Psychotic State

Psychotic-State--rev Psychotic State  (2014)    YoungProductions/Horror-Thriller    RT: 131 minutes    Unrated (graphic violence, gore, language, bullying, nudity, some sexual content)    Director: Derek Young    Screenplay: Derek Young and William Pattison    Music: Nurse Hatchet    Cinematography: Andrew Seymour and Derek Young    Release date: March 1, 2014 (US)    Cast: Derek Young, Adam Ginsberg, John Rutland, Denise Greenfield, John R. Price II, Myron Smith, Conrad Brooks, John Birmingham, Greg Russell Tiderington, Asuncion Ramos Jr., Alex O’Neal, Tristan Trani, Robert Held, Gabriel O’Neal, Amanda Konkin.

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 Pretty much anything would be an improvement over Derek Young’s previous work (Midnight Matinee Psycho, Family Property), the key term being “pretty much”. The filmmaker’s utter ineptitude is once again on full display in Psychotic State but this one benefits from some cool gory kill scenes. It’s the lone reason it rates a full star. If not for that, what we’d have is an incoherent revenge thriller about a lifelong bullying victim going on a killing spree. Not that his victims don’t deserve it. Most of them do. The problem (and it’s a biggie) is the sheer incompetence with which Psychotic State is made. Three movies in and Young still has no idea what he’s doing. Okay, that’s a bit too harsh. He knows what he’s doing; he just does it very poorly.

psychotic state All his life, David (Young) has been the target of bullies. He’s a constant source of embarrassment for his adoptive father (Rutland) whose abusiveness gets worse after the death of his terminally ill wife. He blames David because of all the money they spent on therapy for him. David finally snaps and kills his father. In one of those instances of good fortune that only happens in movies, he leaves everything to his son. As it turns out, he has $3 million stashed in a safety deposit box and owns a strip club. David continues killing his tormentors including a girl who rejected him in high school (she laughed in his face when he asked her out). Naturally, the local cops have no idea who’s killing all these people. David also finds time to begin a romance with some woman whose name I can’t recall. Not that it matters since this aspect of the story goes underdeveloped.

 As if a convoluted narrative isn’t enough, there’s no resolution at the end. Psychotic State just stops at the 104-minute mark. The remaining 20 minutes consist of various celebrities speaking out against bullying. The guest list includes PJ Soles, Linnea Quigley, David Naughton, Camille Keaton, Lloyd Kaufman and wrestler Jake the Snake who actually threatens bullies (“I’ll find you!”). Hey, I’m all for movies (or any form of entertainment) that deliver an anti-bullying message. As a victim of bullying in my childhood and early teens, I totally sympathize with David and cheer him on. I love the idea of bullies being slaughtered by an angry, unhinged victim. If only Psychotic State was a good movie.

 Filmed on video, Psychotic State has the look of a home movie. The cinematography is, at times, blurry and the colors are washed-out. The acting is just plain awful. The editing is sloppy. This movie is very badly made. Sometimes it’s just ridiculous. Why is there a guy dressed as a chicken at the field party? I have no idea and the movie never explains it. The gore effects are okay but that’s all Psychotic State has going for it. Still, it’s marginally better than Young’s other movies. It doesn’t make it watchable just less objectionable. That’s about as much praise I can muster. Watch at your own risk. 

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