Patchwork is a strange film, one that lives up to the title in more ways than one. Being more than slightly influenced by the great Frank Henenlotter, this is a horror comedy that just doesn’t really know how to get the ratio right when it comes to the different ingredients. Some of the comedy is amusing enough, but it’s never as funny as it could be, some of the gore gags are good, although surprisingly restrained, and the enjoyably wild premise is treated in a way that feels far too sensible for what should be an outrageous tale.
Directed and co-written by Tyler Macintyre (Chris Lee Hill is the other writer), Patchwork is all about a young woman who wakes up one morning to find out that she has been stitched together into one body that also includes two other women. This is shown with some decent practical make up and scenes that show the three female personalities presented as individual, whole females (played by Tory Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, and Maria Blasucci). The women want to find out what happened to them, and set off to retrace their tracks while viewers are shown various flashbacks that tease out the full story.
With decent performances from all three leads (particularly Stolper), and solid work from everyone else involved, and a fun structure that allows for some enjoyable reveals as things unfold, Patchwork is certainly a cut above many other low-budget films you could pick from the past few years. Everything is put together well enough, and it all feels cared for and polished.
Unfortunately, that care and polish may be a contributing factor to it never working as well as it should. This is a film that, for me, should feel a bit grimy and rough around the edges. It should have scenes practically overwhelmed by bloodshed and wallow in the potential tastelessness of the premise. There's certainly one scene that comes close to doing that, and it's a funny one, but nothing else comes close, which is a shame.
Macintyre and Hill show great potential, developing the feature from their short of the previous year (which also featured Stolper), and they managed to take a small step up with their next feature (Tragedy Girls), but this is a case of unfulfilled potential, which isn't something I expected to say about a horror comedy featuring three women stitched together into the one body. Maybe they'll do better when they come up with Patchwork 2: Battle Of The Sexes, because surely the next step is to merge a man and a woman and let gory hilarity ensue.
Americans, buy things here. Both options get me coin.