24th Oct2019

‘Patina’ Short Film Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Alan Maxson, Annabel Barrett, Matt Kelly | Written and Directed by Alan Maxson


The Twilight Zone and more recently Black Mirror have created future worlds that aren’t so great. Featuring things we should worry about and usually making technology seem like something we should be very wary of. Patina follows that idea, with robots that can do anything for us. But even written down that seems like a bad idea. Does anyone think that in the future we want robots that will so whatever we ask, no questions. All I can think of is thousands, maybe millions of crimes and illegal things that robots will be getting up to.

Here, Patina is the name of said robot. A robot that does look pretty scary, actually not too dissimilar to the masked Jason Voorhee’s in Jason X. Not something you really want standing in your home and that is the feelings of Alexa (I assume that name is very deliberate) whose boyfriend has bought this robot. That said, Alexa does seem to get irrationally angry at the mere sight of the robot. Yes it looks creepy, yes it continually asks her for a command to deliver but that is all she has to do. Ask it to do something, it will do it and then that is that. But Alexa would rather chuck a towel over it and hope it shuts up. This is a sci-fi horror though so things aren’t that simple.

The music gets more and more horror-like as the short goes on and you know something is going to happen. You might even guess what will happen but the reasons behind it are probably not what you are thinking. The conclusion is definitely the highlight of the movie, featuring a shocking and gory surprise and a quick follow-up that might make you smile and feel a little uneasy at the same time.

Despite the over-reaction as Alexa from Annabel Barrett, all the cast feel natural in the roles but Alan Maxson as Patina is the most interesting performance. The sound design definitely helps with the movement but he is enjoyable in the role and manages, in simple expressions (including a strange smile) to come across kind of scary.

Patina doesn’t feel revolutionary or anything but at around nine minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome. It comes across like a decent segment in an anthology movie of some sort, but as a stand alone short movie it does leave you wanting a little bit more.


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