What Lisa Watched Last Night #133: Patient Killer (dir by Casper Van Dien)


Last night, I watched another Lifetime premiere, Patient Killer!

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, the obvious answer is because it was on Lifetime and, like all good people, I’m kind of obsessed with the movies that they show on Lifetime.  However, I also watched it because it was directed by Casper Van Dien (who has already appeared in two of my favorite films of the year — Avengers Grimm and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf) and it apparently featured Patrick Muldoon playing a stalker.  Patrick Muldoon is always a lot of fun whenever he’s bad.

(Derek Morris, my collaborator over at Primetime Preppie, has never quite forgiven Patrick for breaking up Kelly and Zack on Saved By The Bell.)

What Was It About?

Four years ago, therapist Victoria Wrightmar (Victoria Pratt) got too close to one of her patients and, as a result, Dylan McNalt (David Chokachi) committed suicide.  Despite the fact that Victoria has found success as a hypnotherapist, dream interpreter, and author, she is still haunted by Dylan’s death.

One day, a new patient enters her office.  Blaire Bennett (Barbie Castro) has been having nightmares and, when it turns out that she’s been suppressing memories that are similar to those that afflicted Dylan, Victoria once again starts to get too close to another patient.

However, it’s not just Blaire that Victoria has to deal with.  Her boyfriend, Jason (Casper Van Dien), has anger issues.  Another one of her patients, Derek (Patrick Muldoon), has become dangerously obsessed with her.  Both her mentor (Richard Burgi) and her administrative assistant (Stacey Dash) might have secrets of their own.  And, as strange things start to happen and those around her are threatened, a menacing police detective (Antoni Corone) enters her life as well.

Is Victoria being stalked or is she going crazy herself?  And is this movie called Patient Killer because the killer is a patient or because the killer likes to take his time?  To find out, you’ll have to watch the movie!

What Worked?

On twitter, Patrick Muldoon speculated that he would never get another date after people saw his performance as unstable Derek.  Personally, I think Muldoon was too hard on himself.  He did a really good job, finding the perfect balance between being threatening and being pathetic.  As a result, his character was both scary and sympathetic.  It looked like he had a lot of fun playing Derek and he was a lot of fun to watch.

And really, the same thing can be said about Patient Killer as a film.  It was an entertaining and enjoyably over-the-top thriller.

I loved both Victoria’s office and Blaire’s house.  Both locations were wonderfully decorated and a real delight to look at.  I’ve always said that one of the best thing about Lifetime films is getting to see where everyone works and lives and that was definitely the case with Patient Killer.

Actually, the entire film was a delight to look at.  Bernard Salzmann’s cinematography filled the frame with a combination of vibrant colors and menacing shadows.  This movie featured one of the best sunsets ever to appear on the Lifetime network.

While the film’s deliberate pace may not have been for everyone, I actually rather liked it and I felt it occasionally gave the film a surreal, almost dream-like feel.  In the end, Patient Killer felt like the Lifetime version of a classic David Lynch film noir.  (The score even sounded similar to Angelo Badalamenti’s classic Mulholland Drive score.)

What Did Not Work?

As far as I’m concerned, it all worked!

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

As someone has plenty of experience in the administrative assistance field, I totally related to the character played by Stacey Dash.

Lessons Learned

Never go to the office without a taser.  (Watch the movie and it’ll make sense.)