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Steven Kostanski
Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Adam Brooks
Steven Kostanski

After unearthing a gem that controls an evil monster looking to destroy the Universe, a young girl and her brother use it to make him do their bidding.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 3/16/2021

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Steven Kostanski
• “One-on-One” Featurette
• “Interviews with the Cast” Featurette
• “Interview with Actor Adam Brooks” Featurette
• “Kortex: A Konversation” Featurette
• “The Music of PG” Featurette
• “Fight Choreography” Featurette
• “Fight Pre-Viz” Featurette
• “Filming the Paladin Fight” Featurette
• “PG vs. Pandora” Featurette
• “Miniature Magic” Featurette
• “Inside the Creature Shop” Featurette
• Galleries
• Trading Cards
• Previews


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PG: Psycho Goreman [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 10, 2021)

A blurb from “iHorror” on the cover of 2020’s PG: Psycho Goreman refers to it as “a heart-warming and heart-ripping family classic”. With nods toward both kid-oriented fare and graphic horror, it becomes fair to wonder which path PG will prefer.

Many millennia in the past, an alien overlord (Matthew Ninaber) tried to destroy the universe. He failed and found himself entombed on Earth.

In the present day, siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) accidentally restore this being to life. Now nicknamed “PG” – for “Psycho Goreman” – the kids use a magic gem to force this creature to follow their wishes.

However, potential doom awaits, as PG’s reappearance sends ripples throughout the galaxy. A variety of his allies and foes descend on Earth for a battle supreme.

With PG, writer/director Steven Kostanski clearly pays homage to cinema of the 1980s/90s – though oddly, he sets the film around 2005 or so – I guess. I don’t think the story pins down a specific year, but based on the video games played and the prevalence of tube TVs, 2005ish sounds about right.

Maybe. The kids’ father (Adam Brooks) refers to a stint in the Iraq War, which we assume means the 1991 iteration, not the 2003 version. But who knows? Kostanski clearly desires a vague sense of year and doesn’t appear to want to allow us to pin down the specifics.

In this disc’s extras, Kostanski admits he wanted to avoid a specific year but cops to the desire to set the flick in the 90s. That makes it odd that the dad fought in Iraq – he seems much too old – but maybe I shouldn’t expect strong continuity from a goofy romp like this.

Perhaps Kostanski hoped to avoid comparisons to Stranger Things, but that seems like a hopeless quest. PG so wholeheartedly embraces the past that the similarly-minded Stranger Things turns into an obvious parallel.

With a movie like PG, it becomes tempting to cite all the influences. However, because I don’t want this review to run 20,000 words, I won’t.

Suffice it to say that we find abundant allusions to 80s/90s films and TV here, as PG often feels like a non-stop array of citations. The flick walks a fine line between “homage” and “rip-off”, but it usually stays on the right side of that line, so we don’t usually find ridiculously obvious lifts from other works.

Kostanski clearly adores the sci-fi and monster movies of the 80s/90s, and in the film’s most charming element, PG relies on physical effects akin to those of the earlier era. If the flick uses any computer graphics, it keeps them to a minimum and blends them to strongly resemble old effects.

As a child of the 80s – and someone who thinks CG often doesn’t work well – I love the use of these practical effects, especially because PG pulls them off with creativity and aplomb. These elements show tons of charm and vivacity, so they easily become the best aspect of the movie.

Unfortunately, I think Kostanski and crew invested so much effort into the awesome practical effects that they skimped everywhere else. The story becomes a mishmash of influences without a whole lot of real purpose or momentum, and the tonal shifts turn into a distraction.

At times, PG seems unsure if it wants to deliver a replica of an 80s/90s movie or a snarky parody of one. The film flipflops attitudes, and while it leans toward spoof, it never quite makes up its mind, so it lacks consistency.

This goes for its mix of family fable and its graphic horror. Make no mistake: PG offers some gruesome gore, so it becomes a weird blend with the lighter touch of the kids and their adventures.

Obviously Kostanski meant to do this, and I guess he intended PG to become an adult version of an 80s/90s “PG” movie. It doesn’t really work, though, as the nasty violence feels gratuitous.

In terms of acting, most of the performers do fine, but Hanna turns into an exception via her relentlessly over the top turn as Mimi. At times I wondered if Hanna played the role in such an obnoxious manner as a conscious reference to tacky acting of Small Wonder.

Maybe? However, because no one else pursues the same kind of performance, Hanna’s aggressively annoying work stands out and becomes a distraction.

Despite its flaws, PG comes with enough creativity and ingenuity to remain watchable. However, it never quite finds a groove and its weaknesses restrict its overall appeal.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

PG: Psycho Goreman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though much of the movie looked fine, the image came with some odd anomalies.

