Patient Zero is directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky and stars Matt Smith, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer, Clive Standen and Agyness Deyn. The film is available now on Demand with a limited theatrical release planned for September 14, 2018. Here is my review:
A supervirus has turned humankind into highly intelligent, streamlined killers, and an asymptomatic victim (Matt Smith) who can communicate with the infected must lead the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure.
Patient Zero is what 28 Days Later would look like if it were remade by idiots. It’s your typical fast zombie horror action romp and although the special effects and action looked pretty damn exceptional for a low-budget movie, the script was so bad that no performer would be able to get the job done in a believable way. The film opens with a voiceover from star Matt Smith who actually says and I quote, “We call them… the infected.” HOOOOOLY SHIT! ARE YOU SERIOUS??!?!
I was willing to forgive that one, but when we cut to a flashback of Smith’s character being all cute with his girlfriend in their apartment pre-INFECTED times, Smith begins saying things like, “That’s right, I’m on the floor and you love it! You love being on the floor don’t you? You love the floor” — after his chick makes a joke about why he’s sitting on the floor. This goes on for an uncomfortable many seconds. Long enough that you start to question whether these actors had an issue reading such a garbage script outloud. The writing was so bad, that it was easily the most unsettling aspect of Patient Zero – not the INFECTED carnage.
Much of the film takes place in an underground bunker (no I will not compare this INFECTED movie to one of the greats), which gets tiresome fast, as the army is using Smith’s character to interview various infected prisoners to find the location of a potential “Patient Zero”, who they believe is able to end the infection and spread or something. Smith was bitten but never turned and the only side effect he gained from the infected is the ability to understand their grunts and growls. During these interview segments, the infected sound and act like normal people while Smith is chatting with them, but to the spectators it looks like Smith and Stanley Tucci are just growling at one another. I’d love to see that cut of the film actually – it might be an improvement.
Smith’s performance feels hollow and weird, with his soft and weak delivery never coming across as believable in any way. I’d blame the horrible script once again, but I’m starting to wonder if Smith just isn’t a good actor. Every single post-Doctor Who performance of his has been a disaster. Natalie Dormer from Game of Thrones fame plays a scientist and she’s OK, until her character has sex with Smith and then I wound up just feeling bad for her as a person to suffer through one of the lamest lab intercourse sequences in the history of lab intercourse sequences. Vikings actor Clive Standen plays the villain? I think? He’s the standard military person who only wants to KILL THEM ALL and not save humanity using science. He does an OK job, but Mike Le’s script and dialog are so bad that one can only do so much. Tucci steals the movie by a mile playing the main INFECTED hero if you will. In fact, Tucci is SO good at playing this character that I feel bad making fun of this shit movie when he turned in such a bold and exciting performance – perhaps even the best FAST ZOMBIE portrayal ever. But nope – Patient Zero is still shit.
I’m not one of those critics who will complain about a market over-saturated with zombies, there have been plenty of damn great movies and shows in the genre, including Train to Busan, which is a masterpiece. Patient Zero is just a low-budget, poorly written horror movie with a leading man who probably can’t act. Sorry Matt Smith fans – but your Doctor sucks when he isn’t playing a Doctor. The film looked great, the effects were pretty convincing for the most part and the concept was an intriguing one having your main character understand the zombies. It was just everything else that bombed, including director Stefan Ruzowitzky, who helmed the creepy cult classic ‘Anatomy’ years ago and hasn’t been able to make a decent film since.