The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN

psycho goreman review
A sociopathic tween unearths a murderous alien in her backyard.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Steven Kostanski

Starring: Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Adam Brooks, Alexis Hancey, Matthew Ninaber

psycho goreman poster

Writer/director Steven Kostanski's PG: Psycho Goreman boasts the sort of high concept premise that would have made it a word of mouth sleeper hit in the video store era. It's essentially a reworking of ET and its many knockoffs, with a child discovering, befriending and ultimately protecting an alien they find in their backyard. The twist here is that both the child and the alien in question are unremitting sociopaths.

Spoilt brat Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) does her best to make life miserable for her long-suffering family, particularly her slightly older brother Luke (Owen Myre). When we meet the siblings first they're engaged in a bout of "Crazy Ball", a dodgeball riff custom made by Mimi with fluid rules that allow her to constantly beat her brother. The punishment for losing this game is that Luke has to be buried alive. While digging his own grave, Luke comes across a glowing crystal doohickey, which Mimi immediately snatches. Unbeknownst to the mites, they've disturbed the resting place of a genocidal, inter-dimensional monster who awakens and immediately begins killing the townsfolk as he searches for the doohickey.

psycho goreman review

Turns out that whoever is in possession of said doohickey has the power to command the monster to indulge their every whim. Mimi is delighted with this information, and after naming him "Psycho Goreman", or "PG" for short, Mimi adopts the alien as her right hand man while he plots to retrieve the doohickey and inflict violent revenge on Mimi and Luke before destroying the rest of the planet for shits and giggles.

With its foul-mouthed tween anti-heroine, PG: Psycho Goreman heavily evokes '80s movies like The Monster Squad and The Goonies, products of an era before helicopter parenting when filmmakers knew kids really wanted to watch movies filled with as much violence and swearing as possible. I'm not sure if Canada uses the same ratings system as the UK and Ireland, but the "PG" of the film's title certainly seems like a nod to the sort of kids movies that pushed the boundaries of what you could get away with while courting a young audience.

psycho goreman review

On paper, PG: Psycho Goreman threatens to be another horror-comedy that's overly reliant on appealing to the nostalgic instincts of the VHS generation. With its synth score and practical FX, it will certainly appeal to such a market, but there's more to PG: Psycho Goreman than simply plucking 'member berries from the pop culture vine. With its sophomoric but sharp humour and over the top gore, it recalls the early works of Troma, back before that studio became a parody of itself. It's particularly reminiscent of The Toxic Avenger in how it embraces a degree of silliness that will likely divide audiences.

What's most interesting and original about PG: Psycho Goreman is how it acknowledges how obnoxious and unlikeable many of the kid heroes of '80s movies really were. Mimi is as much of a monster as her eight foot tall alien buddy, though Hanna is so charismatic in the role that we can't help rooting for her. Kostanski's film is also a refreshing critique of the trope of the deadbeat dad who lets their beloved brat away with everything. Mimi's old man (Adam Brooks) is the sort of Dad who was often viewed in a sympathetic light in '80s movies, but here he's honestly played as a wastrel who leaves the heavy lifting of parenting to his wife (Alexis Hancey) so he can be seen as the good guy to his kids.

psycho goreman review

Voiced by Steven Vlahos as a nightmarish hybrid of Pinhead and Darth Vader, Psycho Goreman has a winning repartee with Mimi, his flowery threats constantly greeted with a snarky "Whatever" response from his diminutive mistress. It's this goofy chemistry that keeps the movie ticking in its back half when it threatens to run out of narrative steam.

PG: Psycho Goreman never quite fully exploits its premise, but it resolutely refuses to take itself seriously and avoids getting unnecessarily bogged down in its plot. It's a shame it emerged amid COVID-19 restrictions, as I can't think of too many recent movies more befitting a rowdy horror festival audience.

PG: Psycho Goreman is on Shudder UK/ROI from May 20th.

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