Stars: Angelica Chitwood, Deniele Ramos Cloutier, Melissa Elena Jones, Aubrey Wakeling, Vince Peagler III, Gwendoline Piere-Lahaille, Cliff Everett Smith, Monte James, Patrick Mark Turner, Wyatt McClure | Written and Directed by Sandy Chukhadarian
When recently fired kindergarten assistant Norma (Melissa Elena Jones), off-kilter medical student JJ (Deniele Ramos Cloutier) and drunken escort Sasha (Angelica Chitwood) all anonymously receive gruesome homemade torture videos of themselves from 10 years earlier, the trio reunite and with old scars reopened, decide to search for the house they were held captive in and take their ultimate revenge on the people or person who tortured them. With the technological help of Michael (Vince Peagler III) – Sasha’s boyfriend – they find the house they believe they were held in all those years back. Will it be the right house? Will they ever find the parties involved in trauma? Either way, it could be a bloodbath.
Argh! I hate having to be vague with my synopsis, but it’s one of those examples were knowing too much completely destroys the experience for first time viewers. That being said, Psychos wasn’t terribly good, but I stick to my policies when I can! What we have here isn’t a truly awful film, but it was something of a chore to sit through. To me, it felt like an overly ambitious student film. There are plenty of times were there is jittery camerawork, scenes tend to drag or cut off too early and there are plenty of times were a scene was either unnecessary or could have benefited from one more take. The story itself is solid, it’s a great concept. Unfortunately however, it’s not brilliantly executed.
The worst aspect are the characters, especially our three main protagonists. You’d think after all of the shit they went through when they were younger that you would really root for them. If they weren’t cliché caricatures and didn’t constantly bicker with each other, I’d be more supportive. The group come off as annoying as opposed to being victims. It really takes you out of what should have been a powerful tale of revenge. You just don’t care for them at all. Not even out of morbid curiosity or from that “Who is the real monster in this tale?” standpoint.
I think that Psychos really had promise. It had a great idea that could have worked. With a little bit more care and time, this could have been a genuinely disturbing piece of psychological horror in the vein of Ms.45 or I Spit on Your Grave, albeit replacing the rape revenge narrative. I do give the film credit for the final 20 minutes or so. When things do get revealed fully, it is quite memorable, but a classic case of a little too late. As with most genre films, this film will eventually find its audience. For me however, it will be interesting to see how Sandy Chukhadarian evolves as a filmmaker… As for his debut feature length production? I have seen much, much worse.
Give Psychos a go and see for yourself.