January 23, 2018 Psychotic! A Brooklyn Slasher (Movie Review)
Produced by Maxwell Frey and Derek Gibbons, who together make up Destruction Inc., comes Psychotic!. A bloody psychedelic Slasher set in Bushwick, New York, it was initially shown at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival back on October 15, 2016, but now receives a proper DVD and VOD release on Friday, January 26, 2018.
Frey and Gibbons’ debut full-length feature film, Psychotic!, tells the story of struggling artists Tim (Frey) and Stuart (Gibbons) who cannot seem to enjoy the city life without the murders of a Bushwick Party Killer’s reign of terror ruining all the fun. To stop the murders from happening, it is up to them to put an end to the killings. This whodunit mystery stylistically and aesthetically is loosely influenced by Italian Horror films of the 1970s as well as American Slashers of the 1980s. This is evident right down to the practical gore effects and original soundtrack.
As mentioned, the filmmakers’ debut full-length feature, the positive thing that stands out the most about Psychotic! is the cinematography work of Brian Stanfield. There is also the opening sequence of which the first victim of the Bushwick killings is unaware of her untimely demise while getting ready for a party. The audience is put into this first person view of the killer as if we are the ones actually carrying out this grisly murder as he hides behind the victims bedroom door and under a desk, all while casually interacting with his victim’s guest. It is a rather intense start for a film. From start to finish, the opening sequence is extremely well done.
However, after the first half of Psychotic!, the acting practically destroys whatever chance the film has of being interesting. Characters act in over-the-top ways and react irrationally to a killer that could be someone they know. Not to mention, for a Slasher film, deaths come in almost 40 minutes in, aside from the first death. For a film that is only 90 minutes long, the killings could have come sooner instead of having to put up with odd behaviors from all the characters.
While it is understood why most of the characters act out in bizarre fashions, in order to throw off the audience as to who the killer is, it is done in a heavy-handed manner. Lastly, when it finally comes to many of the characters dying, some are peculiar and take too long. This factor could make some viewers care less about the characters and the killer, and more about getting to the point so it can finally be done.
While Psychotic! embraces its ’70 and 80’s Slasher film aesthetics to an extent, the film wastes too much time on developing the plot. As a result, by the time the viewer is halfway through the cringe-worthy acting of some of the characters and their issues, they find the killing spree rushed. That does not mean it is not worth checking out for those who enjoy a film that pays homage to Horror’s past. As a result, CrypticRock gives Psychotic! 2.5 out of 5 stars.