Terror Films has been on a tear, bringing us several horror films this year. With anthology Patient Seven, they picked a clear winner.
Patient Seven (2016)
Dreary lighting and bluish hues set the tone inside Spring Valley Mental Hospital, which looks like it should have been shut down years ago. Dr. Daniel Marcus (Michael Ironside), psychiatrist and author, has selected this place for research for his new book. He hand selects the most notoriously dangerous patients to interview about the experiences that led them to the decrepit asylum in an attempt to understand their crimes and decide if they are actually insane or simply liars.
Dr. Marcus first uses his authority and expertise to draw out the stories of even the most resistant patients, and one at a time, they describe each of their stories. Each patient claims that there’s been a misunderstanding, and each story has its own segment where you can see for yourself what really happened – unless they’re lying or crazy, that is.
Unfortunately, Dr. Marcus has some other tactics in mind to get what he wants from the patients. He plays on their weaknesses and goes to extreme measures to get the responses he’s looking for. Most disturbing was that no one knew what was happening to the patients behind closed doors – showcasing horrifying tactics that I’m sure were employed by many doctors working in institutions in real life and how easy it would be for a doctor to get away with such practices on fragile patients who are, in many places, meant to be seen and not heard.
The wraparound story is so tense that each segment gives a brief reprieve. The segments are well paced and given enough time to fully blossom into tales of terror without dragging on. Each segment was unique in story and style and each brought something new to the table: serial killer attacks, zombies, ghosts, vampires and demons are amongst the themes explored, and each person’s reason for their actions sounds pretty credible if you were to believe all elements of the story could really happen.
Grace Van Dien as Jessa in segment I Banish Thee. Images courtesy of Terror Films
The writers and directors of this film dove headfirst into the depths of the human psyche, leaving its viewers with a chill when you’re not sure who you should and should not believe. It’s clear that you are meant to empathize with the patients and not the sadistic doctor that is prodding them for their stories. Michael Ironside is as captivating as he is abhorrent in the film, and there is no real weak link in acting or writing in any of the segments – which feature Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect), Doug Jones (The Bye Bye Man) and Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones).
There is a killer twist that I truthfully never saw coming – and it rounded out an end to a story that could have no possible happy ending.
Directors: Danny Draven, Paul Davis (segment: The Body), Ómar Örn Hauksson (segment: Undying Love), Dean Hewison (segment: The Sleeping Plot), Joel Morgan(segment director: Death Scenes), Johannes Persson (segment: Evaded), Nicholas Peterson (segment: The Visitant), Erlingur Thoroddsen (segment: Banishing), Rasmus Wassberg (segment: Evaded)
Writers: Paul Davis (segment: The Body), Sam Dickson (segment: The Sleeping Plot), Richard Falkner (segment: The Sleeping Plot), Paul Fischer (segment: The Body), Omar Orn Hauksson (segment: Undying Love), Jacey Heldrich (segment: Banishing), Dean Hewison (segment: The Sleeping Plot), Barry Jay (wraparound story: Patient Seven), Brian McAuley (segment: Banishing), Joel Morgan (segment: Death Scenes), Johannes Persson (segment: Evaded), Nicholas Peterson (segment: The Visitant), David Steenhoek (segment: The Visitant), Aidee Walker (segment: The Sleeping Plot), Rasmus Wassberg (segment: Evaded)
You can watch Patient Seven on YouTube, Vimeo On Demand, Amazon Instant, Google Play, XBOX Live, VUDU, Sony PlayStation and iTunes. The film is getting a limited release from Redbox and will also be released on Amazon Prime, the 24-Hour Movie Channel on Roku and Cable VOD. Release dates on those platforms are TBD.
Jessica's Final Review
Strong special effects, well-acted, well-written, and well-directed anthology segments and gorgeous cinematography make this one of 2016's best horror films, and certainly the best horror anthology of the year. Looking forward to seeing more from these writers and directors.