Psycho Goreman (2020) opens with Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna), and her brother, Luke (Owen Myer), playing Crazy Ball. No, it’s not just a name. The comedic amount of rules and odd moments built into the game quickly establishes the quirky tone that writer and director Steven Kostanski has in store for his audience. Luke’s digging a hole in the back yard leads to the siblings discovering a glowing gem that Mimi claims as her own. After the two have gone to bed, a monster arises from the hole and kills a group of thieves hiding out in an abandoned factory near their house.
Mimi and Luke find the monster and learn that they have a connection to it. After going through a series of names, they land on one that sticks – and the true story begins. Filled with gore and comedic moments from the entire cast, Psycho Goreman reminds me of one of those classic B-Movies that know what it is and how to appeal to its audience. While the low-budget effects and excessive violence and language may repel some viewers, those who are on board with what Kostanski is selling will have a great time watching this film.
Hanna is tasked with carrying much of the film, and is up for the challenge. Her performance at times feels like one, but the theatrics and big performance feels at home amongst the assortment of R-rated Power Ranger-esque creatures that fill the various moments of the film. Mimi’s tolerance for the monsters and dangerous situations is matched only by her own desires to rule.
Myer may have the more challenging task playing the much more submissive and boring character type. Somehow – between his performance and the writing – his character never got annoying and manages to be a good source of pathos for the audience: a loving brother who is clearly intimidated by his younger sister, and slightly afraid of the world he lives in. Both characters work well, and together they overcome a common problem with bigger budgeted films where the child leads just don’t work. Mimi and Luke are able to stand toe to toe with the enjoyment of the crazy monsters and Sci-fi world-building.
There are moments in the film that reveal its low budget, but those effects – and the impact they have – are ones to cherish. They refer back to a time when everything had to be done in-camera. Sure, a lot of the time those images look silly or like people in costumes. However, when they click, they often offer some fun visuals and demonstrate a level of the craft often forgotten in modern films. Filmmaking is as much about problem-solving as it is about looking pristine. You can see the love put into this crazy horror sci-fi comedy, and that goes a long way.
With that said, most of the film looks pretty outstanding. The creature’s design is interesting and original. There is a lot of craft put into the backstory, as well as character development that lesser B-movies would have glossed over. Yet, there is enough restraint exercised to not bog the film down with too many details. Kostanski offers enough to sink your teeth into and attach to the moments in the film without making the audience feel bloated with unnecessary exposition.
Psycho Goreman will have a solid following – especially with subscribers on Shudder, where it will be available to stream as of May 20, 2021. If any of what was said above appeals to your sensibilities, then this is a definite film to check out. I found myself far more amused with this than several of the more recent major releases. PG earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.