Directed by Gus Van Sant [Other horror films: N/A]
Pretty much a scene-by-scene remake of the original classic (perhaps one of the most well-known horror movies that has yet existed), this movie’s not terrible. The problem is, and this is a big problem, that it’s been done before, and it’s been done so much better that this movie just comes out entirely pointless.
I liked most of the principal cast, which is something I can’t say for other films. Anne Heche (from a favorite of mine, Volcano) played a cute Marion Crane. Chad Everett played the best exuberantly wealthy Texan this side of Rex Linn (Better Call Saul). William H. Macy didn’t blow me away, but what can I say, I like the actor (from Fargo to Pleasantville, this guy’s fun), and he was fun to see.
Neither Julianne Moore (Hannibal) nor Viggo Mortensen really worked in my opinion, but they didn’t bring the film down, which is more than I can say for Vince Vaughn. I liked Vaughn in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but whoever thought he could replace Perkins as Norman Bates went more than a little mad. It’s no knock at Vaughn, who technically did fine. It’s that Perkins felt so much better in the role.
The main problem here isn’t the fact that it’s a remake, nor is it Vaughn’s portrayal of Bates. It’s that this doesn’t feel inspired whatsoever. There are some movies that it’s pointless to remake, and I’ll go ahead and say that Psycho’s one of them. In 1960, the story was surprising and shocking (both the twist thirty minutes in and the finale), but here, we know exactly what’s coming, but despite some scenes being filmed in the exact same way (such as the stairway sequence), there’s no magic here.
Psycho lacks magic, and that’s the problem. It’s such a well-written story, but this version wasn’t able to capture almost any of it, and ultimately just wasted our time when it could be better spent with the 1960 classic.