Numerous critics had already sharpened their knives even before Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot color "re-creation" of the 1960 black-and-white Hitchcock classic was released, chiding the Good Will Hunting director for defiling hallowed ground. This intriguing cinematic curiosity, though, is hardly as sacrilegious as critics would lead you to believe. If anything, Van Sant doesn't take enough liberties with his almost slavish devotion to the material, now updated with modern references. At times, you wish Van Sant would cut loose with a little spontaneity, a little energy, a little something. Unfortunately, when he does venture outside Hitchcock's parameters, with inserted shots of storm clouds during the murder sequences, it's to little effect. Granted, he liberally splashes color throughout the film (especially in the case of the infamous shower scene), and this is a great-looking movie, but in his obsession with adding a new physical dimension to the film, there's little insight into these characters that Hitchcock hadn't already provided. Vince Vaughn, a robotic and giggly Norman, doesn't crawl under your skin the way boy-next-door Anthony Perkins did, and Anne Heche is admirable if not very sympathetic in the Janet Leigh role. Van Sant does score a minor coup, though, in his casting of the supporting roles: Julianne Moore provides a welcome shot of energy as Heche's irritable and curious sister, William H. Macy is a perfect small-time detective, Viggo Mortensen is studly enough to make you understand why Heche would want to run away with him, and James LeGros walks away with his one brief scene as a used car salesman. And Danny Elfman's gorgeous rerecording of Bernard Herrmann's score is a potent supporting character unto itself. Students and fans of the original film will get a kick out of the modern revisions, but don't expect anything of Hitchcockian caliber; watch it for the sum of its intriguing parts, but not the whole. --Mark Englehart --This text refers to the DVD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
That is not a good enough reason.
While remaking one of the greatest movies in history is a bad idea in itself, the 1998 remake of "Psycho" is an exercise in hollow tedium, laziness and bad casting. Van Sant does not even try to put any kind of personal stamp on the movie, instead piggybacking off the skills of Hitchcock himself -- and what little he does contribute is bizarre and/or disgusting.
Secretary Marion Crane (Anne Heche) is entrusted with $400,000, which she's supposed to deposit in the bank for her employer. Instead, she steals the money for her impoverished boyfriend, Sam Loomis (Viggo Mortensen). She ends up staying overnight at a remote motel, where the only other people are the owner Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn) and his crazy invalid mother.
Then someone kills Marion in the shower. Believing his mother is responsible, a desperate Norman cleans up the crime scene and hides the body. Meanwhile, Marion's sister Lila (Julianne Moore) is doing her best to find both her sister and the $400,000, hiring a private eye and trying to figure out where Marion went before her disappearance. Teaming up with Sam Loomis, she begins seeking out whoever saw her last -- but neither of them are prepared for the true horror of Bates Motel.
Imagine that someone allowed you to pick up and handle the Mona Lisa. You lay a piece of thin paper over it and trace over the painting. What you have after that is not a piece of timeless deathless art.... but a hollow, soulless copy that just follows the same lines.Read more ›
As I've said on many an occasion, I have no problem with a true remake: a fresh look on an old theme is perfectly fine, so long as it's well done and has something new to say. But given Van Sant's directorial talent, and considering the top tier (albeit underrated) acting talent involved (Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, William H. Macy, and Viggo Mortensen, it's hard to fathom why Van Sant would choose to use his talents on something like this.
It's worth emphasizing to the incredulous that this movie is NOT a remake, but is, indeed, a SHOT-for-SHOT reshoot of the original Hitchcock classic. Except for perhaps two little inexplicable touches, the film uses every camera angle, and every snippet of dialogue, and all of the characters, in the original film: the only departure from the original "Psycho" is that this movie is shot in color. Of the two departures, there isn't much to say: they take the form of brief 'visions' edited MTV-style into the killing sequences, and include a roiling stormy sky, a masked woman in a bikini, and an ewe.
For this we needed a feature film? What's more, while the movie itself is at first intriguing as a curiosity ("hmmm...let's see how Anne Heche plays the shower sequence) quickly begins to resemble bad dinner theater, and the film and actors, by definition, draw comparison to the original. Lamentably, they don't do well in the comparison.Read more ›
"COLOR?...Psycho in color?" No Way. I hate it" Those were the first words out of my mouth the first time I put this film on to view a while back. I hadn't even watched it and already I hated it. But I did watch it and still I didn't think much of it. I already had my mind set that no one (except Hitch) should ever remake a Hitch film. And such a classic Hitch at that. Now sometime later, I decided to give it another go.....
I saw it a little differently this time. I saw it not just as a remake but as a tribute to "The Master". Is it as good as the original? Well... OOOOOF Course not, don't be ridiculous. Did the director(Gus Van Sant) do a good job in honoring Hitch's work? I thought so. Although it now is modernized, in color and takes place in the 90's which gives just a little different take on it, and there are a few moments that Van Sant adds his on ideas, it was practically scene for scene.As a horror film of the 90's it passes the scary test(I didn't want to take a shower after viewing it). Did the actors not only honor the great ones that came before them but also bring something of themselves to the characters? For the most part I would say yes.
Vince Vaughn(Norman Bates), seemed maybe a little TOO much like Anthony Perkins, but basically was a good "Psycho". Anne Heche made for an intriguing Marion(Originally Janet Leigh)and William H Macey(Arbagast), Julianne Moore(Lila) and Viggo Mortensen(Sam)all added something of themselves to these legendary characters.
Bernard Hermann's original score is used to add to the tenseness of the story and was reworked into the film wonderfully by Danny Elfman.
The DVD is excellent.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I love the cast list in this movie. It was also directed to match the original movie scene by scene. Check it out! Read morePublished 23 months ago by shoozies
Even I saw the remake version in the theatrers and on VHS tape, this remake is somewhat different fromthe original version. Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2010 by Kevin Barton
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho made an impact on all audiences around the world. Director Gus Van Sant is here to give you this word-for-word remake to make you forever take showers... Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Chad DeFeo
Why? Why? WHY? Why remake a classic horror film? That means remaking it with exactly the same screenshots, lines, right down to the same camara angles used in the original. Read morePublished on July 1 2004 by Broken_Harlequin
Loads of people are slating this movie for being made at all considering the original was perfect in so many ways and constantly ask why did they do it? Read morePublished on June 29 2004
I just finished watching the remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho.This movie is totally and utterly pointless.Anne Heche is the only thing that makes this film any good. Read morePublished on June 3 2004 by Mac
This movie was one of the best I hav ever seen. It is way better than the original. You have to see it. Vince Vaughn is the BEST Norman Bates. Read morePublished on May 30 2004
Though no worse on several levels than the original, much-overrated "Psycho," Gus Van Sant's remake offers little that is new. Read morePublished on May 9 2004 by Stephen Kaczmarek
Personally, this movie is worth the effort for the cast. Some great people are in here - in fact most of the main players are in my "favourites" list. Read morePublished on May 1 2004 by Ziggy Spaceboy