Giallo, Bushwick Style – A Review of ‘Psychotic!’

A knife-wielding, black-gloved killer is stalking party-goers in the popular Brooklyn neighborhood Bushwick and no one is safe. Like a millennial Summer of Sam, an existential dread lingers over Tim (Derek Gibbons) and Stuart (Maxwell Frey), both of whom have their own shit to deal without having to worry about accidentally buzzing in a serial killer who might be ringing their bell.

Written and directed by Gibbons and Frey, Psychotic! is playful and often ridiculous exercise in horror. It’s earnest, but never serious, and proudly pays tribute to its influences. A weird but wonderful hybrid of giallo and schlock, the film coalesces thanks to a stoner sensibility potent enough to leave viewers with a contact high. It utilizes a vivid color palate captured by cinematographer Brian Stansfield which is a feast for the eyes. The visuals are paired with an impressive score by Brooklyn-based synth duo Blazing Galaxies. Like the film itself, the score calls back to its 70s/80s Italian giallo roots while being wholly original and effective.

It’s difficult to say any of the characters are likable, but they’re all certainly endearing. The cast offers offers up surreal, absurdist performances, like a funhouse mirror version of real Brooklynites. The performances perfectly compliment the style of the film and anchor the craziness.

Psychotic! celebrates horror, but never invokes it. This film is intended for amusement, not scares. The kill scenes are as absurd as the film’s overall tone. While you’ll certainly ask yourself “What the hell did I just watch?”, you definitely will not regret it.

Psychotic! is available now on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, and all other VOD platforms.