PSYCHOTIC! :A BROOKLYN SLASHER *** USA 2016 Dir: Maxwell Frey, Derek Gibbons. 87 mins

“Is that a letter opener?” Set to an insistent electronic score riffing heavily on Carpenter (alongside key genre composers like Jay Chattaway), the catalytic opening kill of the witty PSYCHOTIC! offers an extended subjective tracking shot modelled on HALLOWEEN’s prologue, with hidden cuts and nostalgic use of split-screen. The culprit, known as “The Party Killer”, flees the scene and we’re introduced to a bunch of self-pitying, insecure twentysomething men who spend their days getting high or struggling to hold together a pretentious band (“Mass Psychosis”).
Anyone of them could be the creepily-masked maniac racking up a substantial bodycount, to which everyone seems oblivious. Visually striking with its bold primary colours and clever framing, the movie cynically punctures the egocentric, pretentious, often pathetic hipsters of its Bushwick, Brooklyn backdrop – though in the process gives us no one to sympathise with. There are low-key jokes at the expense of slasher movie tropes (“I’m Henry, I live in the basement…”) but the film takes its murder-mystery seriously, with well-done gory set pieces – the best of which is a multi-angle, hyper-violent Hitchcock tribute in which the shower victim is a fully dressed guy in a shower cap pathetically clutching a loo brush. There’s also an extremely well cut riff on the unforgettable HALLOWEEN sequence in which Laurie’s cries for help are ignored by a dismissive suburbanite…and death-by-bong. Excellent score by Blazing Galaxies.

Review by Steven West

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