So as many of you have probably already heard Ryan Reynolds has announced that he has started working on a movie adaptation of a horror novella that was published on Reddit a couple years ago. As someone who is a massive fan of Ryan Reynolds (how could you not be after Deadpool?) I am extremely excited to see what he does with this project.
I had personally not heard of this novella titled The Patient That Nearly Drove Me Out Of Medicine before seeing the announcement, so I made it my immediate goal to find it online and read through. Well as you’ve likely guessed, I’ve finished the novella and decided to do a bit of an analysis of what I think will work really well in a film adaptation and what I think needs to be changed or adjusted for the big screen. This post will contain minor spoilers, but nothing too major don’t worry.
The story centers around a young medical resident named Parker H-something and his time doing his residency at a local rundown mental hospital. Let’s address one glaring issue with the story right now that I think needs to be changed for the movie. The names.
You’ll notice as I go over the details here that every single character doesn’t have a full last name. That’s not because I’m a lazy writer who couldn’t be bothered to go back and look up the full names. It’s because the story only gives you the first initials of their last names and nothing else. This might be able to fly in some movies, because how often do people actually speak to each other and include a last name? However since an overwhelming portion of the characters are doctors, it would be incredibly hard and unappealing to either just pretend that people don’t call their doctors by the last name or to actually call everyone “Dr. H, Dr. A, etc.” Just avoid this conflict and give them all fake last names that start with the initials given in the story.
But anyways, back to the plot. So Peter (I’ve decided to refer to the character’s first names as opposed to “Dr. H” like I’m in some awful fucking spy movie) comes across this patient in the hospital who the other hospital workers refuse to say the name of (apparently Voldemort is staying at this insane asylum). Whenever they do dare to mention him they use the name Joe.
Parker decides he wants to try and diagnose/cure Joe even though all the other doctors who have treated him over the past 20 years have deemed him incurable. Well since Parker is extremely smart and only chose to work at such a crappy hospital because it was close to his fiancee, he thinks he will be able to do what several previous doctors couldn’t.
After going through the patient files and getting interviewed by the Chief of Medicine at the hospital named Rose G-something, Parker is cleared to start therapy on Joe. Right away Parker is taken off guard by how normal Joe appears to be, and he quickly discovers that Joe might not be as crazy as everyone says he is.
As Parker begins to uncover what he believes to be a hospital-wide conspiracy against Joe, he starts making plans to help the patient escape. Not surprisingly the plan doesn’t go as planned (pretty great fucking line if I do say so myself) and Parker lands in some hot water while Joe remains stuck in his room.
Now Parker is dragged into a meeting with Rose and an elderly man revealed to be the previous Chief of Medicine and original doctor to Joe when he was first admitted to the hospital 20 years ago. This doctor is named Thomas A-something and begins to tell Peter information that completely changes his view of Joe and the hospital.
Parker hears out the explanation given to him by Rose and Thomas and chooses to reject part of their story and develops a plan to find out the truth once and for all. With a visit to the house of Joe’s extremely rich parents, Parker is able to find the thing that helps him realize Joe is something that no one (not even himself) could have ever imagined.
Unfortunately that’s about as much as I can give away without spoiling the story for you guys, but it gives you the basis to understand by opinions about what will work and what won’t for the movie adaptation.
Since it’s a novella made up of only 10 parts (including the pregnancy update) and not a full-fledged novel I don’t think any plot points will need to be cut in order to fit everything into a two hour movie. The portion where Parker is first trying therapy on Joe will need to be shown more in-depth, because the story condenses this into a section of only a few hundred words which doesn’t give the reader enough time to develop a connection with Joe.
The entire story is told in a first-person narrative, which I don’t see being a good option for the film. Having the Parker character narrating such a large chunk of the story wouldn’t translate as well to film.
If they choose to include the pregnancy update section of the story in the movie (which I really hope they do, because it provides a good solid ending) then I’d suggest that they need to expand the role of Parker’s fiancee. As it currently stands she plays an almost non-existent role until the very end, so the audience has no connection to her whatsoever. Including some scenes of Parker’s home life with his fiancee (especially after he starts therapy with Joe) would be a nice way to break from the continual horror setting and allow the audience to form a proper relationship with her.
I think this story was pretty good and will be able to translate into a film fairly successfully. Overall, I give the novella 4 out of 5 patients and you can expect a review of the film when it comes out.