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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Patient Zero
Patient Zero
Sony Pictures // R // October 23, 2018
List Price: $12.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted November 5, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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Patient Zero:

Seems like there's a lot of hate for Patient Zero out there. (At least among Amazon reviews.) The haters are wrong, as this patient comes with a cool conceit and a fun blend of movie styles. Most of the ideas aren't really new, but if a bloody psycho-thriller with a twist or two, good performances, and a brisk pace doesn't sound like enjoyable viewing on a dark night, then, as the haters online would say, 'begone, I have nothing to say to you.'

Well yeah, when the sexy scientist (Scar-Jo substitute Natalie Dormer) appears in the underground bunker in a world overrun by rabid zombies, you might think writer Mike Le and director Stefan Ruzowitzky are painting by numbers, but then the 'zombie-talking' hero Morgan (Matt Smith) begins to do his thing, and honestly, it's fun and unique. Patient Zero draws liberally from the wells of productions like Day of the Dead and The Strain, but mixes things up smoothly while tossing out improbabilities and semi-twists that will keep you on your toes.

Action sequences trade space with race-against-the-clock medical detective scenes and psycho drama. The action is jittery and frenetic; the raging rabid seem more interested in ripping flesh than anything else, and interpersonal relationships are multifarious, acted with aplomb, and consistently engaging.

Patient Zero is a popcorn movie, and the less you know about it, the more interesting it is, but it has some notable highlights. My personal favorite scenes involved infected rats ripping at each other as little-bitty CGI blood-sprays splash their cage walls. And of course there's the one-and-only infected Stanley Tucci, who simply blows the doors off with his contemptuous performance. (Tucci must have made some bad investments, to be slumming here so soon after The Hunger Games.)

Patient Zero deserves better than what the haters can give. At a fleet 80-minutes in length, it flies by on a wave of zombie psycho-drama, taut horror-action sequences, believable performances, goofy grace-notes, and Stanley Tucci. This is one to enjoy unapologetically. You might not need it on your shelf, but I'm giving it the heartiest Rent It recommendation possible.


The DVD

Video:
Rushing at you in a 2.39:1 ratio presentation that's sharp enough for DVD, and looks pretty good overall. Details are crisp in the fore and middle-ground, fading off a bit in the darkness. And this is a fairly dark movie, with interrogation spotlights providing the most illumination, while murky areas in the background decay some. Colors look natural and deeply saturated.

Sound:
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio in English or French comes through strong and clear. Much trickery is afoot as the rabid zombies talk and grunt, keeping things dynamic and dimensional. The score enjoys plenty of oomph, and is mixed appropriately with dialog, so nothing is lost. You also get a Spanish Language 5.1 track.

Extras:
A boatload of Subtitles (English/SDH, French, and Spanish) are there for you, plus numerous top-loaded Previews that you must sit or skip through to get to the menu, but that's it.

Final Thoughts:
Patient Zero deserves better than what the haters can give. At a fleet 80-minutes in length, it flies by on a wave of zombie psycho-drama, taut horror-action sequences, believable performances, goofy grace-notes, and Stanley Tucci. This is one to enjoy unapologetically. You might not need it on your shelf, but I'm giving it the heartiest Rent It recommendation possible.

- Kurt Dahlke

~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com

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