Three years after murdering his parents, Patrick (Thompson) lies in a coma at the Roget Clinic, a private hospital in Melbourne. Following a job interview with Matron Cassidy (Blake), the head of the hospital, Kathie Jacquard (Penhaligon) is taken on as Patrick's new nurse. The hospital's owner, Dr. Roget (Helpmann), explains Patrick's condition to Kathie and says he is being kept alive to explore the nature of life and death. He also says that another patient, Capt. Fraser (Pym), claims that Patrick "flies in and out of the window at night." Elsewhere, Kathie deals with her ex-husband Ed (Mullinar), who she recently separated from.
Unbeknownst to the hospital staff, Patrick has psychokinetic powers and has the ability to travel out of his body. He demonstrates his ability by moving objects in Cassidy's presence and attempting to drown Brian Wright (Barry), a doctor who flirts with Kathie, at a pool party. When Kathie tries typing a memo in Patrick's room, he takes over her movements and causes her to write his name. Patrick seems to begin communicating with Kathie via spitting, but remains silent when she brings in Cassidy to show her. However, after Cassidy leaves the room, Kathie discovers that Patrick has written "SECRET" through the typewriter.
Kathie and Brian return to her apartment to find it ransacked. Kathie assumes Ed is responsible, but he denies any wrongdoing. Patrick again tries to communicate with Kathie, showing her which parts of his body he can feel; he sports an erection when she reaches his genitals. Cassidy catches Kathie but, while not sacking her, warns her to not entertain theories about Patrick's consciousness as she continues caring for him. Kathie returns to her apartment to find that Ed has cleaned up the mess and fixed her dinner. Ed handles a hot casserole dish and severely burns his hands, but says he didn't feel a thing.
One night, Patrick possesses Kathie while she is typing and uses her to communicate a lewd and threatening message. He also takes over the typewriter to write an algebra equation she doesn't recognise. Meanwhile, Ed drops by the hospital with a bouquet and is lured into the broken lift by Patrick, who traps him inside. Kathie realizes Patrick has psychic powers, but Brian is reluctant to take her claims seriously. When Brian makes an inquiry about examining Patrick, Cassidy sacks Kathie. After Roget subjects Patrick to electroconvulsive therapy, he uses the typewriter to tell Kathie that the hospital staff is trying to kill him.
Kathie and Brian sneak into the hospital at night to examine Patrick. While this happens, Patrick compels Cassidy to return to the hospital, but she relents in opening the door to his room while they subject him to strobe lights. After the two leave, Patrick possesses Cassidy and causes her to fatally electrocute herself in the basement, then turns his head to look at a frightened nurse. Kathie is questioned about the blackout and is present when Cassidy's body is discovered. She persuades the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Grant (Wilson), to speak to Brian about Patrick's abilities, but both men dismiss her claims that Patrick murdered the matron.
Kathie realizes Ed is missing. She contacts Grant, who tells her that Ed's car was towed from outside the hospital. Meanwhile, Patrick uses his powers to attack Roget when he attempts to inject him with potassium chloride. Kathie confronts Patrick, who gives her the choice of either injecting him with the syringe or letting Ed die. Kathie reluctantly chooses to kill Patrick, who nearly causes her to take the syringe as well. Ed, who is released from the lift, arrives in the room and saves her at the last minute. Despite apparently flatlining, Patrick leaps from his bed and crashes into a cabinet in what Roget assumes is a motor reflex. However, after Kathie closes Patrick's eyes and leaves the room, he awakens again.
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