It’s not often that you find a movie that is completely batshit crazy, all the way extra, yet entirely wholesome all in one package. Yet, this is what we have in PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN. Coated with ounces of blood, campy humor, and adolescent sassafras, audiences will be taken through a wackadoo journey that will have their heads spinning. While not quite the type of family film one would put on family night, there is enough family-fun goodness to add this to the list once all members are grown and prepared to have their eyeballs explode. By film’s end, you’ll find yourself unexpectedly wanting the best for everyone, even if it means pure, utter destruction is the end result.
Siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) accidentally awaken an ancient alien overlord with no name from a millennia-long prison sentence. Why was this overlord imprisoned you ask? Well, he attempted to destroy the universe after working under an oppressive system that exploited his labor. While the creature has no chill, Mimi is undaunted, especially when it’s discovered that she is in possession of a magical amulet that enables her to force the creature to obey every single command she makes. Every. Single. Command. If you know children well, you know this is an absolutely awful idea.
They decide to give the evil creature the name Psycho Goreman (Matthew Ninaber), which they shorten to PG to keep things easier. PG’s re-appearance, though, triggers attention across the galaxy. There are those who want to destroy him, remembering the destruction he caused eons ago. And there are others who wish to help him, for a price that is. As the galaxy’s creatures start to zero in on this small Earth town, the fate of the galaxy may be up to Mimi and Luke. But first, we get a heavy dose of sitcom-style shenanigans, which sow the seeds of heartwarming payoff that we experience at the film’s end.
Where should anyone really begin when discussing this film? First off, PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN is a practical effects wet-dream. From slowly crawling brain-boys to a suicidal melty zombie police officer to every alien character having their own specific costume that almost reminds of classic Power Rangers episodes mixed with Doctor Who flair, there is so much craft-based love in this film that it made this reviewer positively giddy to see what we’d see next. Knowing the amount of work that went into the effects onscreen, it’s an extraordinarily ambitious undertaking in this day and age. But, in all honesty, it is so worth it to see it come to life onscreen. Forever pro-practical all the way!
With the practical effects aiming to seduce our hearts, we have to keep in mind that this is not all that writer-director Steven Kostanski is bringing to the table for us to consume in PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN. The writing and the delivery of performances from the actors really help to sell the chaos that is taking place onscreen. Matthew Ninaber’s PG’s sinister, almost deadpan delivery contrasts nicely against Nita-Josee Hanna’s manic over-the-top energy she delivers for Mimi. While this reviewer would have loved more levels in Hanna’s performance, the direction and delivery of her character performance still worked well for the over-the-top nature of the film. Adam Brooks is also a notable standout, with his comedic timing and everyman performance providing a much-needed contrast to the adventures of the children onscreen.
The script itself is hilarious and heartwarming, with lines about hunky boys coming out of PG’s mouth that would seem out of place in any other film. Yet, this is a heartwarming, tongue-in-cheek type of film that lends itself to these subtleties, where each character undergoes their own spiritual journey. Just, with wallops of blood, gore, and viscera. These little moments are subtly interwoven in, which maximizes their impact upon arrival due to the black comedy that Kostanski leans into. And, if that isn’t enough for you, the various homages paid to family-style shows in the script really help remind the viewer of the lengths this film will go to remind of what PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN is really about – love and finding your own family. Even if that family consists of a psychotic girl, a mom-turned-administrator of misguided justice, or – even – a bloodthirsty alien warlord.
Overall, PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN is a film that would make an epic Midnighter event at any film festival. It would have been a crowd-pleaser pre-COVID and it certainly will after. This reviewer would argue that it’s the alien warlord version of the little girl paired with bodyguard/former military turned babysitter trope. It’s heartwarming, bloody, incredibly fucked up, and extra as all get out. And, while at times the performances can be more one-note than not, the film just really works. It’s a family film gone wrong, which seems perfectly fitting for the age we’re in now.
PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN will be released in theaters, On-Demand, and Digital on January 22, 2021.