In my experience, short films are difficult to judge fairly. Especially short horror films. What amounts to only ten minutes of screen time can take months of hard work in all departments involved, and an entire team is working to create something that not only makes the most of every second, but also manages to be creepy.
The premise of the short film Patina was enough to grab my attention. A young couple orders a robot named Patina, which lives only to serve, and he can’t move on to a new task until an initial task is completed.
Despite this intriguing premise, I didn’t really care for Patina. The concept (artificial intelligence gone wrong) leaves a lot of room for originality, and I feel like it was absolutely wasted here.
Although the casting is fantastic, especially the robot Patina (played by writer and director Alan Maxson), the script itself feels lazy. For instance, the character Alexa (played by Annabel Barrett) goes through a wild range of emotions within a single scene with little to no reasoning behind each change. There’s seriously nothing to trigger her terrified responses, yet we see her hand opening and closing anxiously and hear her tell her…husband? Boyfriend? Brother?...over the phone that she’s scared to death because Patina folded a sheet she’d placed over him without being instructed to do so.
The actress’s performance was nice, and I can tell she did what she could with what little she was given, but moments that should’ve felt scary were fairly comedic. If Maxson intended for Patina to be satirical, then he did a pretty good job…but everything about the short film, including the extended credit sequence, tells me the audience is supposed to take “Patina” seriously.
The best part of Patina is the makeup design and prosthetics. Maxson looks absolutely amazing as Patina, and his sinister presence throughout the short film makes me wish more though was given to the script. I would honestly pay to watch this as a feature film, provided Patina be given an interesting story with a little buildup (Hell, even a quick montage would’ve been nice) instead of a stilted setup for a lame punchline.
Patina shows promise as a "proof of concept" leading to a bigger project, but it doesn’t stand on its own at all.