the Gates” and “The Void” trying desperately to capture the magic of 80’s cult horror, “Patchwork” almost effortlessly puts those productions to shame. While not perfect, it does succeed in doing something no other recent film has pulled off: nailing the aesthetics of the movies it is trying to emulate.
The plot involves three murdered women who have been brought back to life by a mad scientist that has sewn them all together into a single Frankenstein-esque monster. The movie is broken up into different chapters that delve into the women’s various backstories and explains how they got in the predicament they find themselves in. In a cool twist the three women are depicted as existing together inside the mind of the creature and they soon decide to find whoever is responsible for their deaths and make them pay for what they’ve done.
The gimmick of having all three women represented in the same body was what got me to watch the film in the first place and I must say director Tyler MacIntyre managed to execute this marvelously. The various ways he works this into the film were diverse and oftentimes more clever than I would have expected from such a low budget production. The tight direction he guides this film with allows it to hum along at a pace that never drags and kept me engaged from the gruesomely somber beginning right up until the bloody, insane finale. His nose for hitting just the right tone for each scene is something to admire as well. I was blown away at how well he pulled off such a quirky concept and in the hands of a lesser filmmaker this would have been a mess. Bravo Mr. MacIntyre, bravo.
The acting is top notch from nearly every person involved but particular praise should be heaped upon lead actress Tory Stolper. Her portrayal of the creature is one of the best horror performances I’ve seen in an indie film this year. From manic facial expressions to hilariously on point physical comedy she breathes dynamic life into the titular creation. There is a scene in the beginning of the movie when the women discover what they’ve become and subsequently break down mentally and physically from the shock. Her portrayal of this from a purely physical standpoint was awesome. For their part actresses Tracey Fairaway and Maria Blasucci do a good job keeping up with Stolper and together the three women hold the pieces of this film together nicely. The only weak performance, if only slightly, is given by James Phelps of Harry Potter fame. His lines sometimes sound flat and I was distracted more than once by the peculiar way he chose to deliver his dialogue. He does, however, have some of the funniest lines in the movie so even with a somewhat uneven performance he still manages to stand out.
Now is the part of the review where I want to talk about what is possibly the coolest aspect of the film. While I’ve read other reviewers say that this film is “obviously” a homage to Frankenhooker (it really isn’t) and Re-Animator I think everyone has missed something very significant about this particular project. Not only does this pay homage to Re-Animator I’m almost positive that this is the fourth film in that series! If you don’t mind spoilers allow me to make my case.
*Spoilers* For starters the film cold opens with the mad scientist talking to the severed head of one of the women. The head is lying in a tray and is very reminiscent of the first Re-Animator film. He then proceeds to bring the creature to life with the glowing green re-agent from that series. We then cut to an animated title sequence with music and credits nearly identical to Re-Animator. This is the structure, a cold open with an animated title sequence, that every Re-Animator film begins with.
The mad scientist in question is a big clue as well. The filmmakers took great care to never reveal the character’s name. Even though we see commercials for his medical practice and one of the characters visits him in a flashback there is never a mention of his identity. He also mysteriously alludes to having a father that he is trying to prove something to by succeeding in his experiments. His having possession of the re-agent and certain aspects of his personality scream that this might be the son of Dr. Herbert West. He even has a cat/owl creature that he’s created that calls back to Dr. West’s insane experiments from Bride of Re-Animator.
The last bit of evidence is the ending. Every Re-Animator film ends with an insane battle between the protagonists and a bunch of corpses reanimated by the mad doctor. This film does as well. It should also be noted that the mad scientist survives each movie and this film is no different. They even manage to add, in the last shot no less, another major plot element from every other film in the series with the romantic interest of the protagonist being killed and then reanimated.
All of these things, when considered together, make this much more than a homage or a rip-off. This is clearly a cleverly disguised attempt to make a Re-Animator film without actually saying that it is one. Hopefully this “audition” leads to Tyler MacIntyre and Chris Lee Hill being given the go-ahead to fill in the blanks with a prequel that I would presume would be titled “Son of Re-Animator”. Make it happen Hollywood! *Spoilers*
In conclusion I can’t praise this film enough. It’s easily at the very top of my list of favorite horror films I’ve seen so far this year. It is quirky without being obnoxious, funny, horrifying and best of all fun. Add this one to your list of horror films you must see or better yet watch it as soon as you can. I mean right now. Seriously put down whatever you’re doing and go watch. It really is worth it. 5 out of 5.