Monster Movie Madness Presents:
Review by Rob Smales
Welcome to Monster Movie Madness, where we take a look at flicks and films dealing with threats and things that aren’t exactly human. Hell, most of ’em aren’t human at all—and those are the really fun ones!
Ever had a roommate you couldn’t stand? Shared a dorm in college with a slob? Split the rent on an apartment with someone who was always, always late with their share? Hell, even had a this is your side, this is mine argument about a bedroom with a sibling? Well, forget your own Odd Couple moments, as this month we push PLAY and head into a skull where two may be company, but three’s definitely a crowd in PATCHWORK (2015)!
Written by Chris Lee Hill and Tyler MacIntyre
Directed by Tyler MacIntyre
Warning: this review may contain spoilers.
The view is from behind the woman; she’s nothing but a mass of blonde wavy hair at the edge of the screen. The man gazes into her eyes—and toward us—as he makes small talk. He starts being flirty. She plays a wordless hard-to-get. He simpers a bit. She maintains her stoic silence. He moves to brush a stray hair out of her face—and the camera swings around to show us she’s nothing but a head on a shelf. A head with blonde wavy hair, and lots of blood.
“Who are you talking to?”
As our Lothario’s eyes widen, we see over his shoulder that a man has appeared in the doorway behind him; it’s as if central casting just filled an order for Nerd, lab-coated.
“N-nobody,” stammers the first man, obviously uncomfortable at being caught playing with his odd dolly.
The nerd sips from a big juice pouch. Slurp. “All right. Well . . . how’s it going?”
“Great. Just . . . uh, having a little trouble with this arm,” says Loverboy, picking up a staple gun. He turns to the limb in question (lying on a table beside him, we now see) and pumps in a couple of staples, seemingly at random. “It’s all better.” He turns away uncomfortably as the nerd looks on, frowning.
Cut to Loverboy pulling a beaker out of a microwave—a beaker filled with a shining emerald liquid. In a fairly obvious RE-ANIMATOR (1985) homage, he fills an oversized syringe with the green glowing goo and rather violently injects it into a body lying just below camera. He waits expectantly. He nudges the body impatiently, eliciting no response. Uttering a despondent curse, he flings the empty syringe aside and stalks from the room . . . while behind him, unseen by his frustrated eyes, an arm—possibly bearing two rather random staples—rises from the slab.
The opening credits roll.
This is the story of three women learning to get along whether they like it or not. They have to—they’ve all been sewn (okay, stapled, but actual sewing takes so long) together into a jigsaw body that kind of makes Frankenstein’s monster look like a GQ model. And if you think the outside looks like a confused mess, you should see the inside.
Oh, wait. We do. Somehow, in a the whole is greater than the sum of its parts moment, the one constructed body contains all three personalities, and if variety is the spice of life, things are pretty spicy in there.
Jennifer (Tory Stolper) is a driven career woman, though I think she has a little trouble knowing where she’s driving to. She gets snatched for this project after throwing an unsuccessful promotion/birthday party for herself that even her boyfriend, Dan (Mark Hapka) can’t stay for—he has to go home to his wife.
Ellie (Tracey Fairaway) is a twenty-ish airhead who desperately wants to be liked, a beautiful blonde woman-child, more in need of a good parent than a boyfriend—though there’s no way she sees it that way. Coincidentally—or maybe not—Ellie was the head Mr. Player Wannabe was trying to make time with in the movie’s opening sequence.
Madeleine (Maris Blasucci) is a peacemaker, a calmer of nerves, a let’s sit down and talk this out person. She likes people, loves animals (she’s the only one of the three to have a pet), and probably enjoys long walks on the beach at sunset.
The three were introduced to each other—in the most invasive sense of the word—via the machinations of The Surgeon (also known here as Loverboy, Lothario, and Mr. Wannabe—but played by a madcap Corey Sorenson), a brilliant medical genius . . . or a stapler/power tool/weird green liquid-wielding winner of the Most in Need of a Straightjacket award, depending on whom you’re talking to. The Surgeon (no, he doesn’t have a name, but in this instance, it doesn’t matter) and his assistant, Hank (Danny Jolles) have a plan to get rich with cut-rate makeovers, assembling their customers new bodies to order and “building a better you!”
