Starring Tory Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, Maria Blasucci, Corey Sorenson, James Phelps
Directed by Tyler MacIntyre
Hello there, denizens of Dread Central. My name is Erik, and I’m new around here. For my introduction to you all, I felt it was important to start out on the right foot. With that in mind I combed through the reviews here and noticed that there was one glaring omission. My favorite horror film of the year had been sadly overlooked by DC!
Now, with so many horror offerings being released every year by both major studios and the independents, it can, of course, be forgiven if smaller indie productions sometimes fly under the radar. No one can see EVERYTHING after all. I was delighted when I discovered that I could be the first person to preach the gospel of this wonderfully weird and charming throwback feature from Dread Central’s pernicious pulpit. So, without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I bring you what is easily the surprise of 2017 for me. Patchwork.
Brought to you by creative partners Tyler MacIntyre and Chris Lee Hill (who are set to take the horror world by storm with the release of their upcoming feature Tragedy Girls), Patchwork is a horror comedy about a mad scientist who uses a very familiar glowing green substance to bring three murdered women back to life as a single re-animated creature. Keeping with this overarching theme, the film is divided into several different parts woven together to explore each woman’s character and how each found themselves bonded with the other two inhabitants of the creature.
While the three women may be represented brilliantly throughout the film as existing all at once inside the mind of the hapless creature, the bulk of the physical acting falls squarely on the shoulders of lead actress Tory Stolper. Ms. Stolper is a breath of fresh air as she nails every single detail of this role. From facial expressions that run the gamut between comedic and achingly sad to the awkward physical movements of this newly spawned creation, she never failed to convince me of the creature’s authenticity. In a film rife with absurd and fantastical happenings, her ability to ground the feature with this charming, realistic portrayal was really what made me love it as much as I do.
Not to be outdone, the remainder of the cast deliver fine performances themselves. Tracey Fairaway and Maria Blasucci bring their deceivingly complicated characters to life with just as much gusto as Stolper. Corey Sorenson, as The Surgeon (who remains mysteriously unnamed), injects the appropriate amount of maniacal glee into his role and makes the most of every minute he’s on-screen. I hope very much to one day see a feature focused entirely on this character so that I may learn more about this enigmatic figure. The only performance that I found less than stellar was that of James Phelps as the love interest who helps the women on their quest. While his character certainly made me laugh more than once, I found his delivery to be somewhat stilted at times.
In the makeup and special effects department, Kourtney Kuroki and her crew should also be commended. Their work to make actress Tory Stolper actually look like three different women all sewn together is spectacular. It really is something to behold. They were also tasked with keeping the aesthetics of a certain classic horror series (ahem, Re-Animator) that set a pretty high standard for practical effects itself. Given the limited budget I’m sure they were working with, they managed it with aplomb. Combined with clever editing and lighting, this film genuinely feels like the great horror classics it harkens back to while simultaneously forging its own path. Not an easy thing to pull off to be sure.
As I’ve already mentioned, Patchwork is easily my favorite horror release this year. That is not hyperbole I assure you. It is a perfect throwback to the films I grew up loving, and I can tell everyone involved loved them just as much, if not more, than I. Funny, freaky, and at times fantastically foul, I cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed every minute of it. I just hope this meager attempt has convinced you to give it a look for yourselves. So, until next time Dreadites, adieu.