THE FINAL PATIENT
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
Jason Scott Campbell
What's it about
Two med students are traveling through their old hometown when they meet up with an elderly doctor (Cobbs) who's exhibiting some extraordinary abilities. Old Dr. Green has found a chemical 'fountain of youth', but the process just might spell doom for the two curious students.
Is it good movie?
By most accounts this was a pretty decent thriller. It had all of the right elements: a medical mystery, a great actor in Bill Cobbs, some serious atmosphere and tight pacing, wicked looking shots, and a nicely fleshed out story. What wrecked the whole thing and brought it crashing down in flames was the ambiguous ending. I'm not one to shy away from a head scratcher of an ending, but when none of the drawn out plot points are resolved, or when the mystery of the Doctor's creepy wife or just how horrific his potion process was are both never explained, there just seems to be no point to everything that came before.
The flick started off solid, with some great camera angles, some interestingly creepy scenes (especially the opening in a dark and sweetly lit hospital) and a bout of superhuman old-guy power. Cobbs' talent is evident throughout, but the other three characters we are exposed to (the students and the mostly unseen wife) are annoyingly amateurish and grate on the nerves. So when one of them gets a rattlesnake thrown in his face, I felt like cheering! The flick looked nice, and had a great feel. The talent of director Mainardi was on the screen, it was just too bad his direction led to a dead end in the last 20 minutes of the film. The makeup effects on the wife were sadly done, and not as horrific as we had been led to imagine. As well, her motivation for attacking everyone with a rattlesnake and a lathe chisel (despite being kick ass weapon choices!) was never explained. I was expecting a revelation that the doctor's youth serum was made at the cost of his young son's life and the health of his wife. That would have fit better with the rest of the story. But alas, nothing but a shit ending. I mean, seriously, when your cover advertises "a price" for miracles, at least deliver the goods in terms of said price!
And I have even more gripes about the bullshit ending! What happened to Willy, the poor kid bitten by the rattlesnake. I assume he died. And what about the Doctor? His wife made it out of the house to stalk the hospital halls, but what happened to him. And finally, what happened to the doctor's notes concerning the making of his serum? And why is the one surviving student terrified of an old woman he saw for about three seconds? What sense of dread does she inspire besides repeatedly getting between an old man and his beer, and wielding a rattlesnake like a ninja on steroids? The key to any creepy movie is at least some sense of closure. I mean, even if the monster jumps out of the lake at the end and blows your closure all to hell, at least before that the killer gets decapitated! Too many plot points left unexplained, and considering that there is no room or marketability for a sequel, having at least a couple of these things wrapped up would have made for a more satisfying movie. Instead, we get a great buildup, ruined in the end by a heavy dose of "What the F**k was that???".
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 2.35:1.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0).
The Final Patient was an okay attempt at horror that sadly left it's only horrific toys at some other kid's house when it came to play. Any tension or buildup of story threads and atmosphere were all undone by a brainless and rushed ending that explained nothing, left gaping holes in the story, and wrecked what could have been a pretty good creep fest. With a better script and more thoughtful direction, this could have been another fine addition to the work of such a fine actor as Bill Cobbs. As it stands now, it's a direct to video time killer, which while entertaining, goes nowhere new and offers up nothing of what it could have brought to the table.