Where to start with this movie… I know, let’s start with how unoriginal the plot is. It’s basically I Am Legend. Not even just a little bit like it, but blatantly I Am Legend. So much so, I’m shocked this wasn’t retitled I Am Legend 2.
But it doesn’t just take from that, it also takes a bit from Day of the Dead.
Maybe a bit less known, but it also seems to take a bit from Metro 2033. I know it as a Russian made videogame but it was based off a popular novel, so you might know it from that.
It basically shares the exact same plot with Patient Zero. A virus has forced what’s left of humanity to leave the surface and start living underground. In Metro, it’s the old soviet subway system, in Patient Zero it’s just some military base.
In both stories, the infected have evolved into a higher species, now seeing humanity as the virus that must be cured.
The trailer I actually found to be very effective. It got me excited to want to see this at least. Hope you didn’t like the song the trailer played however because that’s nowhere in the film.
By now you should understand you can’t trust trailers. Their whole goal is to trick you into thinking the film is good. They do that by showing shit that’s not even in the film, like music, scenes, even the plot of the damn movie. I mentioned this before in another review but watch the trailer for Dead Man Down. It’s the best example of a trailer flat out lying to you.
I’m not saying the Patient Zero trailer is that bad, it did a good job showing you what to expect. Mostly, as it made the film look more expensive than the film actually was. You watch the final product and you get why this was tossed on demand and not into theaters.
It looks and feels cheap. It has some actors I’m familiar with and have seen in other things, mostly from Game of Thrones, but the sets looked like what they were just bland studio sets. Oh and the writing, the writing was so lazy that it actually paired well with the terrible acting.
I’m also going to guess this script went through several painful rewrites. Without looking it up, I’m going to guess this was just some generic zombie script, written back when people cared about zombie movies. Since this is from the black list, I’m guessing it was bought around that time as well, but sat of a shelf until a few years ago where they had to rewrite the whole zombie thing out of it. Instead of zombies it’s people with rabies. So right away we run into a problem, several in fact.
First, all the writer did to distance himself from I Am Legend was change vampires to zombies. Real creative genius we got there. I bet that took him a lot of time to come up with. It’s like I Am Legend, but get this. But with zombies. Start the bidding war! I joke but that’s most likely exactly what happened. If you’re a screenwriter, I’m sure you’ve had at least one stranger or friend try and pitch an idea to you, that idea usually being shitty or clearly something else, well this film feels like that person went ahead and wrote it and got it made into an actual movie.
Hey, it’s 2013 and zombies are hot right now! Let’s grab whatever stupid generic zombie script we can get our hands on! It isn’t like World War Z or The Walking Dead will quickly kill the genre. Yeah, it will last forever like movies based on popular YA books. Which is why The Darkest Minds did so well.
Second issue, I’m not sure whoever made the changes to rabies from zombie understood how rabies works. Hell, I’m not even sure how rabies work. The extent of my knowledge is from watching the movie Bloodsucking Freaks. And I’m sure that’s about as medically accurate as those homebrew scientists injecting sperm into chicken eggs trying to create a homunculus.
I might not know much about rabies but I know it isn’t instantaneous. I believe it takes a few days, maybe weeks before you even start to see symptoms. And always, it kills you within a month or so after getting infected. Of course they lamp shaded that fact in the film by acknowledging it usually kills you but not this strain of the virus which mutated so it basically just turns you into a zombie. How else are they going to make this widespread virus that kills you in a couple of months a threat?
So the other issue with that, but first I have to get into the plot a bit. Matt Smith plays Morgan. Morgan was bitten and has the rabies virus in him, but it didn’t change him into a zombie feral person. Instead it has left him with the ability to speak to these creatures. This change might have made more sense if they were still zombies, or maybe rage infected zombies from 28 Days Later. But with rabies infected people? The whole point of rabies is that it makes you crazy or unable to think properly. If you can just communicate with them, talk to them like normal people… then how is this rabies?
I don’t know, I might be thinking way too hard for a film with this simple of a plot. The movie already thinks you’re a moron anyways by giving you two introduction scenes telling you what’s going on.
It starts off with a Dawn of the Dead remake intro, news clips, even a voice over, telling us exactly what has happened. Rabies virus has mutated and is now widespread. Now people live underground because the surface area is too dangerous. But to find a cure for this virus, they need to find patient zero, the first one infected. Pretty simple, right? We got it. But they felt we needed even more exposition since now after our intro we are introduced to more voiceover from our main character, basically saying the exact same shit we just learned.
