★★★★ out of ★★★★★
This super-fun, highly absurd horror comedy twists a family adventure movie with a gory tokusatsu vibe and delivers the mind-blowing goods.
Directed by Steven Kostanski
Have you been anxiously awaiting a mash-up of a kids’ tokusatsu series or film and a satire of the close-knit families in family adventure films, combined with ramped-up cartoonish gore — think Mighty Morphin Power Rangers meets E.T. by way of Tokyo Gore Police? If so, writer/director Steven Kostanski delivers just what you have been waiting for and a lot more with his latest feature, PG: Psycho Goreman (AKA Psycho Goreman).
Kostanski nails all of those aforementioned aspects, which makes PG: Psycho Goreman work perfectly. The nostalgic buzz of preteen kids buddying up with a creature from another realm, the deconstruction of the joyful family unit so often seen in those and other genre films, and grue-filled violence are played both seriously and for laughs depending on what each scene requires, which certainly is no easy feat.
Bratty — to put it quite mildly — Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and her mild-mannered older brother Luke (Owen Myre) are elementary school students playing their self-invented game of Crazy Ball when they unearth a glowing gem that just happens to be the only thing that can control the titular bringer of evil and destruction (Matthew Ninaber, with Steven Vlahos giving a terrific voice performance), who was long dormant until the siblings accidentally freed him. Bent on destroying all life in the universe, he finds himself at the mercy of Mimi’s whims, all the while making threats about destroying them and everyone around them. Meanwhile, Templar Paladin Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch in costume with Anna Tierney providing the voice acting, and Roxine Latoya Plummer in human form), part of a group named The Galactic Templars, sets out to vanquish Psycho Goreman for good.
Kostanski, who has previously helmed four features including The Void (2016) along with several short films and is a renowned special effects makeup artist, directs PG: Psycho Goreman with verve and chutzpah. It pushes boundaries and is certain to press some viewers’ buttons with its occasional blasphemy and copious bloodletting. Speaking of the latter, all of the special effects and makeup crew deserve heaps of praise for their incredible work on the gore effects along with incredible creature designs, most of which is practical. A variety of amazing alien designs are on display, and creature feature lovers will have a blast with them.
The cast members all give solid performances, with Hanna having the difficult task of portraying a completely unlikeable spoiled and snotty little girl who gives Psycho Goreman a run for his money in nastiness, just without the level of violence. She does well without taking things over the top — in other words, she does a highly realistic job. Myre inhabits his calmer character splendidly, and Adam Brooks as the children’s checked-out father and Alexis Kara Hancey as their at-the-end-of-her-rope mother also fine in their roles, with their characters having some uncomfortable interactions with each other. Ninaber and Vlahos tag team to make Psycho Goreman both a fun serious villain and a seriously fun villain, and MacCulloch, Tierney, and Plummer team up to make Pandora a worthy adversary with flaws in her own galactical philosophy.
PG: Psycho Goreman is a unique, outlandish horror comedy that is highly entertaining throughout its running time. It’s an early front runner for my list of favorite horror films of 2021.
PG: Psycho Goreman, from RLJE Films, is available in theaters, On Demand, and Digital from January 22, 2021.