Psychotic! (2016) [Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2016]

psychoticThis film follows a group of friends attempting to enjoy the party scene in Bushwick (Brooklyn) when a party killer starts eliminating party goers here and there.  Not know who the killer is or when they will strike again.  The friends are navigating life, dating, expensive apartments, and their passions. Credits for the film are not yet on IMDB, so the festival’s site is the only source of information for now.  The film is directed and written by Maxwell Frey and Derek Gibbons who start the film off with a clear homage to stalker films of the early 80s with a scene that follows a person stalking a girl.

The scenes involved have the style and music genre of the films it homages and it sets a good tone for the rest of the film.  As the film evolves, it follows multiple characters as they try to have good nights and enjoy life.  The characters are written as human beings some may have met but they do come off a bit hipster-ish at times.  The film’s writing is interesting and the way the scenes are built and put together keeps the attention while also keeping the mystery of who the killer is.  So much so, that a few clues are given as to the identity of the party killer are hard to put together as they are not very clear. The film’s acting is decent but a bit uneven.

The cast is good but has a few moments where they feel a bit off. This cast includes, amongst others, Maxwell Frey, Derek Gibbons, Kristen Martin, Clint Keepin, and Danielle Grace. While some of the scenes feel a bit off, others are great.  The scene where the killer interacts with a surprise party guest as if it were normal for him to be hiding as he is shows great potential and gives the film a good start.  Throughout the film, the musical scenes add interest and a something to ground the characters into.  Their interests vary, but their passion for music is their common ground.  These musical scenes seem to be where the cast shines and shows what they can do the most.

The cinematography by Brian Stansfield and the lighting on the murder scenes show a keen eye for color usage and scene composition.  The film looks very good and these scenes are moody and definitely show a love for 80s stalker films.  The way they use Christmas lights for example is more than the simple bokeh effect that has been all over the place online, but it shows that they know how to use lighting and how to create a mood with minimal lights for maximum effects.

Psychotic! is a film that has some good scenes and some that meander a bit too much, it looks great through all of them however which gives the few issues it has a backseat while the viewer can enjoy a love for 80s horror films and their soundtrack.  The lighting patterns and synth wave music are almost characters onto themselves.

Brooklyn Horror Film Festival had its first edition from October 14th through October 16th, 2016.