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Psycho

2.7 out of 5 stars 388 customer reviews

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(Jun 08, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Criminal on the run, Marion Crane (Anne Heche) takes refuge at the motel operated by Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn) - a troubled man whose victims encounter a grisly fate at the hands of his "mother." Marion soon becomes the next victim and her disappearance prompts inquiries from her sister (Julianne Moore) and a private investigator (William H. Macy). They both soon discover the morbid bond linking Norman to his mysterious "mother" at the Bates Motel. Relive the terror in acclaimed director Gus Van Sant's all new version of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece of suspense… Psycho.

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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

Special Features

  • Psycho Path
  • Feature Commentary with Director Gus Van Sant, Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Screen Savers

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Anne Heche, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Vince Vaughn
    • Directors: Gus Van Sant
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Subtitles: English
    • Dubbed: French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      R
      Restricted
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: June 8, 1999
    • Run Time: 104 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (388 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00000IQVC
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,299 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Psycho" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    This remake of the cherished 1960 Hitchcock classic is pointless and unnecessary. It's like remaking Sunset Boulevard (rest in peace, Billy Wilder) in color with Raquel Welch and Freddy Prinze, Jr. in the Gloria Swanson and William Holden roles and throwing in a Basic Instinct sex scene for good measure. Psycho is like Casablanca, Laura, It's a Wonderful Life, Some Like It Hot and To Kill a Mockingbird -- great films where the audience, after seeing them, can never picture other actors playing those roles. For me, Marion Crane will always be Janet Leigh and Norman Bates will always be Anthony Perkins -- period. Hitchcock's Psycho is a masterpiece that deserves to stand on its own without a shot-for-shot pale imitation to stain its memory. There are many things wrong with this version, but I'll concentrate on four areas:
    First, Vince Vaughn has a completely and utterly impossible task of trying to match up to Anthony Perkins' performance in the original. Perkins' Norman Bates came out of his own personality. He, like Norman Bates, lost his father at an early age and had a internal conflict over his own sexual identity. He, like Norman Bates, had a clinging, possessive mother. Vaughn, in contrast, is behind the eight ball as soon as he appears on the screen in the remake. Vaughn plays Norman Bates. Perkins IS Norman Bates. Vaughn tries his best, but it isn't nearly enough.
    The updated touches director Gus Van Sandt has added -- namely the masturbation, vomiting, nudity and the added gore. Instead of making a positive additional contribution to the story, these updates merely seem like a gratuitous tack-on that Van Sandt has added to appeal to modern audiences. Martin Scorcese's remake of Cape Fear earned the right to deal more graphically with its subject matter than the original.
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    Format: Amazon Video
    Ignore the blowhards that come on here with their snobbish "Its not Hitch" B.S. Whats wrong with doing a remake blow by blow? Nothing.This is an entertaining movie thats well done and interesting to watch. All the actors do a good job especially Anne Heche. I felt she was much more interesting to watch then Janet Lee. You really feel her anguish as shes driving towards the motel and wondering if she did the right thing by taking the money. This movie has developed a following and it makes me sick how all these people come on here giving it one star. Give me a break. If Hitch hadnt originally done this movie they wouldnt have given it such a bad rating. STOP comparing it to the classic for gods sake and just enjoy what the movie has to offer. I love Hitch as much as anyone else and if his daughter approved it then shut your pie hole and stop venting like you have this superior intellect. This movie is meant to entertain and it does just that.
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    Format: DVD
    Gus Van Sant is a talented director in his own right, as he proved in his stirring and depressing account of the travails and adventures of a latter-day Henry V "My Own Private Idaho." So why, then, did Van Sant feel the need to make this version of "Psycho", which isn't even a 'version', since this movie is a slavish shot-for-shot remake of the original, albeit set in the 1990's.
    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.
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    1 Comment 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    Where was Alfred Hitchcock's name in the credits? Was the film dedicated to him and I blinked and missed it? Was he acknowledged in any way, other than his silly cameo? How much money was Patricia Hitchcock paid to say, in the featurette, that her father would have approved of this movie? These and many other questions can be condensed into one word: why? Remaking this, shot-for-shot and in color, was a huge error in judgement made by whomever it was that green-lighted this cinematic travesty. Whereas, in the original, Anthony Perkins, under the guidence of the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, played Norman as the somewhat disturbed but likeable boy next door and therefore the ending was a shock, Vince Vaughn played crazy right from the get-go, completely spoiling the rest of the film. Viggo Mortensen's acting couldn't have been worse, and what's the deal with them changing the house? The old house was sinister and creepy, especially in black and white; the new house looks like a reject from a William Castle movie. The opening credits, in color, look very nice, but the film slides quickly downhill from there. This film might have worked if only Anne Heche had played Norman instead of Marion. If you've never seen either version, please see the original!
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