What do Stanley Tucci and zombies have in common? Seems like a weird question, I know but it turns out the commonality is PATIENT ZERO…kind of. I have been seeing the cover art for this movie around and about lately and it’s made me pretty curious. When I think of Stanley Tucci, horror is definitely not the first, second or third thing that comes to mind. He’s more sweet biographies or romantic comedies but this shows him with bleeding eyes and roaring like a lion. So what IS PATIENT ZERO? That’s a good question.
PATIENT ZERO was written by Mike Le and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. It stars Matt Smith as Morgan, Natalie Dormer as Dr. Gina Rosa, John Bradley as Scooter, Clive Standen as Knox, Agyness Deyn as Janet and Stanley Tucci as The Professor. After a mutated strain of rabies starts infecting humans, those that become bitten, aptly named The Infected, become violent and murderous, losing their conscience and attacking everyone without reason. Music is the only thing that affects them as their brain neurology has been rewired and it becomes a tool against them. If bitten, you turn violent in 90 seconds.
Morgan was bitten by an Infected but never turned. However, he gained the ability to communicate with the Infected and is the only one able to understand and be understood by them. A group of humans, including Morgan, Scooter, Dr. Rose and Knox, are hidden underground below a silo and are working to collect Infected to try and find patient zero to backwards engineer a cure. Morgan and Gina have a thing going on even though he’s still hung up on his infected wife who he works to cure with his resistant blood. It would seem the Infected are learning and becoming smarter which culminates with the appearance of The Professor, who seems to be on his own mission.
This movie is quite the enigma. It is an American movie that is filled to the brim with British actors pretending to be American, save for Tucci and Dormer. It’s most notable with Smith who over enunciates everything making his American accent seem a little off. The movie is tense and mostly enjoyable but overly dramatic. It’s like when a high school does a stage drama and takes themselves WAY too seriously. Tucci is always amazing and a phenomenal actor but he just seemed out of place in this film. Maybe it’s because this isn’t normally a genre he would take on.
There was a mini Game of Thrones reunion between Dormer and Bradley. Dormer was too dramatic (which isn’t really her fault) and Bradley was nice as the comic relief, but I couldn’t tell if he had a British accent or an American one as it seemed to change through the film. Even the score was so melodramatic that I felt I was watching something from David Lynch. Oh, and this isn’t a zombie film at all. These people aren’t zombies. They can be killed in various ways, no shot to the head needed, which makes a vaccine and/or cure seem more plausible.
In all, I have definitely seen worse movies. Melodrama and over abundance of unnecessary intensity aside, the movie was intense and the twist in the end was not bad. Speaking of, that ending pissed me off. This movie has some hot, top listing current actors and the ending they went with was lackluster and infuriating. It felt like a bag of potato chips. You open it and see there’s something you like, but there’s a lot of air and empty space you have to get through before you find mostly crumbs on the bottom. PATIENT ZERO had a lot of potential and, while it wasn’t terrible, it was just okay and didn’t utilize the people they had in the way they should have to make the movie great.
PATIENT ZERO opens in select theaters September 14.
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