Release the owlcat!

Patchwork is very, very busy. This is a film that wants to be a lot of things: an update on the Frankenstein tale; a body horror film; a revenge story; and action movie; a romance; a comedy. It succeeds marvelously at most of these.

The film stars  Tory Stolper as Jennifer, a high power business woman of sort whose business is never really explained. She just got the big account and it’s her birthday, so she’s looking to celebrate. Unfortunately, none of her “friends” seem all that interested in spending time with her, so she leaves the bar and heads home to await the married coworker that she is having an affair with.  We get the feeling that her life isn’t exactly fulfilling.

While she’s waiting. Someone clobbers her from behind and loses consciousness. She wakes up on a table confused and groggy. There are voices in her head: two other women who seem to somehow hear her thoughts and respond. When she finds a mirror, she will learn why.

Jennifer discovers that she has been cut into pieces and those pieces sewn together with the parts of two other women. Ellie and Madeleine are in her head because they are effectively sharing a single body. 

Stolper plays the body of the three, with an assist from some really solid make-up effects creating that illusion that she is three women sewn together.  The other two only appear in scenes that take place within their shared consciousness.

The three women learn to work together to control their new shared body.

Then they go about solving the mystery of who is to blame for their strange predicament.  That quest pretty rapidly shifts into a search for revenge.

The violence rapidly escalates in both gory intensity and comedic slapstickery.  This movie does not slow down once it really gets rolling. It wants to up every ante and bust every head. The physical comedy is top notch, and compares well to the likes of Evil Dead 2.

The movie works to a very clever twist that helps to build a satisfying ending. Viewers may not notice immediately that they are watching a feminist empowerment tale, but that is very clearly what this is. The film’s ideology is expertly woven into the action until subtext becomes text.  It is smartly done.

There is a romantic subplot that never really gels, and could honestly have been left out. It’s one thread too many in a very packed movie. 

Patchwork is a must for fans of horror comedy.

-Nathan Tyree