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CUFF 2016 review: Patchwork

Wednesday 01st, June 2016 / 10:42
By Chris Shalom

CALGARY — The ’80s-horror throwback almost feels like a sub-genre by now, and aside from some gems – All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Bad Biology, House of the Devil – it’s easy to get the impression that the aesthetic is usually more about budget than artistic vision. What made the films of Gordon, Hennenlotter, Yuzna etc. endlessly watchable was that their characters, slashers and slashees alike, were so full of life. That’s why Patchwork works, too, even if its protagonists should really all be dead.

Naturally, when Jennifer, Ellie, and Madeleine awake to discover that they’ve been Frankenstein-stiched into a single woman with three minds, a murderous rampage of revenge isn’t far off. The blood does eventually fly (so does the OwlCat). But we’re not drumming our fingers until it does. Patchwork is funny – not retro-funny or cheap-funny, but funny-funny. The constant zaniness doesn’t let the audience take much of anything seriously, but there are quiet moments, too, with real emotion in them.

It’s dedication – to its characters, its story, its tone – that makes Patchwork one of the relatively few worthy successors to its obvious inspirations. It might be primarily for the midnight movie types, but if you think you can handle the gore, dip a toe in. You’ll get a whole lot of body parts in return.

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