Okay guys, out with the good and in with the bad, though, you probably seen this coming from my last review.
Gus Van Sant, who was riding high off his Oscar success from Good Will Hunting, came upon remaking Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller. Now this came out around the Scream Generation and everyone expected this to be a slasher bloodfest. But what everybody didn't know that this was going to be directed by GUS VAN SANT, known for films such as Drugstore Cowboy and My Private Idaho. I think he was going for an artistic approach with this version, but to me, there will always be red flags when a director, who's not particularly known for horrors or thrillers for that matter, would remake something like this.
Once it hit theaters, audiences(mostly teenagers) were very, very, VERY disappointed. What everybody didn't expect was that Gus Van Sant was doing a shot for shot redo. A shot for shot remake of a 1960 movie along with the same dialogue and camera techniques......ugh.
I was surprised to find out that this was a franchise:
I guess Psycho 2 did okay, at least it kept the mystery element and brought back the characters from the original.
Psycho 3, although it had the same critical praise........doesn't really hold up that well, turning into a generic standard slasher film.
Though Psycho 4 was a good character study of Norman Bates and how he became what he was. Not a great movie by any means, but at least it gave the original justice.
And now we have the remake to look forward to. Of course, certain people thought there was going to be a new spin to the Hitchcock classic but sadly that's not what we got here. Though there is an interesting contrast to the two movies, so there's that at least.
The story: You guys pretty much know the story by now, but for those of you who haven't, here's how it goes: Woman steals money from boss for her lover, Woman attempts to flee, Woman stops at a hotel, Hotel Manager creeps her out, Woman gets murdered in the shower, the Woman's lover and her sister investigate. There you go.
The cast in the movie are good actors, they just seem to be horribly micasted, especially Vince Vaughn, who I will get to later. The only good actors in this is Julianne Moore and Viggo Mortensen. They seem really in tune and try their best with what they're given.
Marion Crane played by Anne Heche is a bit mixed. Now this is a shot for shot, so there's nothing much to dwell on. The casting of Anne Heche was just questionable. Sure, she has a similar look to Janet Leigh but I felt Janet Leigh brought more to the character, made her much more human. Anne Heche just seems to be going by the motions. She does an okay performance I guess, But she just so forgettable that I have nothing say about this at this point. Moving On....
Here comes one of the worst casting decisions that the filmmakers could think on....Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. What made Anthony Perkins memorable in the role was that he had this Boy Next Door charm but was a deeply disturbed person. He came off so innocent and non-threatening, in fact, that Marion puts her trust in him, though that's what ultimately kills her at the end. Alfred Hitchcock wanted a much more attractive actor in the role of Norman since the book the movie was adapted from described him as a balding, overweight, middle-aged man. He thought the audience wouldn't be able to relate to him. So the casting of Anthony Perkins was actually a good idea, which made the audience sympathize with him and it was a great success.
Vince Vaughn, on the other hand, comes off incredibly creepy in this version and not at all sympathetic or even innocent. Right off the bat, you would know this guy is a killer. Hell, I wouldn't run into this guy in a dark alleyway. It's like Gus Van Sant or who ever the hell wrote the script completely missed the point of the original and therefore adds no mystery to him at all.
They also turn him into this sex-starved pervert by having porn magazines in his room and even showing this one of out place masturbation scene. I mean really? do we have to HEAR that?
Vince Vaughn with his intensive nervous gestures and overall awkwardness doesn't do the role any good. And let me point this out: In the original, once Norman finds the butchered body of Marion, he panics. So he wraps up the body, put it in the car and dump it in the lake. The suspense level in this sequence is extremely high because at this point we're on Norman's side, just by the way he nervously chews his candy. In this version, he just has smug look on his face like "Yeah I did it, so what?" This shows that Norman is the killer and there is just nothing to go from there.
Oh my god, wait till you see this nightmare. I do not ever want to see Vince Vaughn in drag again. By far one of the scariest things in the movie. lol. So Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? one of the worst performances ever.
Lila Crane played by Julianne Moore was actually good. She's a lot more angrier in this version, more direct. Where as with the original, she's only deeply concerned about her sister's disappearance. This is the post-feminist era, so it would make sense to have Lila to be more aggressive and take charge. But being a shot for shot remake, We never see Lila kick any ass, only a kick to the face once Sam Loomis grabs a hold of Norman.
There's not much to say about the character but at least Julianne Moore brought more to the role than the script does.
Sam Loomis played by Viggo Mortensen also did a good job, bringing this good o'l boy quality about him, and stretching out the character having this laid back personality other than your standard hero in a horror film as he was portrayed in the original. Again, not much to say(whoever wrote this script was really lazy) but Viggo Mortensen did a good performance overall.
William H. Macy as the detective( don't remember his name) was kind of phoning it in. Good actor. Waste of character.
Did I mention that Flea from Red Hot Chill Peppers made a cameo? I think they're trying rile up an all star cast with this version.
Okay, now for a little retrospective. You see this poster right here. If you were a person in 1960 and haven't seen the trailer or the marketing for this, you would think this would be some type of romantic drama about a woman stuck in a love triangle, even though the movie is titled Psycho. And once you watch the movie you would think it would be a crime drama about a woman on the run since Hitchcock is also known for North By Northwest. But half into the movie it turns into the horror/thriller mystery that we know today. It's unexpectations like that the reason why the movie is such a classic.
The hype for the 1998 movie was insane, especially at a time where 90's slashers were at their prime. Now you see this poster here? the way it's marketed and advertised is telling you that you're in for a thrill ride, which is far from what the film actually is, let me tell you.
The kills is what you would've expect, since there's only two in the original after all.
But what Gus Van Sant tries to do different is by adding random images like these to make it more artsy or whatever. I really didn't know what he was thinking.
And if you want to talk about the shower scene.....there's really nothing to talk about, except of how poorly shot it was:
First of all there's way too much light and it looks like someone is wearing black mask with a stringy wig.
What made the shower scene so memorable is the build up, the shadowy darkness of the figure approaching and when it hits, it hits hard, along with the screeching of the violins. The impact of it is almost poetic and it was quite shocking at the time. But with this version, the build up and suspense falls flat and the random shots doesn't make it poetic. Just pointless.
I would say one good thing though. The scene where Lila discovers the skeletal corpse of Norman's mother is quite creepy. The adding of birds and trees makes the setting more atmospheric.
I just....have nothing else to say. There was nothing new brought to the table, except that it's set in the 90's. You can tell because in the scene where Marion is at the car dealership you can hear "Living Dead Girl" by Rob Zombie playing in the background. Even though the filmmakers set in the 90's, we still have the cheesy dialogue and even a green screen effect in one scene. Really? Yeah I got nothing more to say. This is just a waste of your time.
The Verdict? Stick with the original. Don't watch this because it's the same movie. Like literally.
My Last Word: The original is an all time classic. This movie, however......No Comment.