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 ›
Also, since the movie actually does not recreate shot-for-shot every scene, you have to wonder why they didn't do a little more updating. The dialogue between Sam and Marion at the hotel, which seems fine in the 1960 version, seems incredibly stilted in the 90's. "These long lunches give my boss excess gas" or whatever it was- people don't talk like that anymore. The whole buying the new car scene rings really false (and California license plates stopped having 6 characters in the 70's), and do we really need Vince Vaughn making it all to clear what he is doing at the peephole?
van Sandt said that he really wanted to introduce the original to a new geneeration, maybe he did just that. I certainly popped my copy of the Hitchcock classic into the VCR after the last reel of this turkey, and had a much better time.
Well, forty years later, times have changed, have changed aplenty. One scene in particular made me sick in this new version of Psycho, and it convinced me not to watch it any further. When Norman is watching Marion in the bathroom, you can hear him unzip his pants...and (well, guess what he's doing as she's stripping her clothes off?)the whole film was extremely sick. Not sick as in gross, but just a sheerly disrespectful version of a film that should NEVER have been redone.
It may have been an attempt at a tribute to the best suspense film ever made but the end result is a shameful, disrespectful film that is nothing other than a waste of time.
Most recent customer reviews
The disks were not Blu Ray. The first movie was not compatible with Canada.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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