The slasher film, reviled by moralists and critics and looked down on by genre snobs the genre was enjoyed a huge boom in the 80s but was never really respected. Although they faded from popularity after the 80’s slashers have never gone away, indeed they’ve been making a comeback in the last couple of years. And that’s where Maxwell Frey and Derek Gibbons film PSYCHOTIC! comes in.
A masked killer is stalking the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. But most of the residents have nothing to fear, the killer is targeting a specific group of residents, hipsters. Specifically, those somehow connected to the band Mass Psychosis. The band members and their assorted friends, girlfriends, and hangers-on indulge in their petty drama, smoke pot and avoid getting a job while trying to avoid becoming a victim of The Bushwick Party Killer.
PSYCHOTIC! Hits the mechanics of the slasher film perfectly. There’s plenty of bloody and inventive kills, done with good old-fashioned practical effects. The script sets the kills up nicely too, the first murder has a tracking shot that reminded me of Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, another plays tribute to Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. And when they occur it’s with the blood and thunder of FRIDAY THE 13th or THE PROWLER.
On the other hand, the characters leave something to be desired. Unlike many genre films, they are developed and given personalities, which is the problem. There is nobody remotely likable in this film, they’re all obvious, self-indulgent jerks. Think of every bad hipster stereotype and you have the inhabitants of this film.
Granted these films have a tradition of having annoying characters you want to see meet a nasty end but there’s usually somebody to identify with. PSYCHOTIC! has none which made it harder for me to get into the film. Others may enjoy seeing hipsters die enough that it doesn’t matter.
PSYCHOTIC! Is an enjoyable film that could, and should, have been better. Hopefully, Frey and Gibbons give us somebody to cheer for next time because that’s really all that held this film back.
After its successful festival run PSYCHOTIC! Will hit VOD and select theaters 1/26/2018.