Psycho Goreman is Weird, Dark Fun
Psycho Goreman is a fantasy-horror-comedy about two pre-teens who accidentally revive a villainous interplanetary Demigod. It’s unapologetically dark, self-aware, and unexpected. It confronts the audience’s skepticism head-on; it will make you laugh and give a shit despite yourself. It over-extends itself slightly in its third act, moving a bit too far toward parody, before sprinting ahead for an explicative-laden, chaotic finale that piles on heaps of heart and humor until you can barely breathe. Psycho Goreman rules.
“Why don’t you give us a spin, hunky boy?” If you hadn’t figured out that Psycho Goreman revels in its irreverence by the time Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) meets the titular overlord, her playful taunts to her new frenemy probably clued you in. The film leads hard into this wink-and-a-nudge absurdity, adding a much-needed dose of levity to the far-fetched plot and the occasionally excessive violence. As Mimi and her brother Luke (Owen Myre) befriend PG (a nickname so stupid it circles back around to being funny), the film doesn’t veer into the cliched unlikely friendship. It just stays ridiculous.
This spirit carries through to PG’s extraterrestrial enemies, “The Templars,” led on a hunt to recapture PG by an all-powerful leader and her cadre of inept underlings. “I believe you, Templar, just the boys having a laugh,” says a particularly incapable foot-soldier after spitting dirty jokes to his colleagues while his boss was giving a speech. Director Steven Kostanski imbues the Templars - along with everyone else in the film - with the energy of a junior high locker room. Immature, impertinent, intrepid.
Kostanski’s approach works for most of the movie, though you may begin to tire of it in the second half. His tone works for the most part, though it renders Mimi and Luke’s parents overly parodic, with a series of jokes that play more like an awkward, improvised sketch of an unhappy couple than an over-the-top hit-piece in the spirit of the rest of the film. The director’s coup de grâce on the film you might have expected, though, is his unwillingness to cut the film’s darkness with the expected humor. Psycho Goreman is funny, yes, but its comedy doesn’t undermine its perversity - it supplements it.
In particular, Hanna shines as Mimi, an uncompromising 12-year-old who emotionally and physically dominates her brother, her parents, and the hulking monster that rises from her backyard. A scene in which she explains how “the F word” can work in countless ways is one of the funniest of the year. Hanna has a bright future.
Difficult to market, Psycho Goreman should find a comfortable home with Shudder, the streaming service whose expertise lies in appealing to hardcore genre fans while expanding the audience for hard-to-define films. You may not love horror or fantasy or comedies starring children. But if you like the surprise of a film unlike any other, you’ll like Psych Goreman.