Patient Zero (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stefan Ruzowitzky|
|Produced by||Vincent Newman|
|Written by||Mike Le|
|Music by||Michael Wandmacher|
|Edited by||Mark Stevens|
Vincent Newman Entertainment
|Distributed by||Vertical Entertainment|
|Country||United Kingdom |
Patient Zero is a 2018 action horror film directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky and written by Mike Le. It stars Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Agyness Deyn, and Clive Standen. The plot involves a group of survivors who set out to find an antidote for a highly contagious virus that turns the infected into a ravenous but highly intelligent new species.
After a bidding war between several studios over a script penned by Le, Screen Gems eventually won the rights. Ruzowitzky signed on to direct in May 2014. Casting began in September 2014 and lasted until March 2015. Principal photography began on 3 March 2015 in London, before ending on 18 April.
The film was originally set to be released on 2 September 2016 by Screen Gems, though the film was eventually pushed back to 17 February 2017, until it was removed from the release schedule. The film was scheduled to be released through video-on-demand on 14 August 2018, before a limited theatrical release on 14 September 2018 by Vertical Entertainment.
After an outbreak of a mutated form of rabies that spreads from animals to humans, humanity is losing the war. People who are bitten turn rabid in 90 seconds. Morgan (Matt Smith) was riding in a car with his wife Janet (Agyness Deyn) when they were attacked. He was infected, but remained human with the ability to talk with the infected. In order to find an antidote to save humanity, including his infected wife, Morgan and a CDC doctor, along with the US military, bring in the infected and interrogate them. CDC virologist Dr. Gina Rose (Natalie Dormer), struggles with tensions between herself, Morgan, and Colonel Knox (Clive Standen). Dr. Rose and Col. Knox had an intimate relationship in the past. His jealousy of Dr. Rose's budding relationship with Morgan causes hostility. While interrogating an infected, Col. Knox shoots the uncooperative infected, killing it. Morgan goes to the restroom to help control his temper. Dr. Rose follows and the two engage in intense sex. Knox realizes that Dr. Rose has feelings for Morgan and confronts her. Getting closer to finding patient zero, we see Morgan's wife is being held in a cage in the underground base. She is being treated with an experimental treatment derived from Morgan's blood. In a flashback, Morgan wanted to have children with his wife, while she didn't want any.
Dr. Rose is shown with a positive pregnancy test. Bodies of fallen soldiers are brought in to the crematorium. One of the "dead" opens his eyes and attacks the workers and soldiers. After a fight, he is subdued and asks to speak with the one who can communicate with the infected. Because he is unaffected by the music that has driven the other infected into a rage, they assume he is patient zero or closely linked to patient zero. Morgan begins to interrogate him. The man reveals that he was a professor and his school was attacked by the infected. He was bitten, but still maintains most of his human abilities. He tells Morgan that the infected are evolved humans, a more advanced species who are at the top of the food chain. He came to the underground base on purpose. Worried, Morgan finds that another of the infected has a transmitter inside his chest. He realizes now the infected know where they are.
The infected show up and get inside, killing all the civilian survivors as well as the soldiers fighting. Knox shoots his commander so the infected are slowed down long enough for him and Dr. Rose to make it to the elevator. She grabs his gun and tells him he is a monster for doing that. He tries to tell her he wanted to save her life. They begin to scuffle and the gun goes off, killing Knox. Dr. Rose goes to the cells where the infected are kept, where Morgan releases his wife. Dr. Rose pleads with him to leave her since the treatments work but only for a short period of time. He refuses to leave without her. They sneak to her lab, retrieve her samples, and crawl through the vents. Then encounter an infected lab rat. Morgan's wife kills it before it can get to Dr. Rose. They make it to the parking lot under the ground level.
The professor has escaped and explains that he came to the base to kill Morgan. Morgan is their "patient zero" and is a threat to their survival. They begin to fight and the professor starts calling other infected. The battle ends with Morgan impaling him on a pipe while spearing himself through the shoulder in the process. They run to get away from the infected horde. They make it into a room with a heavy vault. Morgan's wife tells them to run and she will buy them time. She tells Morgan he must leave her to save the baby, as she sensed that Rose was pregnant. Distraught, Morgan and Rose close the heavy door just in time to stop the horde. Through a window in the door Janet mouths "a tear", indicating that she was now able to cry and that the treatment was working and restoring her humanity. Morgan and Rose follow the tunnel out to the woods and find a motorcycle. They ride off into the night with Morgan understanding that he must do whatever it takes for the human race to survive and take care of their baby.
- Matt Smith as Morgan
- Natalie Dormer as Dr. Gina Rose
- Stanley Tucci as The Professor
- Clive Standen as Colonel Knox
- Agyness Deyn as Janet
- John Bradley West as Scooter
- Colin McFarlane as General Pierce
- James Northcote as Pete Townshend
The script, initially titled Patient Z, was featured on the 2013 Black List, an annual survey showcasing the "most liked" motion picture screenplays unproduced. Set in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies, the story follows a man who speaks their language questions the undead in order to find a cure for his infected wife. The screenplay was the subject of a bidding war between several different studios including Fox Searchlight Pictures, Silver Pictures, Davis Entertainment, Broken Road Productions, Donners' Company, Vincent Newman Entertainment and Misher Films. Screen Gems eventually won the bidding war and Vincent Newman was set to produce through his company Vincent Newman Entertainment. Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky was set to direct the film on 2 May 2014. When the screenplay was first sold, the creatures were zombies, though it was eventually removed during subsequent rewrites.
On 24 September 2014, it was announced that Natalie Dormer would join the cast, followed by Matt Smith joining that November. Other roles were announced in early 2015 with Stanley Tucci joining in January John Bradley West  and Clive Standen joining in February. and Agyness Deyn joining in March 
Principal photography on the film began in London on 3 March 2015. From 9 March, filming took place at Shepperton Studios and would also take place in and around London through 18 April 2015. They have also filmed in Welwyn Garden City on 15 March 2015 where a SWAT van and car were seen on set.
In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that Patient Zero would be released on 2 September 2016 in the United States. On 28 April 2016, the film was delayed to 17 February 2017. In January 2017, the film was removed from the release schedule. The film is scheduled to be released through video on demand on 14 August 2018, before receiving a limited theatrical release on 14 September 2018, by Vertical Entertainment.
The film was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, which was attended by Smith, Dormer, Standen, Bradley, Ruzowitsky and Le. On 11 July 2015, a rough cut of the film's trailer was screened during the Screen Gems panel. Standen explained that the film's tension centers on the infected thinking they are "the new evolution of mankind" who want to wipe out the human race.
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