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.