“Schizoid” feels like a violent slasher made for the Lifetime network.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. That automatically separates it from the pack and creates the illusion you are watching something new, when in fact it is just a melodramatic horror picture that transports you back to that bygone era of Grindhouse fun, minus the sticky floors.
The creepy Klaus Kinski (“The Soldier,” “Crawlspace”) is Dr. Pieter Fales. He is a psychiatrist with an oddball weekly group therapy session.
Would you go to Kinski for counseling?
Didn’t think so – and that alone leaves you to wonder why these people confide in him. Of course that notion is disrupted as the group is methodically being murdered one by one.
The group is filled with many prime suspects including Fales, his insane daughter, the woman he is sleeping with, her jealous ex-husband and a creepy repairman – all of whom have reasons for killing the patients off.
Which one of them is sick enough to carry out these brutal deeds?
The movie comes alive in its depiction of violence, reminding us that this is still a slasher through the long spells of over the top dramatic acting. A scene where a woman is stabbed in the throat with scissors on a waterbed comes off with an unflinching reality.
Kinski has always been great at providing characters that exist in a world of horror, but here he is terribly miscast as the normal person. He is unconvincing when reading the simplest of dramatic dialogue, but that creates a campy aura to the picture.
And, deep down, that is what B-movie aficionados love.
The cute Donna Wilkes (“Angel”) is the doctor’s out of control teenage daughter, Alison. Her performance is solid for this type of picture, even though it doesn’t seem to be an actuate portrait of teenage life.
But, with Kinski for a father, that may be normal.
Dr. Fales is in love with his patient Julie, played by Mariana Hill (“Relentless”) and it is a given to the audience that is never entirely fleshed out. Hill is a decent leading lady that helps to guide the audience through the weird cast of characters.
Her office is being painted by her ex husband, Doug (Craig Wasson, “Body Double”) and he doesn’t approve of her new boyfriend and believes the therapy group is filling her head with lies.
Wasson is an underrated actor who appeared as the lead in Brian DePalma’s 1984 film, “Body Double” and then later appeared in “Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors.” With a promising start in those movies, he never seemed to capitalize on the career he could have had.
His performance in “Schizoid” is yet another strong and sturdy role that showcases his talents.
The cast is then rounded out with a small performance from Christopher Lloyd, (“Taxi,” “Back to the Future”) as Gilbert the strange handyman and as always he does the best job he can do with the material given.
Despite some less than stellar acting, the movie is a delightful reminder of why the ‘80s were the best decade for horror movies. It is equal parts gore, mystery and melodrama. Not only that, but it manages to create an intriguing mystery that will keep you guessing until the killer is revealed.
“Schizoid” is what it is and that is what makes it so great. It doesn’t try to be any more than late night fare for a horror junkie.