Review by Sean Boelman
PG: Psycho Goreman is a niche send-up of an already niche genre, but it’s going to earn a lot of love from those who revel in the ridiculousness of sci-fi/horror B-movies. Even though it might have been nice for there to be a bit more originality in the script, it’s a campy and genuinely fun genre picture that provides some wonderful escapism.
The film follows two young siblings who discover a gem that controls an evil monster and force him to do their bidding. It’s basically the demonic offspring of Hellraiser and The Goonies, but with an ample supply of nostalgia, an abundance of carnage, and a surprisingly genuine sense of heart.
Steven Kostanski’s script is at its best when it is letting its characters go wild. The portion of the movie in which the characters are getting into wacky antics with humorously grotesque aftermath is much more interesting than the final act that turns into more of a straightforward action/adventure flick.
This is definitely a comedy, but the sense of humor is a bit hard to nail down. The tone frequently shifts between being dark and demented and goofy and childish, but this is what makes the film feel so playful. There are quite a few great gags that work just based on how odd and creative that they are.
The portion of the movie that does not work very well is the character development. The emotional core of the film is centered around the relationship between the brother and sister, and this is mostly compelling. However, in trying to add in more family drama with their parents, the overall arcs feel underdeveloped.
Additionally, the arc of the eponymous monster is also rather by-the-book. Even though there are a few moments that push the envelope, it mostly plays it safe in a narrative sense. The monster’s redemption arc follows the standard beats, having him grow a heart thanks to the positive influence of the human protagonists.
Visually, the film is an excellent homage to the genre that clearly influenced it so heavily. There is a heavy emphasis on cheesy practical effects, and it pays off in terms of laughs. Perhaps the most impressive part of the movie’s execution is the creature design, which sets the foundation for some fantastic world-building.
PG: Psycho Goreman isn’t quite great enough to gain cult classic status, but it’s more than fun enough to make it worth watching for midnight movie fans. This type of film has a built-in audience, and they will be satisfied.
PG: Psycho Goreman hits theaters and VOD on January 22.