In particular, sharpness varied. While most of the flick showed appealing accuracy, plenty of shots suffered from perplexing examples of softness.

These cropped up nearly at random and never made any sense to me. These didn’t become a fatal flaw for the presentation, but they created many more distractions than I expect from a circa 2020 movie.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Colors leaned toward some teal and amber, but we got a mix of other tones as well. Although these could veer a little heavy at times, they usually delivered fairly good vivacity.

Blacks were reasonably dense, but shadows could lean a little too thick at times. Mostly the strange instances of softness became the main issue, and those left this as a “C+” presentation.

In addition, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 came with some problems, largely related to the soundfield. While the flick came with a lively soundfield, localization seemed less than stellar.

Music blended across all the five channels in a manner that made the score lack spatial definition, and effects often followed suit. Although some of those elements popped up in the proper spots, a lot just seemed to exist in a vague, blobby realm that didn’t specify where they needed to be.

This became a disappointment because the soundscape came with so much information. However, without appropriate localization, the sonic fireworks failed to really engage.

Audio quality mostly worked fine, though the movie used the LFE channel too actively. By that I mean that the track engaged the subwoofer through too much of the film, as it rumbled almost all the time, even when it made little sense to turn into a factor/

Bass response was tight, at least, and the rest of the audio worked fine. Speech seemed concise and natural, without edginess or other concerns.

Music was bold and full, and effects showed good clarity and accuracy. If the soundfield simply offered better localization, this would’ve been a fine mix, but the mushy soundscape left it as a “C+”.

We find a slew of supplements here, and these begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Steven Kostanski. He presents a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, inspirations and influences, cast and performances, sets and locations, creature design and various effects, music, photography and related domains.

Kostanski makes this both an informative and an enjoyable chat. He covers a good array of topics and does so in manner that this into a fine look at his movie.

A slew of video programs follow, and One-on-One lasts 14 minutes, 40 seconds. It provides an interview with Kostanski in which he looks at the project’s origins and inspirations, the title, story and characters, design and effects, cast and performances,

Inevitably, Kostanski repeats a fair amount of material from the commentary. Nonetheless, he makes this a tight little overview.

A collection of Interviews with the Cast span six minutes, 24 seconds and involve actors Matthew Ninaber, Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Adam Brooks and Alexis Hancey.

They discuss their casting, characters and performances. This becomes a fairly banal piece, though Ninaber brings interesting thoughts about the challenges of acting in a suit.

An Interview with Actor Adam Brooks goes for four minutes, 20 seconds and delivers an expansion of the session seen in the prior featurette. Brooks offers decent notes, though the format seems odd, as for reasons unknown, Brooks pretends to be interviewed by a small stuffed panda.

Kortex: A Konversation fills five minutes, 58 seconds with actor Matthew Kennedy in character. He makes this a moderately amusing piece.

Next comes The Music of PG, a five-minute, 23-second chat with composers Blitz//Berlin. Unsurprisingly, they talk about the film’s score and songs. We get some nice insights.

Fight Choreography spans three minutes, 50 seconds and features fight choreographer Alex Chung. He tells us about this work and turns this into a worthwhile little piece.

With Fight Pre-Viz, we locate a six-minute, five-second reel that shows the stunt crew as they rehearse action beats. It becomes a fun addition to the set.

Filming the Paladin Fight runs seven minutes, 14 seconds and brings footage from the set. As expected, we view the shoot through the scene in question. It offers another cool look at the production.

After this we go to PG vs. Pandora, a three-minute, 28-second featurette that includes comments from Chung, SFX artist Mike Hamilton and cinematographer Andrew Appelle. This offers a short but informative view of this particular fight scene.

Miniature Magic lasts two minutes, 59 seconds and features Appelle and 2nd unit cinematographer Pierce Derks. They give us a quick look at the movie’s miniature sets. Expect another tight little show.

Up next we move to Inside the Creature Shop, a four-minute, 36-second featurette that lets is see the crew at work. This seems interesting, though it suffers from an absence of commentary.

Two Galleries appear: “Concept Art” (23 images) and “Behind the Scenes” (13). Both include good elements but they’re awfully brief.

We also get some video Trading Cards. These just give us publicity shots of six characters, so they’re not interesting.

The disc opens with ads for Spree, WolfCop, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot and Arizona. and Mayhem. No trailer for PG appears here.

A mix of 80s/90s family movie and graphic horror flick, PG: Psycho Goreman throws out enough weird energy to entertain at times. However, it doesn’t connect consistently. The Blu-ray brings erratic picture and audio with a good collection of bonus materials. The film keeps us with it but doesn’t quite click.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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