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John’s Horror Corner: Patchwork (2015), a highly quirky Frankensteinian horror comedy.

May 29, 2020

MY CALL: This just wasn’t for me—not enough “effective” gore, not funny enough, not slapstick enough, not smart enough… just not enough of anything really. But it’s tone and style are easily something to be desired by many who enjoy highly quirky horror comedy. MORE MOVIES LIKE Patchwork: Looking for more movies about mad scientists surgically grafting patients together without their consent, consider The Human Centipede (2009), Frankenhooker (1990) and The Thing with Two Heads (1972). For a newer movie capturing the same desired tone, I’d suggest Bad Blood (2016).

Upon awakening after their abduction and surgery, Jennifer (Tory Stolper), Ellie (Tracey Fairaway) and Madeleine (Maria Blasucci) discover all three of their minds (and only some of their individual body parts) have been combined into a single stitchwork horror of a body; a Frankensteinian monster. And with each mind controlling her respective limbs, some cooperation must be mustered as she (or they) stumbles down corridors like a freshly animated Pinocchio; only more macabre, twitchy and zombie-like. These early locomotory scenes liken much to the stumblings of Frankenhooker (1990).

In trying to solve their shared problem (i.e., how to be reassembled and made normal and whole again), the three women’s minds have conversations “in person” like a group theatrical aside. Although it adds little to the greater story, we get to see how each of the three women spent their evening the night of their abduction. Over the course of the movie, each girl takes revenge on some of those who wronged them on their abduction night, but not against the actual abductors. As they take their revenge, it seems like this is supposed to feel brutal or intense or at the very least wildly slapstick… but if so, I’d say it failed in this measure. But I’ll give it this, this movie has a feisty personality. That impish style (and its execution) just wasn’t enough for me on its own to make this movie worthwhile for me.

The fraternity massacre was meant to be stylish, but for me it just didn’t amuse at all—I need more/better gore. But speaking of feisty, the romantic flirty scene and subsequent sex scene were probably the highlight of the movie. I feel this part best embraced the tone this movie was hoping to achieve. On the other hand, the eating scenes were disappointingly just too childishly executed for me to care.

Still other aspects brought appreciated favor to my attention. Sounds of sticky, air-coagulated blood and visuals of crudely sutured patches of skin are always a pleasure when done well. There was a charming little Muppet of an “owl-cat.” And the idiosyncratic mad scientists and green glowing liquids in laboratory glassware remind me of Re-Animator (1985), and even Bad Blood (2016).

Director Tyler MacIntyre (Tragedy Girls) tries to do a lot with this quirky little movie, but little of it really worked for me—at least, not enough for me to recommend it. The violence was too soft (with little to nothing actually transpiring directly on screen), the character writing was decent but uncompelling, the comedy never really did it for me beyond a few choice moments, and overall I think this struggled to grasp its own desired tone successfully. But, to be fair, a much more favorable review can be enjoyed in the Movies, Films & Flix podcast #267: Patchwork, Cult Classics and Unhelpful Owls. So to make a completely informed decision as to whether or not this is for you (with some spoilers), you should check out the podcast.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. rdfranciswriter permalink
    May 30, 2020 4:47 am

    Great review. I appreciate that the movie didn’t resonate with you, but you explained your reasons, logically. And you included a link to a favorable review. Not many reviewers do this and are just outright meanspirited. There must be some level of respect given to the indie filmmaker, and you guys at the MFF do just that.

    I just found this over on Tubi. And I read the director’s IMDb. I see the director has been around and has a skillset. And just skimming the film, I can see it’s competently shot and ediited. The acting seems okay for an idie. So I am going to give this one a whirl — a film I never heard of until this review. So mission accomplished with this review!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      May 30, 2020 8:51 am

      I mean, sometimes I’m meaner to movies. But when I see that this is “just not for me” I go out of my way to try to be more fair.

      • rdfranciswriter permalink
        May 30, 2020 11:44 am

        Yes. I noticed you do, that you are fair with your reviews. I enjoy reading the insightful reviews on the MFF platform.

        I’ll watch Patchwork sometime today.

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