Psychological Thriller “The Patient” is Shocking and Captivating


“The Patient” Inside Look: How Steve Carell went from Actor to Therapist. PHOTO//WHATSONDISNEYPLUS.COM

Abigail Coppedge, Staff Writer

With Halloween right around the corner, many of us are filling our watchlists with scary movies and TV shows. True Crime documentaries, slasher films, ghost stories and ax-wielding horsemen make up the media we crave during this season. Created by Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg, who have previously collaborated on “The Americans,” “The Patient” is a must-add for anyone’s watchlist.

The film begins in a bedroom, where psychotherapist Dr. Alan Strauss, portrayed by Steve Carell wakes up and begins his morning routine like any other day. His pills are on the nightstand, his glasses kept beside them, but he has this strange pain in his neck, most likely from sleeping wrong. Strauss gets out of bed and quickly realizes he is chained to the basement floor of a house that is not his own. After some time, Sam, played by Domhnall Gleeson, his captor, and former patient, enters the room. Sam quickly informs Dr. Strauss that he is a serial killer and he needs his help to get better, thus beginning a psychological tug-of-war between Dr. Strauss and Sam. 

The first episodes lack action but are marvelously captivating. At first, Dr. Strauss is unwilling to perform therapy on Sam, but he soon realizes he might not have another choice if he wants to survive. So, he gives in and tries to guide Sam away from his compulsions to kill, all while struggling with the recent death of his wife and the increasingly deranged actions of his newest patient. The dynamic between the two men is intense and grows increasingly codependent as Sam relies on Dr. Strauss, so he does not kill people, and Dr. Strauss relies on Sam to stay alive. 

In “The Patient,” Steve Carell takes on a different role from his past work. Known for his performances in “The Office” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” Carrell has established himself as a respected comedic actor. His performance in “The Patient” is intense and heartbreaking to watch. It is easy to see established actors on screen and not see past their past work, but Carell’s persona disappears into Dr. Strauss.  

One thing the show does well is its portrayal of Sam. With an increase in shows about serial killers, many viewers have complained about the sexualization of these men. “The Patient” strays from this trope and portrays Sam as the complicated horrifying man he is. Domhnall Gleeson’s haunting performance is much to thank for this. 

Full of twists and turns and masterfully suspenseful, “The Patient” is a must-watch for horror fans everywhere. The final episode of season one will air on Hulu on Oct. 25th, 2022 at midnight.