By GRACE DETWILER
Starring Matthew Ninaber, Nita-Josee Hanna, and Owen Myre
Written and Directed by Steven Kostanski
When big brother Luke (Owen Myre) loses a game of “crazy ball” to his tiny tyrant of a sister Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna), he is tasked with digging a massive hole in their backyard, accidentally unearthing a powerful gem – the removal of which from the ground triggers the release of an ancient evil demon-monster-alien, whom the kids nick-name PSYCHO GOREMAN (PG for short!). Yet, before PG (Matthew Ninaber) can wreak havoc and destruction upon the human race, Mimi discovers that she can control PG’s actions simply by brandishing the gem in question, forcing PG to begrudgingly do her maniacal bidding. As PG and Mimi’s escapades threaten to divide their family in two, the leader of a council of alien overlords, Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch/Roxine Latoya Plummer), is called down to earth with the mission of returning Psycho Goreman to his underground prison.
What is perhaps PSYCHO GOREMAN’s greatest achievement, aside from its incredibly intense and entertaining practical gore effects, is how daringly the film toes the line between being both an adult and family horror adventure. Featuring a central cast of talented young actors (shoutout to Hanna’s deranged performance as Mimi!) the obstacles faced by PSYCHO GOREMAN’s characters are each distinctly suited to their dual target audience, offering a critique of selfish children and lazy adults alike. That’s not to say that PG is necessarily family-friendly, but it is sure to be a hit with older kids who have a strong stomach for gore.
There is something innately amusing about the idea of a little girl gaining the power to control a primeval-evil beast, making the interplay between PG and Mimi particularly attention-grabbing within the film. PSYCHO GOREMAN also boasts a retro/cartoonish vibe, with the story that feels freshly ripped from the pages of a comic book. Personally, the film brought to mind the Whedonesque humor of the likes of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, especially during scenes depicting the intergalactic “Templar” council, who starkly resemble Dr. Horrible’s Evil League of Evil.
The only conceivable downside to PSYCHO GOREMAN appears to be the lack of clarity about who the audience should be rooting for in the film’s third act. When PG and Pandora finally face-off, respectively backed by members of Luke and Mimi’s family, viewers may find that the inherent unlikeness of both Mimi and her father Greg (Adam Brooks) gets in the way of the battle’s ultimate payoff. This choice could certainly be justified by implying that PG’s evil had brought out Mimi’s bad side in some significant way, yet I am not sure that the film intended for that to be the case.
Minor plot concerns aside, there is no doubt that PSYCHO GOREMAN is a ridiculously fun romp through the titular demon’s blood and viscera-soaked exploits. Look out for the so-called “Warrior’s Death” as well, since there is nothing else to say except, we didn’t see that coming. For anyone missing the practical effect and splatterfests of horror eras past, PG was made especially for you.
Be sure to check out PSYCHO GOREMAN in theaters, On Demand, and on Digital HD January 22, 2021.