MotelX 2020 Review: An Adorable Hellion Hilariously Faces Off With Intergalactic Evil in PSYCHO GOREMAN
Sister and brother Mimi and Luke have unwittingly resurrected Psycho Goreman, PG for short, an ancient creature lying dormant in their backyard. Hellbent on continuing his quest of destroying everything in existence he is held back by one little thing. One palm sized gem that sealed his Earthen tomb which is now in Mimi’s possession. As long as she has it PG is forced to obey their every command. The queen of her own universe, Mimi plans to use this power to fulfill her wildest dreams. Meanwhile, the forces that imprisoned PG are alerted to his release from his imprisonment and intend to put him back. Get ready for adventure full of cosmic action, absurdist comedy, and gorey comic-book violence.
How do you best describe Psycho Goreman? It is what you get when you have banished Skeletor from Eternia, pit him against a galaxy of creatures influenced by the Japanese tokusatsu genre, then slap it around with a bounty of comedic gore and deliver it all with underhanded and absurd comedy. Oh. Then you plop in a plucky young girl who bends to no one and literally has the fate of the world if not the entire universe in her hand. You have Psycho Goreman (PG), the latest cinematic offering to the gods of indie genre madness from Canadian filmmaker Steven Kostanski. And let us tell you, the gods will be appeased. More importantly you will be.
We know you want us to get right to the meat of the film which you’d think would be the crazy violence, gore and special effects. But let us tell you, they’re not what make PG so special. What makes PG so good is the kids. What a discovery Nita-Josee Hanna is! As the kid sister Mimi she channels this energy that is like some kind of coked up Mousekateer. She’s young, brash, full of piss and vinegar, presumably a nightmare for local babysitters. The universe, as she knows it, revolves around her, and everyone is there to do her bidding. She’s probably not all that different from PG himself. If she were to ever turn dark? Darker? Oh baby.
Owen Myre as her older brother Luke is quite the opposite. He is the Yang to her Yin. He’s placid and agreeable and counters her manic energy with fawning obedience. Luke is nowhere near as headstrong as his little sister is. PG work works because both kids take on their roles with complete dedication and confidence. So much of the success of PG is in part to their commitment to their roles. They are backed by a hilarious Adam Brooks as their father, Greg. Alexis Hancey counters Brooks with the straight mom routine as Susan but has her definitive moment during the climax. But really, this is all about the kids. Further to that it’s about Mimi. Or else she’ll make you pay.
Konstanski is back to his first love (we guess?) working with practical effects. Here he employs all manner of them, miniatures, stop motion, puppetry, putting them all together and creating composite effects shots reminiscent of the early days of computer effects. Then there is the copious amounts of gore, including another hilarious nod to a previous short BioCop, all delivered with an absurdist sense of humor.
Kostanski has also lovingly created a cadre of amazing creatures and characters from the expansive universe outside of the one the siblings know. There is so much thought and consideration into each one and done with such attention to detail, you can instantly picture the type of world from which they’ve come from.
It seems weird that we want to call this Vintage Kostanski for the younger filmmaker (younger than us so it bloody well counts, okay?) but this has been the Kostanski brand, his style of indie genre filmmaking, for so long. Here the effects wizard has gone back to his roots, to what landed him on our radars from his early days in the Astron-6 collective.
If you like anything that Kostanski has done before Psycho Goreman you will not be disappointed. If this is your first time seeing the young master at work, welcome, and you have a lot of catching up to do. Psycho Goreman is the complete package. Ripe with huge laughs, it bolsters massive creativity that would make the studio system blush and comes with enough gore to flood an abattoir. This is the kind of genre cinema that we dream of.