Fright Fest 2016 Review #7 – Coma (1978)

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Suspended animation

Subgenre:  Thriller

Summary:  Healthy patients at the same hospital begin dropping into comas for no apparent reason.

Review:  Susan is a well-respected doctor at Boston’s premier hospital.  She enjoys her job, though she sometimes gets fed up with office politics, especially those of her boyfriend and co-worker Mark.

One day Susan witnesses a patient slip into a coma during a routine operation, with no apparent cause.  At first she writes it off as a rare case of an extreme reaction to anesthesia, but this becomes harder to believe as other patients – including a friend of hers – suffer the same fate. Against the wishes of her superiors, she grows obsessive over the cases, searching for some kind of connection.

Though more of a thriller than a horror movie, Coma certainly has its share of scary moments.  The final reveal of what’s happening to the patients isn’t all that shocking, but it’s disturbing in just how believable it feels – especially during a climax that’s nothing short of nightmarish.  Coma questions the inherent trust we put in doctors, and reminds us that they’re just as human – and corruptible – as anyone else.

The Verdict:  Coma is a smart, creepy, and well-acted medical thriller.  I give it seven-and-a-half victimized vegetables out of ten.

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