Yeah. But things go awry.
The Surgeon’s first success—and, to be honest, he’s just as surprised as everyone else—the girls figure out rather rapidly that they have to work together in there to get their new body to do anything (during their interior dialogue we can see all three girls, and they can see and seem to be able to interact with each other, though from the outside they look like a crazy quilt with legs that talks to itself a lot). They escape the lab (warehouse) and wander out into the real world in search of shelter—in the form of their various homes—and aid—in the shape of Jennifer’s medical student friend Garrett (James Phelps, last seen [by this reviewer, at least] playing Fred, one of the wacky Weasley twins from the Harry Potter franchise).
Once they have a little time to get to know one another, they find that none of them has any idea who took them, how this was done to them, why, or even where—they were a little confused during the escape, which included a cab ride. The whole thing then becomes a murder mystery/revenge flick as the patchwork trio alternate between sifting through their individual memories of that night and rampaging through the real world questioning people they think might have been involved.
Questioning them with extreme prejudice.
My thoughts on PATCHWORK?
It struck me as cute. Maybe not what the filmmakers were going for, but that’s the word that came to mind. Of course, I’m also a little weird. The makeup effects on the patchwork creature are decent—even slightly disgusting at certain points—but once the girls are allowed to dress themself and have access to makeup (OTC stuff this time, not Hollywood magic), they make for a fairly cute monster (this may be due entirely to Tory Soper, who plays the patchwork itself and strikes me as an almost elfin-featured kid [yes, I’m referring to a person in her mid twenties as a kid—I’m old, shut up about it]).
The effects during the parts-harvesting bits are a little over-the-top, but that’s okay with a comedy; circular saws might not be used in actual surgery, but they make for great Holy crap, did you see that blood spray? scenes. Some of the other effects aren’t terrific (the owlcat for one), but as I said: that’s okay with a comedy; they’re not striving for realism here. At some points they even stress the unreality of the whole thing—Garrett saying none of this should work, the girls shouldn’t be alive; The Surgeon himself saying he has no idea how they reanimated; the patchwork snapping off a finger, then stapling it back on—and it works like new.
Aside from the fairly obvious gore and laughs—a couple of staples (did you see what I did there?) of the horror/comedy genre—there are some more subtle things to watch out for as well. The interactions between the girls themselves are funny, even when all they’re doing is getting to know each other. Just a few personal little things to watch out for:
Jennifer was class valedictorian.
Madeleine has ridden a horse.
Ellie’s favorite color is sparkly.
Jennifer played field hockey and took Taekwondo until she got her black belt.
Madeleine can hold her breath for a long time.
Ellie has done ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, and, of course, cheering.
Jennifer does her own taxes.
Sometimes men just give Ellie money, all she has to do is take some pictures.
There are crushings, beatings, slashings, stabbings, and eviscerations in this film. There are bodies without parts and parts without bodies. Did I mention the owlcat? I must have mentioned the owlcat. But whether the effects stand up or not, or certain things happen that are quite pointedly not explained, it’s all okay, because it’s all in the name of good clean—if not actually very sanitary—fun.
My final thoughts on PATCHWORK (2015)? Look, I’m not going to tell you that if you see just one movie this year you have to make it PATCHWORK, but if all you’re looking for is a little weird, kind of gory fun, this might be a way to spend your afternoon. I did. Twice, actually.
And I’ll reveal this little tidbit for your consideration: there’s a love scene in this film.
A love scene in the same film as one of the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter series.
And he might or might not be in it. I’m not telling.
. . . You kind of have to see it now, don’t you?
If you’ve got a film you’d like to shout out about, a monster movie you feel the world’s just got to see, please, let me know about it in the comments below—or if you’re shy, you can always shoot me a line through the Contact Us page.
I’d love to hear from you.
I do love me some monster movies.
© Copyright 2018 by Rob Smales