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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Psycho Sleepover
Psycho Sleepover
Troma // Unrated // December 13, 2011
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Troma]
Review by Jeremy Biltz | posted October 27, 2011 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
Psycho Sleepover, as one might be able to deduce from the title, is a film long on blood and breasts, and short on substance. That doesn't mean it couldn't be lots of fun for the right audience, but the low budget and schlockiness will tend to restrict its appeal.

Poor Debbie Dicky (Rachel Castillo). First, she has to kill her boyfriend, who turns out to be a serial killer who tries to add her to his list of victims. Then her dad dies, and it turns out he was a serial killer too. She is generally shunned at school after this, and goes slightly goth, but thinks she might be turning a corner a year later when three of the most popular girls in school invite her to a sleepover. But Ginny (Emilia Richeson), Sally (Ariel Teal Toombs) and Ugly Jen (Frankie Frain, a man) might not be as friendly and innocent as they first appear.

The three girls also invite their boyfriends over for the sleepover, and provide a date for Debbie as well, a hulking, dim witted football player. Along with the beer, this might be a recipe for a fun night. Of course, also in the mix are nerdy friends Flick and Jeremy (Todd Pritchett and Ryan Martin) who are desperate to see a naked girl, and in Flick's case achieve his first erection. And there's the psychiatrist Thomas (Tom Adrian) who wants to do more with Debbie than a little talk therapy, and the large group of homicidal lunatics he accidentally releases from the asylum after letting slip the address of the sleepover, which he plans to attend himself.

Quicker than you can say "stupid teenager", all manner of chaos descends on the sleepy town of Murderton (yes, really), and particularly on Ginny's house, where the four girls and their boys are trapped inside by crazed killers. Of course, interspersed amongst all the murder and squirting blood are buckets of jokes about sex in all its permutations, dating, boys, girls, fat people and almost anything else a fourteen year old boy would find amusing. Some of this humor is groan worthy, some simply not funny, but a surprising amount is not bad, especially the meta style throwaway one liners. A line like "And FYI, he donated $10,000 to the local cancer institute" may seem simply odd in isolation, but in context it carries a weird surrealist vibe that works quite well as humor. (And the clip of the fake movie Murder Pizza is fantastic.)

In fact, the entire film is an exercise in surrealism, almost to magical realism levels. It's Gabriel Garcia Marquez with arterial spray and naked women. The filmmakers simply discard any connection to reality to make the joke work, whether it's a girl who gets stabbed in head, with the knife buried six inches deep, without suffering any discernible ill effects, or casting a man as Ugly Jen, or the fact that Debbie can't convince anyone to call the police or quit smoking dope, even though several people are killed and they are besieged by maniacs. Reality is bent to conform to a good and violent time.

This isn't to say that Psycho Sleepover is without flaw. It has plenty of flaws, mainly stemming from its budget of only $2,000, according to the included commentary. Continuity errors abound, such as blinds being up in an interior shot but down in the contiguous exterior shot of the same window. The spirit gum holding on Thomas's mustache is laid on so thick it is easily visible even in wide shots. The writing is very spotty, and at points almost incomprehensible. On the other hand, everything is executed with the exuberance and lack of fear that is necessary for super low budget films to work. The attitude can overcome the small budget, and here it does to some extent, but the movie fails at least as much as it succeeds. This not a particularly well crafted or nuanced film, and it doesn't want to be. The exuberance isn't quite enough for it to fire on all cylinders, but it strives to provide the gore and girls that its core audience wants. And for the most part, it succeeds. I might be able to recommend this film, but mostly to the kind of folks who would watch a film called Psycho Sleepover anyway. To everyone else, it's going to have limited appeal. Rent it.

The DVD

Video:
The video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, and looks fairly good, particularly given the low budget of the film. There is some occasional grain, but otherwise no real problems.

Sound:
The audio is Dolby digital 2 channel, and also sounds fairly good, without any hiss or other problems. The dialogue is always easily audible, though no subtitles or alternate language tracks are included. There is some decent music on the soundtrack (along with some less than decent) and it is highlighted well.

Extras:
There are a few extras included. They are:

Outtakes
A little less than six minutes of goofed takes and bloopers. Mildly humorous.

Deleted Scenes
Five minutes of deleted scenes, apparently cut for time, since they don't seem to jar with the mood of the film or have any obvious problems.

Trailer
A fairly standard trailer that accurately encapsulates the film.

Behind the Scenes
This is broken into two parts, for whatever reason. It's around fifteen minutes of behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. It is quite interesting at times.

Photo Gallery
Less than a minute of production stills and behind the scenes shots.

Audio Commentary
This is the most substantial extra, featuring four members of the crew, including the writer and director. It's clear where the film gets its gonzo, teenage sensibility. These guys are incredibly adolescent, spending much of the time cracking jokes and ripping on each other, even while relating anecdotes and information about the production. There is actually a lot of interest to small budget filmmakers here, including how making a movie in your house can get you kicked out by your roommates. This is quite fun, if you can get over the audible eating, opening of pop cans and chairs collapsing.

Final Thoughts:
Psycho Sleepover has a lot of strengths, and at least as many weaknesses. It's immature and surreal, but at times very funny. The production values are desperately low, but they do manage quite a few cool blood and gore effects. Performances are sketchy at best, but buoyed up by the infectious enthusiasm of the whole endeavor. In short, if you like spurting blood and nubile women in revealing clothes, you will forgive the film for its many missteps and revel in its pleasures. For everyone else, there's not much here.

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