Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Charisma Carpenter, Ricci Harnett, Ty Glaser, Paul Sculfor
Directed by Reg Traviss
Distributed by E One Entertainment
Okay, so stop me if you’ve heard this one – a writer struggling to finish a new book heads off to a location in the middle of nowhere to get some work done only to find out that it’s haunted. Talk about a familiar plot-line, huh? Yep, we’ve seen it dozens and dozens and dozens of time by now, and honestly? After just reading the synopsis on the back of the box, I was ready to write off Psychosis (formerly known as Vivid), but it’s a good thing I didn’t.
“Buffy” alumna Charisma Carpenter plays Susan Golden, an author with a troubled past looking to complete her latest book. As a means to do so, she and her husband, David (Sculfor), take up residence in the English countryside, just outside of London, in a sprawling secluded structure that should be able to help her get into the frame of mind that she needs to be in order to get her work done. Things start off peaceful enough, but it isn’t long before Susan begins seeing other people in her home. People who end up being part of a fine body count. Are they ghosts? Is she reliving some type of bloody horror which took place at her home? Or is it all in her head?
While the subject matter is insanely familiar, what sets Psychosis above the usual pack of haunted author fare is its execution. Director Reg Traviss had lots of things he wanted to do with this flick and in the end pulled just about every one of them off while avoiding the usual pitfalls and clichés. Psychosis has a very British feel to it that echoes some of the vintage horror we were seeing come out of Hammer Studios in the Seventies. This at time works against the movie because its pacing is extremely slow and deliberate, and that may turn off or bore a lot of folks out there. We do recommend that you stick with it, though, as by the time the payoff comes, it does so in spades. In fact, it’s not until the last couple of minutes of the film that things become clear and full circle. That’s no easy feat nowadays.
Interestingly enough, this flick is basically a feature length remake of the segment “Dreamhouse” that appeared in the little seen 1983 horror anthology Screamtime. Michael Armstrong, who handles the writing duties here, also wrote and directed that film. Talk about coming full circle.
In terms of supplemental material, the DVD is home to your standard stuff such as an audio commentary that’s a bit on the dry side, a handful of deleted scenes, and a fairly interesting half-hour long making-of featurette. Nothing groundbreaking for sure, but at least it feels like a solid package.
Psychosis is definitely worthy of a watch, and in the end it’s only its pacing issues that keep it from rising about the good level into greatness. If you’re in the mood for a headsy little haunter with a delicious mean streak running through it, look no further. It takes a while to get going, but the ride is definitely worth it.
3 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
Discuss Psychosis in our comments section below!