What could have been a fun, exciting movie with fantastic creature design goes off the rails pretty quickly when about 20 minutes in you realize the movie actually has no moral center. Mimi, the little girl and protagonist of the movie is the most obnoxious, mean-spirited, over exaggerated twerp ever captured on film; and she gets WORSE as the movie goes along.
The fact that the character is so grossly written might not have been a big deal if the movie had given her character just a little bit of CHARACTER (as in a moral center). Instead we are faced with a child who essentially cannot even fathom the horror of turning her friend (another child she supposedly likes) into a gelatinous brain blob or is completely unfazed by the transformation of an innocent police officer (an easy target for today's movies) into a grotesque, melting zombie-like monstrosity. This child, who is the PROTAGONIST the audience is supposed to relate to is entirely dismissive of the agony of this poor guy. There is a literal non-reaction as her and her brother go right back into their game of "crazy ball." In the next scene she uses threats of actual murder against her own brother. This, to make it clear, makes Mimi actually EVIL, despite whatever lame-brain and scattershot humor the movie tries to erect around the retro-kitsch of the movie. If anything, the traits of Mimi are actually similar to a sociopath, which is ironic, considering the movie expects you to root for her in some way. Why? Why do the screenwriters/director think this? It was a complete turn-off.
This moral bankruptcy extends to her parents, especially her father, who at the end of the movie seem completely oblivious to the fact that they have consigned everyone else on Earth to probable death at the hands of Pyscho Goreman. At the beginning of the film the comedy seems to be set up to make the father a kind of shaggy, quirky fellow who slightly undermines traditional parenting. NO. That's not the case. Out of nowhere the plot shifts into making the Dad a lazy loser and the parents actually hate each other. The tonal shifts without reason are amazing! The only remotely human character is the brother, who suffers and is bullied through the entire movie.
If you're a horror fan and think I'm being too judgmental over essentially a minor gore movie, all I can say is that IT MATTERS. The only example I can give to illustrate how poorly this movie is conceived is to compare it to the beloved Toxic Avenger; a movie that is over the top and mean-spirited with its violence, using it against children, old women, innocent bystanders and even a seeing eye dog! Why is that movie successful and this one not? Because the Toxic Avenger remains TRUE to a classic formula: The Toxic Avenger is ALWAYS GOOD, and all the villains get what they deserve in the end. The Toxic Avenger, despite being filled with casual violence that also includes a notorious scene where the head-crushing hit-and-run of a child by a car is played for laughs, ultimately is a feel-good story about good triumphing over evil, a fable about government corruption and pollution, and a nerd transformed into a kickass superhero who gets the girl. What kind of arc does Psycho Goreman have? He's a murderous, terrible (yet sometimes funny) demonic monster who is STILL an unrepentant demonic monster at the end. Yet the movie never frames anything about these characters as satire.
But that is not where the real sin lies. The crime of the movie is this grotesque, loud, camera mugging, narcissistic child who is flippantly dismissive of all the carnage around her. A morally ugly child who doesn't care if her friend is ever transformed back to a human. A girl who doesn't listen to her own parents and repeatedly threatens to murder her own brother! What's worse is that it's apparent that the movie is not purposely written to make this girl some kind of morbid, dark anti-hero (think Wednesday Addams). In other words the character is not satirical at all. Her obnoxiousness is entirely sincere. They really didn't realize they had written a repugnant character that actually no decent person should relate to. They actually thought they wrote an endearing, "hip" tween.
Here's another movie example that puts Psycho Goreman to shame: Adam Chaplin. Despite all the over-the-top gory violence, the story never deviates from the core principal that Adam Chaplin's quest for revenge is JUST. Adam Chaplin too makes a deal with a monstrous demon in that movie. The difference is the conclusion of the film implicitly tells us that Adam Chaplin's deal with the demon for his revenge comes at a spiritual PRICE. His soul is forfeited at the end to the demon. In Psycho Goreman what should we make of the extended scene in which the girl loudly declares in front of an actual crucifix (which is much more personal than a cross because it's an actual representation of Jesus) that not only does she no longer take advice from God, but is through with him completely, and then proceeds to destroy the crucifix! Ask yourself, what was the purpose of this scene? Why was it included? What was a scene about a child rejecting god supposed to elicit from the audience? Big Laughs? Make us think she was a bad-ass? The movie is filled with suspect choices like this. What epiphanies does the family at the center of Psycho Goreman learn? Zilch. In Psycho Goreman almost everyone is evil or at least amoral other than the put-upon, sensitive son. Why isn't he the main character?
So in case people missed it: The character of Psycho Goreman starts evil and is evil at the end. The Templar Knight is evil. The table of alien representatives are corrupt. The family is obliviously stupid and dooms the entire world. The poor little boy turned into a monster stays a monster (oh, and his parents ignore him at the end). The movie takes no stance on the disposability of any of the peripheral murdered people. How can we relate to these characters? What exactly makes them funny?
Such a flippant, obnoxious movie with no true viewpoint. If you thought while watching this you liked the creatures, the gore and some of the little action bits and humor, but were wondering why you might feel empty at the end of it or couldn't place why the tone was so off-putting, this is why: The movie has no moral center. The little girl isn't some cool, smart, girl-power/girls-rock hero to emulate. She's actually a monster herself. An immoral, obnoxious cretin worthy of Psycho Goreman himself. If the movie had had the balls to have Psycho Goreman rip out her narcissistic little throat at the end of the movie (along with snuffing out her garbage parents), that would have made sense. At least that ending would have freed the brother from this disgusting albatross of a family. After all, the whole movie is built around the fact that this delinquent is controlling Psycho Goreman, yet is completely emotionally oblivious/unfazed by his violence. That cries out for it to have been turned on her. Not only would that have been justified and fitting, I'm sure the audience would have been immensely satisfied seeing this controlling, defiant, arrogant little sicko of a girl get what she had coming to her.
Sadly, this movie with its amoral tone is actually symptomatic of the times we are living in. The only cool, fun aspect of the movie is the Psycho Goreman character, who is funny and satirical - his bombastic declarations of evil always somehow getting interrupted or thwarted by the children. But that's where it ends. The rest of the movie isn't a purposeful critique of anything and barely fun. Many attempts at punchlines and humor land like lead balloons. Anything else successful (like the fantastic creature design) is undermined by the pure mean-spiritedness of the material. The filmmakers prove over and over they are actually CLUELESS. I've never been offended by a horror movie before. Not by a Serbian Film; not by Salo; not by Cannibal Holocaust. The fact that this movie has no perspective; no philosophical viewpoint and then shovels this bloodshed at the audience using CHILDREN made me incredibly sad. The fact that it comes disguised in the form of a power-rangers styled horror "comedy" made it all the more sour; and I wish audiences were smart enough to question what they are ACTUALLY LOOKING AT on the screen. All I can say again is that it matters.
Of course, most horror fans leaving 4 and 5 star reviews are either mentally 12 year olds or are just the type of horror fans who have massive horror dvd collections and go "COOL!" every time an ounce of blood is spilled (even though they've seen such things thousands of times before). These are the viewers who miss the entirety of why the movie is so bankrupt and atrocious in a REAL WAY, but are confused by Hereditary and think The Witch is slow. Someone should sic Psycho Goreman on them to melt their faces! Maybe they should go back to watching actual Power Rangers series. At least those had a moral universe to them.