Parents' Guide to

Patient Zero

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Lots of yelling, jump scares in poor zombie-outbreak movie.

Movie R 2018 90 minutes
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This quasi-zombie action movie eventually wanders cluelessly off track, but, as it consists mainly of yelling, sudden loud noises, and camera-shaking, it gets aggravating long before that happens. Patient Zero was shelved, delayed, and re-scheduled several times before finally being released. (Like that old Hollywood joke: It wasn't released, it escaped.) It's not clear whether there were re-shoots or it was just a rough screenplay, but the entire concept of "patient zero" -- and the entire theme of the movie -- are simply tossed away in the third act.

What's more, the dialogue is frequently overwritten and over-explanatory. The main character speaks opening and closing narration that's positively eye-rolling, perhaps in an effort to tie things together. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky seems entirely unsuited to this movie, unsure of how to generate suspense or tingles, so he keeps the camera wobbling, punctuates attacks with loud, sudden bangs, and instructs everyone to shout -- or, in Tucci's case, to mug for the camera. (Fortunately, Tucci is good at mugging, and his performance offers the only fun to be had.) Overall, this stuff is all old hat, done already in a dozen zombie movies, and Patient Zero feels like a cheap, oblivious attempt to join in on the craze.

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