Also, it’s fucking weird to hear Matt Smith use an American accent. I don’t like it, I want it to stop. It’s like hearing Chris O’Dowd doing a Brooklyn accent or something, it’s uncomfortable for everyone.
Some actors I just don’t want to hear fake American accents with. Like Jason Statham. Don’t give Jason Statham an American accent!
Speaking of American accents, also in this film are two Game of Thrones alumni, Samwell Tarly and Margaery Tyrell. Played by John Bradley and Natalie Dormer. Bradley uses an American accent, however Natalie Dormer does not. She’s already struggling with her line delivery, I’d hate to see her struggle with a Chicago accent like Matt Smith, or whatever the hell accent he is meant to have.
So plot. Remember when I said it was also like Day of the Dead? Well, the plot to this, scientists in an underground bunker are experimenting on these “zombies” to find a cure for the virus that has plagued the world.
There’s also a colonel in charge slowly losing his mind, not seeing the point in continuing the experiments. We also have a female scientist at odds with him… Maybe this should have been the Day of the Dead remake instead of the one we got.
To be able to find a cure, they need to find patient zero. To do that, they have been taking infected people and using Matt Smith’s character to interrogate them. They use music kind of like waterboarding, hearing music hurts them and is switched on to get them to behave while being questioned.
Also in the basement, they are keeping Matt’s infected wife. She has been getting treatments, using Matt Smith’s character’s blood. She still seems pretty feral but not as much as the others they have locked up down there.
Matt’s character Morgan has also been knocking boots with Natalie Dormer’s character Gina Rose.
While doing their daily routine, they screw up and one of the infected they brought in for questioning bites Scooter, the comic relief character John Bradley plays. Sam from Game of Thrones. Aside from that and now this, I’ve never seen him in anything else.
They rush him to the emergency room where they have only a minute to remove the infected area, in his case his arm. For getting his arm cut off, he takes it pretty well. He seems to be in the clear but they were too late, as he quickly turns.
Our Day of the Dead wannabe colonel shoots him in the head before he can fully turn.
After that, tensions are high. They finally think they have tracked down the area where patient zero might be, so off camera they send troops to investigate the area. As they bring in the causalities to be burned, one of the infected sneaks in and surrenders himself.
That infected is played by Stanley Tucci. His character is known only as The Professor. Right away you can tell he’s different than the other feral people they brought in for interrogation. The music doesn’t hurt him like it hurts the others. He’s also calm and not a snarling zombie.
Morgan interviews him and the two have a conversation. The infected don’t really remember their names but they somehow remember just about everything else about their old lives. The Professor as he soon gets named, tells Morgan about how he got infected.
He was a college professor when his classroom was attacked. He didn’t make it far before getting attacked himself. So right away he should have been patient zero, right? But nope.
He then tells Morgan about how he ate his family and blah blah blah, it’s all a distraction from what’s really going on. They snuck a tracker into the base and the other feral crazed zombies are on theirway.
We never really get outside the base, so we never see how the feral people live, but it seems like cavemen. How did cavemen know how to use or plant a tracking device much less know where to follow the signal?
Anyway, the feral people show up and attack the base, killing everyone they come across. Morgan gets his infected wife out of her cell and they flee with Morgan’s other love interest our doctor Gina Rose. Who we learn is also now pregnant.
While trying to escape, Natalie Dormer kills the now off the deep end colonel, reuniting with Morgan. But before they can leave the base, they run into The Professor. Like how the scientists are looking for patient zero, the infected are looking for their patient zero, the one person immune to the virus. Morgan.
There’s a boring fight, Morgan wins by shish kebabing the Professor to a spike. To let Morgan and his pregnant girlfriend get away, Morgan’s wife sacrifices herself.
A disappointing end to a rather disappoint film. It didn’t put me to sleep at least. Still, it’s a SKIP IT rating for me.
Don’t waste your time with this, there are much better films you could be watching with the exact same plot. Maybe check out this 2015 film called Extinction, starring Matthew Fox and Jeffrey Donovan. Or this really cool Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton film called The Colony. Both have similar plots, but are so much better and worthy of a SEE IT rating.
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