Charisma Carpenter in Psychosis

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For some reason, I had pretty high hopes for this little movie. I’m not sure where, but I seem to remember having read good reviews of “Psychosis”. This is a low-budget ($1.2 million) British horror thriller, directed by a guy called Reg Traviss, who also co-wrote the screenplay, but it stars American Charisma Carpenter, who was Cordelia on TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Carpenter plays Susan Golden, a crime novelist from California, who’s married to a British bloke; David (Paul Sculfor). The two of them move into an old house, apparently in the middle of a forest somewhere in England But the movie doesn’t open with this. Nope, first we get a prologue in which a gang of left-wing activist are camping in the very same woods. They smoke dope and have sex, when an psycho suddenly attacks and kills them all in violent ways. Blood spatters and it looks like an old slasher flick from the 1980s. Weird. I thought this was going to be a low-key psychological thriller. Then it’s apparently fifteen years later, and Susan and David are introduced. We learn that Susan several years ago had a mental breakdown, and her then husband to be helped her getting her back onto her feet. But it doesn’t take long before Susan starts seeing weird things in- and nearby the house. There’s a young boy playing with a ball in the garden, but when Susan runs out to ask who he is, he’s gone. This happens a couple of times. One day when Susan is taking an afternoon walk, she sees a weird man with a silly beard having sex with a moaning woman in the woods. This frightens Susan who leaves, but on her way back, the creepy bearded man pops up, opens his coat and flashes his, ahem, Male Organ to Susan. Yes, we get a few seconds of Male Full Frontal here. Wiener time. Penis from heaven. Later David hires a gardener to take care of, well, the garden of course, and surprise, surprise, the new gardener turns out to be the creepy bearded man! Susan believes she about to go crazy again and gets in touch with a local priest. She wants to know if something horrifying once happened in her new home, and what her scary visions mean… I had totally forgotten how pretty Charisma Carpenter, 40, is. Yes, she had a very small part in “The Expendables”, but besides that, I haven’t seen her since “Buffy” aired the first time around. She’s quite a charming actress, but not very convincing as a crime fiction novelist. She rather gives the impression of working as a PR consultant or something like that. But besides Miss Carpenter, most of the actors are pretty bad, especially Paul Sculfor is a crappy actor. And over all, “Psychosis” gives a surprisingly amateurish impression. It’s quite odd. It kind of feels like a movie made by a film school student. It has a very British look; the weather is gray and dull through out the movie, and the color scheme is pale. The cinematography and editing leaves a lot to be desired, though, as does the direction. Some of the dialogue is awkward, especially in the last few scenes. “Psychosis” has a few interesting moments, but the story is very unoriginal, the movie is too slow-paced and it’s not very entertaining or thrilling. I’ve no idea what they spent the $1.4M on. It’s cool to see Charisma Carpenter playing the lead, though, and I wouldn’t mind seeing her again within soon. Hopefully in a better movie.

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