Psycho is a 1998 shot-for-shot remake of the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name starring Anne Heche as Marion Crane and Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. The film co-stars William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, and Viggo Mortensen. The film was directed by Gus Van Sant (the director of the critically acclaimed hit Good Will Hunting, which was released a year earlier).
Marion Crane (Anne Heche, originally played by Janet Leigh) stays in a rundown motel run by psychopath Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn, originally played by Anthony Perkins).
Why It Ain’t Psycho
- The remake feels like it didn't exist as the 1960's film of the same name didn’t even need a remake at all.
- It's literally the exact original film, only in color, with unwanted extended scenes, different performers that didn't really need to be in the film, and bad acting.
- This includes Norman Bates masturbating to Marion through a large peephole in his motel before she gets in the shower and meets her demise. The joke "Norman Master Bates" wouldn't have made it any funnier, even if the said line was in the film. Also, the extra scene was unnecessary and just plain gross.
- It's a shot for shot remake, only colorized and set in the late '90s, instead of the late '50s/early '60s, unlike the original, making some scenes look very outdated.
- Vince Vaughn was a terrible choice to play Norman Bates.
- The only way it would look even more obvious is that if someone else like Paul Rudd was playing Norman Bates, instead of Vaughn.
- Cringeworthy tongue-in-cheek dialogue and every line in the film are the same lines from the original, with some slight differences.
- It's not even remotely as scary as the original 1960 classic.
- In fact, it feels like a parody film than an actual remake at times.
- The infamous shower murder scene is badly remade; delayed scream from Marion, delayed violin cue, extra gore, Marion, saying "What?!" after getting stabbed a few times, cutting to cloudy skies; in between stabs. The same could be said about the second murder scene, which cuts to someone who looks like Lady Gaga and a baby cow/goat in the middle of a foggy road. Also, these brief image cutaways during the two murder scenes, make no sense, whatsoever.
- While Anthony Perkins at least made Norman Bates look innocent, Vince Vaughn makes it obvious that he's messed up in the head, right from the first time we see him on screen.
- When Mrs. Bates' corpse is discovered, a spider comes out of her mouth. It's not even scary, just disgusting.
- Terrible direction by Gus Van Sant.
- The pacing is not very good.
- Seeing a color version of Psycho was pretty interesting. Also one of the few shot-for-shot remakes of a horror film, as most horror film reboots are cheap re-imaginings.
- Despite being wasted, Julianne Moore is pretty good as Lila Crane, Marion's sister.
- Universal included the opening shot - an uninterrupted pan across the city skyline going into Marion and Sam's room - that Alfred Hitchcock wanted to include in the original, but was unable to film due to budgetary and technological limitations.
- As Roger Ebert put it, William H. Macy as Milton Aborghast is the only actor who isn't miscast.
The film holds a 38% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a critic consensus that states, "Van Sant's pointless remake neither improves nor illuminates Hitchcock's original." Film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film one and a half out of four stars and stated in his review of the film that it "demonstrates that a shot-by-shot remake is pointless; genius apparently resides between or beneath the shots, or in chemistry that cannot be timed or counted."
The film opened up at #2 on its opening weekend with a gross of $10 million at the box office. It later made a total domestic gross of $21,456,130. In foreign territories, the film made $15,685,000. Overall, the film made $37 million worldwide against its $60 million budget, making it a box office bomb.
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Actress for Anne Heche (but lost to Mel B (Scary Spice), Mel C (Sporty Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), and Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) in Spice World), but was awarded two awards for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel (tied with Godzilla and The Avengers), and another award for Worst Director.
- Tobey Maguire, Christian Bale, Robert Sean Leonard, Jeremy Davies, Henry Thomas, and Joaquin Phoenix were all considered for the role of Norman Bates.