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PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN (2021) Review

Neil reviews new Shudder release PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN calling it “nothing short of frigging brilliant.” Stream the film from May 20, 2021.

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PG: Psycho Goreman (Shudder)

Written and directed by Steven Kostanski (The Void, The Divide, Father’s Day), PG: Psycho Goreman stars Nita-Josee Hanna (Books of Blood, 4teen), Owen Myre (NOS4A2, Alternate Ground), Adam Brooks (The Return, Father’s Day), Alexis Hancey (Silver Tongue), and Matthew Ninaber (Transference).

PG: Psycho Goreman arrives on Shudder on 20 May 2021.

Synopsis

Siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord who was entombed on Earth millions of years ago after a failed attempt to destroy the universe. They nickname the evil creature Psycho Goreman (or PG for short) and use the magical amulet they discovered to force him to obey their childish whims.

It isn’t long before PG’s reappearance draws the attention of intergalactic friends and foes from across the cosmos and a rogues’ gallery of alien combatants converges in small-town suburbia to battle for the fate of the galaxy.

Review

Cast your mind back to midnight movies of the 80’s and 90’s, to an era of no-budget, practical effects and grind-house gore unparalleled by big-screen, big budget features. PG: Psycho Goreman owes a lot of its hugely successful makeup to films like The Toxic Avenger. Creature features which might look cheap but embrace that campiness to create unmistakably enthralling cult viewing.

Whilst we’re on the topic of the 90’s it’s probably worth conjuring up images of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and its child-friendly approach to monsters. Once you’ve got those rubbery looking creatures in your minds eye it’s time to move on…

PG: Psycho Goreman is probably the single most enjoyable comedy-horror experience I’ve had in the last decade. Its utterly absurd approach to storytelling, consistently upping the ante and becoming more and more outlandish, is captivating from start to finish. Writer/director Steven Kostanski displays an outstanding ability to balance all the elements in the story without the film becoming too caricature. Though there are spoof aspects here it’s not so dysfunctional that it ever detracts from the viewing experience.

The titular PG is some kind of ancient alien overlord who was entombed on Earth after a failed attempt to wipe out the universe in the proceeding years. Remember when I said Power Rangers, think Rita Repulsa with the looks of Lord Zedd. He’s played brilliantly, in full prosthetics, by Matthew Ninaber who is equal parts fish-out-of-water and demonic evil. His power set is setup to allow him to break bones, eviscerate or macerate depending on what the script requires. But whilst his spiky purple body is imposing on screen, his personality adds an incredibly playful level of comedy to the story.

PG is accidentally dug up and unleashed on humanity by brother-sister duo Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre). Mimi is dominating and nothing short of it. She dominates the passive Luke and thanks to the jam she digs up with PG is even able to control the monster and bend him to her will. Nita-Josee is beyond fully committed to her role, she borders on downright annoying but it cannot be argued that she doesn’t bring 100% energy to Mimi. Even when you’re hoping PG will melt her just like he does others.

Kostanski shows a similar commitment in the backstory of PG and the various other brilliantly realised creatures in the film. PG hails from the planet Gigax which sounds like something ripped right from an episode of Power Rangers. The Gigaxian people were wiped out by The Templars, a group of alien evil-doers which include the villainous Pandora (Kristen MacCulloch). Upon discovering that he has been awoken, a group known as The Planetary Alliance sends Pandora to recapture PG and the gem he was buried with.

Each of the alien characters features some brilliant design work from the huge production team and special effects makeup artists. Pandora, in particular, has a rather spectacular costume which feels inspired by classic anime films. Her methods are ruthless but, like PG, her lack of understanding of humanity adds to the overall comedic tone of the film.

The lengths and the complexity that Kostanski has gone to in realising the world translates seamlessly to the screen. Rather than PG: Psycho Goreman feeling like a film which is searching for a path it is instead deftly confident in its storytelling journey.

Dramatic moments are underpinned by hilarious montage moments. One incredibly self-aware moment see’s the goofy PG trying on an array of hipster clothes in a thrift shop followed a kid shouting “Hey, asshole! Nice Halloween costume!” Moments left PG explodes the kid in the street as everyone laughs and loves the PG life. Poor Luke, picked on for his passive nature, is also the butt of PG’s humour as the self-titled Archduke of Nightmares fails to ever remember his name.

In its third act PG: Psycho Goreman does begin to waver on its narrative landing. The core cast all become embroiled in a game of Mimi and Luke’s invention, “Crazy Ball.” It circles the film back to the beginning well but also loses some of the momentum around The Planetary Alliance attack on Earth. Despite this there’s absolutely nothing off-putting about the final product. In fact, its incredibly charming to see just how well Kostanski is able to build a fully realised world based on such schlocky, low-budget effects.

Verdict

PG: Psycho Goreman is nothing short of frigging brilliant. Power Rangers meets midnight-creature-feature in a truly NSFW comedy-horror which deserves the biggest audience possible.


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