Psychosis (DVD Review)

Being a long time fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, I was excited to see the new horror movie with Charisma Carpenter (who had played Cordelia Chase in those shows).  It seemed to take forever for the movie to arrive but when it did, I was sad to see that the DVD case was broken and the movie was sliding around in its case. I worried that the disc might have been scratched or broken.   The disc turned out to be ok but I should have taken the broken case as a premonition.  While the disc was in perfect condition, I did not enjoy the movie on that disc.


The box reads “THE NIGHTMARE IS JUST BEGINNING – After suffering a mental breakdown, Susan (Charisma Carpenter), a successful horror novelist, retreats to a picturesque and secluded countryside manor to recover. However, things take a terrifying turn when she begins having horrifying visions of a deranged psychopath and a massacre that took place years ago.”

That is a clear, concise description of what the filmmaker attempted to do, but in my mind – failed.  The movie leaves the viewer unclear on who exactly the killer is, why he killed anyone, and what Susan has to do with any of it.  Her mental breakdown is barely mentioned and not explained.  Psychosis left me with a long list of questions.

Another disappointment was that the special effects on the film were not well done.  I am very picky about my “gore” in horror movies, and this did not add anything to the film, in fact I felt it took away from it.  One specific throat slashing is especially poorly done – and doesn’t look at all realistic.

Fans of Charisma Carpenter may be excited to know that one of the reasons for the R rating on this film is because of nudity.  The full frontal nudity you will see however, is courtesy of a creepy weird dude she meets in the woods – not her.  She stays well clothed and/or covered for her sex scenes.

Psychosis is a very odd film.  It’s a British film with Charisma Carpenter who doesn’t seem to belong in it.  In the special features we learn that this is her costar’s first film, which is actually impressive since he does a good job in his role.  It’s too bad that only Charisma Carpenter got her name on the front of the DVD because she did not impress me in this at all.


The movie was not helped by the poor video quality.  One shot actually appears as though the lens was dirty.  This anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer has a grainy, washed out look with poor detail that  is extremely disappointing even for DVD. 


The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track of Psychosis did little to assist the film.  This might as well have been a stereo track for all the use the satellitle speakers received.  This is a front speaker heavy mix and didn’t offer the chills that horror surround tracks should provide.  The noises Susan heard in the middle of the night were not frightening, nor were the screams from her or the film’s victims.  Like the video quality, this was a complete letdown.

Special Features 

Watching special features for a film you didn’t like is an interesting process.  By this point, I was happy the movie was over and glad there weren’t many features to sit through.

  • The Making of Psychosis – This behind the scenes look at how they made the movie is only slightly interesting. Star Charisma Carpenter rambles on about the film, her flight, costar and the director which she is very impressed with.
  • Deleted Scenes – There are seven deleted scenes, none of which would have made me like the film anymore.
  • Audio Commentary – with Patrick Fischer, Reg Travis and Ricci Harnett – I really wanted to hear someone say sorry, the movie didn’t turn out like I expected but I gave it my best shot.  No such luck – everyone is very proud of the work they’ve done.  Maybe I just don’t get it.

Final Thoughts  

I am a seriously cheap person.  I rate most movies based on money. A really awesome movie should be seen in the movie theater at full price.  A lesser film can also be seen at a theater, but only at matinee prices.  Some movies can be bought at Best Buy (on sale of course) and others have to wait for Netflix.  Psychosis was given to me for free, and I still feel like I did not get my money’s worth.  I had high hopes for the movie but it just didn’t work out this time.

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