Director Steven Kostanski may pay the bills with makeup and visual effects gigs on big-name shows and movies like Star Trek: Discovery, Suicide Squad, It, and Crimson Peak, to name a few, but his heart will never stray far from the beloved ’80s and 90’s low budget schlock fests that he loves and emulates from behind the camera. In his latest low budget, practical effects-driven gore fest, after his previous films The Void and Manborg, Kostanski does his best to show us what might have happened if the kids from 80’s cult classic The Monster Squad had discovered a supernatural homicidal maniac bent on destroying the earth, instead of then discovering a group of Universal Monsters with kickable nards, who was forced to follow the whims of a rambunctious preteen girl.
While playing the made-up game of ‘Crazy Ball’ in their backyard, siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) stumble across an unearthed jewel, which, once removed, frees an imprisoned alien world-destroyer, but the jewel also allows Mimi to control all of his actions. After dubbing her discovery as Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber), Mimi uses PG (for short) to enact her biddings, no matter how inane, spiteful, or hurtful to others they may be – though she does not allow him to kill anyone. With Mimi and Luke’s desperately inept and unaware parents (Adam Brooks and Alexis Kara Hancey) not offering any usable guidance, and an intergalactic assassin named Pandora hot on PG’s tail, Mimi finally starts to realize that hurting those she loves may not be the best course of action.
Kostanski proves yet once again that he is a master of stretching out his minuscule budget and wringing out every ounce of creativity to the screen. The film’s effects work rivals and even outdoes many films that have triple or quadruple the budget, with blood and guts flying everywhere in the opening and closing of the film. He has quickly established a signature style that is cemented with Psycho Goreman. Fans of Manborg and The Void should find much to love in this film. If there was any doubt as to what a “Steven Kostanski” film was or could be before PG, it’s clearly laid to rest here.
The script does jump around is chaotic in parts with a middle act that feels much longer than it is. But in many ways, it’s just there to service the gore and effects work permeating the opening and closing acts. And the gore delivers! Adam Brooks also helps cement the film with his oblivious dad character, something that Brooks can milk for laughs without even breaking a sweat, having perfected a doofus persona throughout many Astron 6 projects prior (the former filmmakers conglomerate that Kostanski, Brooks along with PG co-stars Conor Sweeney and Matthew Kennedy used to all be active members of, along with Jeremy Gillespie).
For most of the film though, Nita-Josee Hanna’s Mimi comes across as perhaps the most annoying horror film child since the kid from the Babadook, and for some, her coming of age and growing up moment may come too late into the movie to keep interested. Most of the other characters are cannon fodder for PG’s attacks, but Owen Myre manages to shine in the role of Mimi’s beaten down brother.
An effective and fun blood-splattered romp, Psycho Goreman may not be for everyone, but this is the type of film that will have vehement defenders for years going forward, and rightfully so. Because despite all its shortcomings and failures story wise, PG still manages to deliver a blood-soaked love letter to films of the VHS rental era, and there might even be some nards hurt in the process as well.
- Rated: 18A
- Genre: Comedy, Coming of Age, Horror
- Release Date: 1/22/2021
- Directed by: Steven Kostanski
- Starring: Adam Brooks, Alexis Kara Hancey, Conor Sweeney, Kristen MacCulloch, Matthew Kennedy, Matthew Ninaber, Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Reece Presley, Timothy Paul McCartney
- Produced by: Shannon Hanmer, Steven Kostanski, Stuart F. Andrews
- Written by: Steven Kostanski
- Studio: Charades, Raven Banner, RLJE Films