But with Psychotropic Overload, Alexandre does a lot of things that cost nothing, to add atmosphere. For one, the movie is filmed in both black-and-white and color, which helps establish whose POV any given scene is from. Granted, this leads to the movie’s biggest issue (more on that in a bit), but it also lends a sense of tension, as some moments switch back and forth, causing the audience to question what is real and what is not. Couple that with Roy Black’s solid editing, which is not afraid to intentionally confuse or get extremely close-up, and you have a solidly made flick.
But, a few problems do exist. For one, the shot-on-video style of filmmaking is an acquired taste. For those not accustomed to it, or those who never cared for it, Alexandre’s stylish directing will not necessarily get them on board. Secondly, the story is a bit predictable. The ways in which Steven and Christian are tied together, and how their fates are intertwined with the police investigation can be accurately guessed by any audience member who has seen more than five psychological thrillers.
“…Alexandre does a lot of things that did not cost a thing, to add atmosphere.”
Oddly, part of the reason for such an easy to figure out plot is the black-and-white versus color cinematography. From a style standpoint, it makes for a unique and different movie of its sort. But, it gives away essential character details, allowing the ending to be foreseen easily. So, the style is a double-edged sword, and it’ll be up to personal preference if you think what it adds is worth what it takes away (I say yes).
Psychotropic Overload is not going to convert people who cannot stand the shot-on-video format. However, for anyone that wishes to experience all that way of filming offers, Joseph F. Alexandre directs with panache. Though predictable, the solid story and the two decent lead performances mean that there’s more good than bad here.
"…considerably more stylish than a good number of other shot-on-video titles."