Posted July 14, 2010 by Alex Moss Editor in DVD/Blu-ray
 
 

Psychosis DVD


A
buy the numbers horror thriller that wants to be The Shinning but feels more
like a badly lit room in a student dorm.

Ask
yourself what you want from a horror film? Scares? Tension? Blood spewing gore?
Intelligent subtext? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then stay clear
of Psychosis. If on the other hand you look for woeful acting, nonsensical
dialogue accompanied by a plot that is as clear as mud then Psychosis will be
right up your street.

Susan
(Carpenter) and her husband David (Sculfor) move into their newly purchased
country house for her to finish her latest crime novel. However, a few years
prior a group of environmentalists were killed by a deranged man and Susan
begins to see visions of the victims. While David goes on a business trip to
London, Susan is left with the gamekeeper Peck (Harnett) who has his own agenda with regards to the writer.

The
producers of Psychosis would have us believe that this film is a hark back to
‘cult British horror films of the 1970s’ but quite what films they are referring
to creates more mystery than the film itself. The look and tone seems to be
aiming for a Straw Dogs (1971) or perhaps something akin to a Hammer Horror but
the execution has more in common with cheap pornography.

The
opening scene of the Greenpeace-like group, complete with piercings and bongos,
being slaughtered ticks almost every horror cliché that Wes Craven’s Scream (1996)
taught a generation to avoid. While it manages to get a good quota of killings
in early on you soon release that this was to up the ante before reducing the
audience to tears of boredom. Having set the tone of mass murder, the script
then attempts to slowly build the tension. We learn that Susan had a
mental breakdown and although this might shed some light on the sinister hoody
outside her house, a character that is never clearly explained, implying that while
watching this film, you too are suffering from a mild form of Psychosis. Or
perhaps that is merely wish fulfillment.

Writer
director Reg Traviss, whose previous film was the moderately enjoyable Joy
Division
, tries to create suspense in Psychosis by slowly tracking
into his
lead characters while they converse about nothing in particular. It
fails and
instead achieves a sense of confusion. He then tries to inject unease
when Peck
flashes, in full frontal view of the camera, just to really up the
controversy. Susan is less uneasy, as it is mildly funny. That she
invites Peck into her
house for dinner, shortly after, goes some way to supporting this
argument. Fear
not though, he does not offer to fix any of her appliances, although
this might
have made for more intriguing viewing.

As
David, Sculfor delivers the kind of performance you would not even expect on a
badly made soap. There is no inflection in his voice, no emotion in his actions
and feels as lifeless as a bad breast implant. That he has perfected his ‘evil’
pout is about the only redeeming attribute he brings to the film. Seeing
Charisma Carpenter fall so far from grace after starring in TV hits Angel and
Buffy is the most tragic thing on offer in Psychosis.
While never known for her
acting chops she at least had a certain amount of screen presence back in the
late 90s. As Susan she has a sense of ironic scream queen but never has the
lungs to convince. Instead she mopes about wrapped in a piece of clothing that
is either far too big or is designed to cover up her now swelling figure.

To
put Psychosis into perspective there is one thing that scares more than
anything else and that is Justin Hawkins. Yes, the former frontman to the hit
band The Darkness turns up as a glam-rock (no type-casting here) spectre who
spends his time washing windows. It is a pity that he cannot wash this from our
now broken memory.

A
film so dire that almost every plot device only serves the purpose of fulfilling
the director’s warped fetishes, Psychosis is in desperate need of therapy. Sit
down and talk to someone before you seek it out.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com