You don’t necessarily need to know that Bushwick is the neighborhood where hipsters are kept within Brooklyn, but it helps. In the latest borough slasher PSYCHOTIC! you watch the bodies pile up as quickly as trends change.
Loosely organized around a masked killer roaming around Brooklyn, PSYCHOTIC! features plenty of trendy 20 somethings getting stabbed and maimed. In between these killings these kooky youngins have plenty of interpersonal drama with cheating girlfriends, midtown assholes, and (worst of all) fighting band members.
I can imagine that seeing PSYCHOTIC! at a festival as a midnight screening could be fun, but without that cinematic atmosphere the film falls flat. With the exception of the honestly charismatic Roxy Miller, the performances are forced and wooden. The kills themselves are fun enough it you can look past the poor practical effects, though they do not make up for the meandering plot and complete lack of sympathetic characters. I could not tell if we were supposed to be rooting for the killer or not, as the depictions of the characters in the film seemed equally divided between truly despicable assholes and somewhat talented musicians and artists. When each of their deaths predictably crept up, I was left unsure if I should be wincing or cheering.
Even with all of these issues, I will say that the first scene in the film is quite interesting. Though the POV killer shot opening a film is old enough to predate slashers (hello HALLOWEEN), this one is competently executed and had me thinking we were leading into a much better film.
I hate to write negative film reviews for small films that are clearly made with passion and scraped together on a shoestring budget, but I also hate to watch indie films that are clearly lacking vision and give my beloved horror genre a bad name. I would love to throw some support behind PSYCHOTIC!, but given its uneven quality I cannot recommend it.