Psychos

In a residential area of southern California, two police officers (Monte James and Cliff Everett Smith) investigate a large Victorian house with blood on the welcome mat. Guns drawn, they enter cautiously, so far mercifully unaware that they are about to discover the havoc that can be wreaked by three Psychos.

The psychos in question don't look all that frightening, though. Norma (Melissa Elena Jones) is the least alarming by far, quiet and at least outwardly the stereotypical 'good girl' -- except she does have trouble keeping a job, not without reason. Then there's JJ (Deniele Ramos Cloutier), struggling through her pre-med classes. She's definitely sarcastic and dresses like she's going to a Goth rave, but also not too scary. Sasha (Angelica Chitwood) is another story -- she's certainly not afraid to speak her mind, at least, or to unleash insults at the slightest excuse. And she has an, um, interesting dress style.

As different as they are, these young women have one thing in common: long ago all three were held prisoner and abused by a man (Aubrey Wakeling) who lived in a large Victorian house in southern California. Joining forces, the three managed to escape and went their separate ways. Now videos of their torture have been sent to them anonymously, and Sasha brings the three together to find their abuser. The fact that none of them know where the house is or even what color it was ten years ago is a minor inconvenience as far as she's concerned. The videos belong to them, she says, and they need to get them back.

Sasha also recruits her sometime boyfriend Michael (Vince Peagler III) as backup, probably primarily because he has a car and they have a lot of driving ahead of them. Through divine intervention -- or more likely just because Fate has a twisted sense of humor -- they find the house and plan a little breaking and entering. There are other plots afoot that the budding criminals don't yet know, however, and they soon discover that things aren't going to go as planned.

And even by movie standards, where things never go anywhere near according to plan, this film makes some roller-coaster turns and takes the audience on a truly wild ride. One loose end seems to get forgotten along the way, but on the whole it's a very well-written script. Wakeling is strange and sinister as the girls' tormentor, while his wife Rosie (Gwendoline Pere-Lahaille) is just strangely oblivious -- or is she? I'll give it four and a half out of five. As the situation grows more tense and the full truth is slowly revealed, you won't be able to look away.

Image: 
Sasha faces off with her tormentor. Beware of axe-wielding manic.

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