I like to think of myself as a generous person. A kind and giving soul who does what he can for his fellow humans when possible. With that in mind, I have watched Patient Zero, and now you don’t have to. I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you that this film was bad, but I feel like you need to know.

I really wanted to like Patient Zero, it had a great cast in Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer, and Stanley Tucci. The trailer was compelling and made it look like there might be some new things rolling around in the zombie apocalypse idea tank. Plus, Stanley Tucci plays the bad guy. At the end of it all, however, the movie was an unfortunate disappointment.

We begin with a voice-over telling the story of a mutation of the Rabies virus, as we are filled in on the state of the world and watch a time-lapse of the downfall of humanity as most of the planet becomes infected via this pandemic. Then we get to Morgan (Matt Smith), a man who has been bitten by an infected, but not turned. He can speak their language. He has their strengths, but none of their weaknesses… No, sorry, that’s Blade.

Morgan lives in an underground bunker full of survivors, trying to find Patient Zero, who they hope will be the key to the cure for the virus that rages above ground. Morgan is very dedicated. Matt Smith even has a believable American accent for the opening scenes. Luckily, Morgan used to own a record store, because, it turns out that the infected can’t stand rhythmic sounds like music. And Morgan has a whole bunch of records to play! Morgan is working with Dr. Gina Rose (Natalie Dormer), who seems to be in charge, though she is doubted by Knox (Clive Standen), who appears to hold the rank of Trope Commander, though he does have to answer to Trope General in later scenes. Then there is Morgan’s wife, Janet (Agyness Deyn) who is sort of infected, but maybe not, and is getting injections, so she’s maybe getting better, but she’s maybe just not getting worse, and she’s not as out of control as those other infected. She’s kind of tame and just really cooperative for a rampaging, brainless creature. But Morgan loves her and hopes to have a future with her when they develop a cure. Oh, Morgan is also having sex with Dr. Rose, who is pregnant with his child, but what are you going to do?

If this all seems messy, just wait, it will all get wrapped up neatly at the end. I’m kidding, it’s a mess all the way through, but we’ll get to that part a little later. So into this mess comes The Professor (Stanley Tucci), an infected who is not a snarling, ravenous savage beast, but just a guy with some yellow contacts, and some scars. He doesn’t get driven mad by music, like the other infected. He even quotes philosophy. He stops short of actually saying “We’re not so different, you and I,” maybe there wasn’t enough room with all the other tropes… Anyway, The Professor is a decoy to lead the other infected to the bunker, there’s a monsters vs. survivors fight, most of the survivors get moved to the other list, while Morgan and Dr. Rose escape and ride off into the night to do something. Maybe something that will cure everyone else and bring them back to the way things were. By that point, it was hard to care anymore.

As I mentioned earlier, this film is messy. The writing is a mess, the plot holes are big enough for a ragtag band of survivors to live in, the soundtrack is 1960’s B-movie bad, but not even intentionally so, and the dialogue and acting are so cheesy the film needs a warning for lactose intolerant people. Matt Smith, at least, wasn’t just The Doctor for the span of the film, and he managed his lines well enough, despite his accent not showing up to set every day. Stanley Tucci was wasted in this; he didn’t spend enough time on screen to really reveal the menace that an intelligent person leading an army of super strong, nigh un-killable beasts. The romance between Dr. Rose and Morgan seems forced and unbelievable, especially with the amount of time Morgan spends pining over his wife. Clive Standen’s performance as a military guy in charge Knox was painful to watch. And the interactions between Knox and Dr. Rose weren’t even believable. It was more of an acting out of something from r/thathappened. It felt like every bit of this movie was just leftover scraps from movies that have done the same thing much better. There are so many zombie survival movies out that it really takes something special to stand out, and Patient Zero doesn’t even do that. Well, not in a good way.

We’re supposed to root for the humans, we’re supposed to care about the characters and be afraid for them to die, and to be sad when they do. I was happy that Morgan and Dr. Rose escaped at the end because at least the movie was over. And, while it leaves a setup for a sequel, I hope that gets killed along with any other survivors. It’s just better that way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9uddyaqAPE

About Patient Zero

Synopsis: In the pandemic thriller, Patient Zero, humanity is battling intelligent, adrenaline-fueled creatures born from a viral super-strain. After being bitten, human survivor Morgan realizes he is asymptomatic and can communicate with the infected, leading the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure. (Written by Sony Pictures)

Directors: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Writers:Mike Le

Stars:Natalie Dormer, Matt Smith, Stanley Tucci, Agyness Deyn, Clive Standen

Rated:R

Runtime:1 hour, 33 minutes

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