Have you ever tried to engage in mind-games with a zombie? Patient Zero – movie review

A modern zombie flick with an all-star cast, which includes Matt Smith (former Doctor Who), Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer and a few beloved actors from Vikings and Game of Thrones.

This is a premise for making people excited if I have ever heard one! Patient Zero doesn’t waste any time and embraces it by introducing all the protagonists to us within the first 5 minutes, other than Stanley Tucci’s character.

Patient Zero 1.jpgUnlike other zombie movies, however, Patient Zero works on a smaller scale, as we follow Morgan (Matt Smith) and his team of scientists and soldiers hunting for Patient Zero and a cure. The whole appeal surrounding the film, though, to me suddenly disappeared as soon as Morgan is shown having the ability to speak the Infected’s new language! Let me rephrase that: Morgan engages in dialogues (through grunts, oinks and other inhuman noises) with the fucking zombies and forces them to reveal some useful information, as he was a detective!

Continue reading and check my final grade below…

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At this point in the film, I was laughing out loud and, mostly, hoping that the movie would turn out to be “so bad it’s good”. I know this is quite a specific “branch of cinema” that only a few people appreciate, so it might be good news for you that Patient Zero isn’t “so bad it’s good” nor it’s really terrible.

In fact, the first English movie by Austrian filmmaker Stefan Ruzowitzky, is quite watchable… just very, very unimaginative, bland and dull. If you have seen more than one zombie flick in your life, you can basically predict every single scene in Patient Zero.

Patient Zero 2.jpgFor me personally, this is a rather hard motion picture to review: there’s not much I can say, since everything in the movie resembles something I’ve seen before in tons of other flicks. In all fairness, I think that if you’re a fan of fast-paced, modern zombie films (a la World War Z, to be clear) you might enjoy this one as well; however, if your standards are somewhat high when it comes to horror cinema, you’re most likely going to stop watching Patient Zero halfway through the already short runtime (84 minutes).

Overall, I’d say that all the technical features in the movie are okay: the cinematography is okay, the camera work is okay – albeit rather shaky, the gore is okay. The acting is decent (with John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tarly in GoT, who brings some much needed levity to the picture), but there are no real characters: everybody plays a stock character from the average zombie flick. Besides, most of the protagonists are written in a very odd way, that makes them either flat or unlikeable.

The best part of the movie, in my opinion [minor spoilers, skip this short paragraph if you don’t want to know anything] is when zombie-Stanley Tucci is introduced and he starts chatting with Morgan. Here, some mildly interesting themes of identity and prejudice are brought to the table and they’re quite compelling… and unsettling, since through these dialogues we get to see the dark side of Tucci’s character.

Unfortunately, also this part of Patient Zero is ruined by the obnoxious background music. In fact, throughout the whole movie, there isn’t a single scene where the music stops: a bland, annoying single theme song plays constantly during the movie, as a cheap trick to build up tension that would, otherwise, nowhere to be found.

Yet, despite the overwhelming simplicity of the plot, the stock characters we follow spit out one exposition-driven sentence after the other. Why should the filmmakers let the audience figure out things for themselves when you can spoon-feed them like they were little kids, right?

In conclusion, Patient Zero is really a thirteen in a dozen zombie flick. Besides the laughable concept of a person interrogating zombies, the rest of the movie is as flat as a surfing board: if you’re looking for an exciting ride, look elsewhere.

Patient Zero              4.5/10