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Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2018
Gus Van Sant had an opportunity here to go back to Robert Bloch's novel, the source material, and give us the Psycho that Alfred Hitchcock failed to deliver. Norman Bates was a middle aged, overweight, balding occultist and infernal necromancer who invoked something he could not control. Psycho is much more bizarre than the cinematic adaptations have led us to believe. We still have not met the real Norman Bates on the big screen.
My boyfriend rented this for us to watch after we finished "Bates Motel" on Netflix. It was so good! We really enjoyed it. However, it was odd to see Vince Vaughn playing the role of Norman Bates when we usually see him in comedy roles. He did an amazing job though and seeing William Macy (who played Frank on "Shameless") was interesting as well. All in all, it was a really good movie! Just keep in mind while watching it, that it was from 1998.
The only value of Van Sant's film is pedagogical. It demonstrates how Hitchcock's 'touch' demands the most rigorous/scrupulous attention to cinematic form: the careful placement of the actor within the frame, the rhythmic potential of montage, the expressive power of camera movement, etc. None of this is found in Van Sant's 'shot-by-shot' remake. (Either he was lying when he called it that or he is blind.) I use the film when I teach Hitchcock and it is extremely useful: students get to see with their own eyes how the slightest changes in detail -- due to whim or a simple lack of attention -- alter the power and meaning of an entire sequence. (When the actors rattle off their lines there doesn't seem to be any human agency behind the camera directing them.) The only way to argue for the film would be to claim that its awfulness is deliberate -- that Van Sant's version is post-horror, a portrait of a world drained of eroticism, beauty, sadness (i.e., human feeling). But even if this were true, it still doesn't make it any less painful to watch. This is a lousy film.
2.0 out of 5 starsColor photography, more blood and bare skin cannot improve on a classic.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2014
I finally watched the 1998 color remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho last night. I was aware that it was largely bombarded with negative reviews over the years. But I decided to watch it and decide for myself. First of all if you attempt to remake a classic you should get suitable actors for the main roles. Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates?? He has done mostly comedies since and maybe this is the reason why. Anthony Perkins WAS Norman Bates and it is highly doubtful that anyone else could have changed that. Viggo Mortensen was a poor choice to play the role of Marion Crane’s boyfriend Sam. He was a much weaker character than John Gavin’s portrayal in the original film. Anne Heche was good as Marion Crane, as was Julianne Moore as her sister Lila. They were both also very nice to look at, too. The music was the same, but the Bates Motel and the old house up on the hill both looked different. Most critics complained that it was a scene-for-scene, word-for-word remake. The only differences were that it was in color and had new people in it. Also missing was the masterful direction and sense of humor of Alfred Hitchcock. Apparently Hitchcock had originally planned for Psycho to be an episode of his hour-long tv series instead of a movie. He also thought it would be too gory to be filmed in color. After two big screen sequels, a tv sequel and a tv movie then why would anyone want to do a remake of the original classic?? And of course there is now the tv series Bates Motel. The bottom line is that newer is not always better. Color photography, more blood and bare skin cannot improve on a classic.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 3, 2015
the film was slated by so many but its a modern take on a classic movie as everyone already knows the original is a masterpiece so cannot be .possibly compared to this but this needs to be taken on its own merits I found it to be an entertaining take but before watching the original is a one off so comparing the two is a pointless exercise enjoy for what it is .
To spite the negative reviews of Vince Vaughn's portrayal of Norman Bates and peoples preference to the original film with Anthony Perkins. I felt that Vaughn gave a new light to the character and allowed a deeper insight into the Bates role and the mentality of the character.
Though the original will be an all time favourite, the remake deserves more then just to be regarded as a remake but something original in itself.
1.0 out of 5 starsThe only redeeming feature is that I usually HATE Vince Vaughan but he was actually good in this
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2015
Bought by accident thinking it was the "proper" Psycho! Oops - watched it anyway and it was awful. The only redeeming feature is that I usually HATE Vince Vaughan but he was actually good in this! He needs to knock the comedy on the head and do more of this.