I’d never heard of Psychosis either, not before it fell through my letterbox, but I’m always willing to try on a new horror outfit. It’s rare that they fit of course, but as any shelf stacker at Blockbuster Video will testify, there are plenty more costumes in the closet. After pressing play, with very little hope for the next ninety minutes, I was pleasantly surprised by the words ‘Starring Charisma Carpenter’ flashing up on screen. Being a long time Buffy devotee, I have often wondered what happened to my one time favourite Sunnydale resident. She was next seen starring alongside Sly, Arnie, Jason and Bruce in The Expendables, but we'll let that go for now. With Psychosis, she appears alongside Paul Sculfor and Ricci Harnett. Not the greatest of endorsements it has to be said, the warning signs are there for all to see.
Quite what Charisma Carpenter is doing in a movie of this magnitude remains a mystery; things could’ve been so very different for the ex Sunnydale cheerleader had Joss fulfilled his ambition to dress her up in all things Wonder Woman. That didn’t work out of course, but in a way I’m glad, because Charisma Carpenter was the only thing that held my interest over the following ninety minutes. In 1992 a group of young Anarchists braved the snow-covered wilderness to set up camp against the construction of a motorway by-pass. A terrible fate awaited them. 15 years later, Susan (Charisma Carpenter), a successful horror novelist and sensitive soul, relocates from her native California to the rural English countryside in search of peace. Things aren’t quite what they seem however, and Susan is about to discover that sometimes crazy is the safest place to hide.
She’s a little bit unhinged bless her, and once she arrives in the countryside with her dull as dishwater husband, David (Paul Sculfor), director Reg Traviss pulls out every horror cliché known to man in order to keep the viewer interested. There are a couple of neat twists it has to be said, the final moments of the movie are genuinely satisfying, but the rest of the production is hampered by lifeless direction, weak turns and a complete lack of chills, thrills and suspense. Low production values don’t have to get in the way of a good movie, but when the director is lacking in creativity, a lack of funds can translate to restlessness and boredom. Reg Traviss doesn’t seem capable of anything other than amateur filmmaking, his soulless direction is sluggish and any attempts at scares are unrecognisable.
Sarah is never quite sure of what is real and what is imaginary, which begs the question, why didn't she watch a few horror movies beforehand and check them off like the rest of us? My own particular favourite was the ‘child’ playing ball in the front garden. Don’t get me wrong, children can be scary, but this particular child looked like he was twenty five. He even had facial hair for Christ’s sake. A special mention goes to Ricci Harnett, for exposing himself in front of everybody's favourite ex-cheerleader. I doubt very much the sight of his penis disturbed her, I’m guessing in truth that this was merely the point where realisation took hold. Perhaps Joss has another short lived TV show on the horizon, even that would be better than screaming your lungs out in the dreary - that should read picturesque - English countryside. The worst crime of all, she doesn’t even get naked, not even a little bit. What kind of a low rent horror production is this?
Psychosis isn’t without merit(s). The twist in the tale is actually quite effective, but you have to sit through ninety minutes of nothingness in order to get there. And lets be truthful here, it’s not like we haven’t seen this kind of twist a thousand times before. Fans of Cordelia Chase might want to check it out, because let's face it, it’s always nice to see Charisma Carpenter in your lounge. Psychosis is shocking and scary from a certain point of view, and scraping the barrel is perhaps a good line to finish on, had I not incorporated it midway through a sentence. Damn it. AW