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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 18 June 2002
Ok here's the thing. This version of Psycho was on tv the other night and since I had never given this version a chance I thought I'd give it a go. When it was finished I was left with the question, was it good or bad? I am usually very quick to judge when I watch movies but I couldn't give an opinion on this one. Hence the 3 stars I have given the film. Not fantastic but not terrible either. To try and make a decision on the film, I visited the website, which I thought would be down by now but found it and read the very large part on the site that dealt with the question, 'Why a remake of Psycho?'. I found it very interesting as it quoted director Gus Van Sant, actors Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche, and even Alfred Hitchcock's daughter who was the technical consultant on the movie. She praised it believing her father would be honoured that Psycho was being remade and would have loved the project. After reading it all, I took into account the words of Gus who said that the original couldn't possibly be made any better but the aim of this remake was a simple update. This time in colour, new actors and better visual effects. Also for modern day audiences who might never have seen the original to watch this modernised version, in the hope they would go back and watch the 1960's classic. Vince Vaughn is no way trying to portray Anthony Perkins as he made the character unique. Gus went on to say reading the book portrayed Norman Bates in a completely different way to how Anthony portrayed him. He wanted Vince and Anne to acknowledge the original characters but still have freedom to play the character in their own way to. This has made me appreciate the way Vince played Norman because before going to the website I, like many others, was trying to compare him to Anthony. So I leave you with this plea, see the film but visit the website as this hopefully will help you understand why such a classic was remade.
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on 19 January 2014
Remaking "Psycho"? it's like remaking the Sixtine Chapel, the Mona Lisa or Le Penseur de Rodin.
It is profoundly insulting and irresponsible - particularly when you try to do this on a shot-by-shot basis, literally.
Why not remake Casablanca, Notorious or Rio Bravo (good luck with the latter in a contemporary setting...).
The reasons given by van Sant in the commentary to justify this abomination reach brand new peaks of imbecility: "it's for the kids who have never approached classic films because they are in black and white".
Dude, the reasons these kids do not approach these films is the same reason as to why they are not approaching the Sixtine Chapel, the Mona Lisa or Le Penseur de Rodin - and it has nothing to do with B&W: it has to do with their education. If the schools and the parents were doing their job by generating curiosity, encouraging the young to marvel at Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Hitchock, Lang, Eisenstein, Woody Allen then you wouldn't feel you have to "disneyland" Psycho by putting color, modern stars, contemporary touches (Norman Bates's masturbating anyone?) while giving some "arty" justification to your doomed project...
You want to help the classics being rediscovered Gus? Then encourage "la cinéphilie" as we say in French, believe that movies can enhance your life and your awareness of the human condition and encourage kids to take movie courses, the same way they take English or Geography.
Then, and then only, will you have done something useful and constructive for the promotion of your art.
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on 23 September 2014
I finally watched the 1998 color remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho last night. I was aware that it was largely bombarded with negative reviews over the years. But I decided to watch it and decide for myself. First of all if you attempt to remake a classic you should get suitable actors for the main roles. Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates?? He has done mostly comedies since and maybe this is the reason why. Anthony Perkins WAS Norman Bates and it is highly doubtful that anyone else could have changed that. Viggo Mortensen was a poor choice to play the role of Marion Crane’s boyfriend Sam. He was a much weaker character than John Gavin’s portrayal in the original film. Anne Heche was good as Marion Crane, as was Julianne Moore as her sister Lila. They were both also very nice to look at, too. The music was the same, but the Bates Motel and the old house up on the hill both looked different. Most critics complained that it was a scene-for-scene, word-for-word remake. The only differences were that it was in color and had new people in it. Also missing was the masterful direction and sense of humor of Alfred Hitchcock. Apparently Hitchcock had originally planned for Psycho to be an episode of his hour-long tv series instead of a movie. He also thought it would be too gory to be filmed in color. After two big screen sequels, a tv sequel and a tv movie then why would anyone want to do a remake of the original classic?? And of course there is now the tv series Bates Motel. The bottom line is that newer is not always better. Color photography, more blood and bare skin cannot improve on a classic.
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on 29 July 2000
A remake of Psycho was either gonna fall into one of two catergories: classic or absurd. Such an undertaking could not hope to be somewhere inbetween. It would either be remembered as a bad idea done well, or a bad idea done, er, bad. Well, I'm afraid if you've seen the original this is a very bad film. It's interesting to see another directors take on a classic film (and Van Sant IS a good director - check out Good Will Hunting), but the novelty ends there, and as you already know all the plot points anyway, there's nothing much left to titilate. Perhaps it's ironic. Psycho was one of the first slashers. The 70's saw exploitation classics like The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The 80's killed the genre stone dead with endless sequels of the Nightmare on Halloween the 13th breed. The 90's ressurected it with Scream, and now here we are again, back we started, only bored, tired, and needing something new.
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on 4 September 2015
the film was slated by so many but its a modern take on a classic movie as everyone already knows the original is a masterpiece so cannot be .possibly compared to this but this needs to be taken on its own merits I found it to be an entertaining take but before watching the original is a one off so comparing the two is a pointless exercise enjoy for what it is .
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VINE VOICEon 11 September 2010
For all the "reasons" Gus Van Sant gave for wanting to make a (virtually) shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's seminal movie Psycho, unless his main reason was to show that he was not, and never could be, in Hitchcock's class as a film maker it's safe to say he failed.

Of course he was on a hiding to nothing from the start, although he might have well gotten away with a re-made "homage" which appropriated parts of the original, as the original is one of the most famous movies ever made. He's not helped by disastrous choices in the main casting. Vince Vaughn's Norman Bates is wrong in almost every sense; whereas Anthony Perkins Bates hides his menace (at least at first) Vaughn seems unable to contain at any point the fact that his character is mad and, or an even more basic level, is just too imposing. His slightly "larger", less attractive version of Bates might be more akin to the original novel but as the novel is, frankly, dull and turgid that's hardly an excuse. Anne Heche may be a decent enough actress but she has none of the star power of Janet Leigh and even if, despite the original's ubiquity, you didn't know she was going to be killed off by half-time her death has little of the shock value that was so important to the original.

Filling the lesser roles in the films with "star names" somewhat misses the point as well. Viggo Mortensen is definately a better actor than John Gavin (or "the stiff" as Hitchcock called him) but in this "shot-for-shot" remake he's not afforded the opportunity to make the role his own.

IF Van Sant had made an attempt to do something different this movie might have been something worth watching but as it is it's just a mess and the small differences that Van Sant does make have no positive effect on the movie at all (do we really need such explicit information about what Vaughn's Norman Bates is doing whilst he watches Anne Heche in the shower?). If you're a Hitchcock fan this might have some small interest to you, if only to confirm to you that you were right all along, Hitchcock was a genius, but even if you could detach this movie from the original (which, to be honest, you can't) this would still be a dog of a movie which seemingly manages to totally miss the point about everything that made Psycho such a great movie in the first place.
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on 28 April 2016
This godawful and totally pointless attempt at a remake is so bad that one critic said the only reason to watch it was "to see Anne Heche being assassinated".

In my opinion the only thing worse than the film was the casting. Why would you cast Vince Vaughn? Not just as Norman Bates, why would you cast him as anything?

The only thing that would have saved this film would be the alternative ending that had Dexter show and put Vince out of all of our miseries.

A little harsh you say? You should see the alternative ending suggested for one of Vince's other turds, sorry, other films. The Break Up [DVD]
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on 8 January 2014
To spite the negative reviews of Vince Vaughn's portrayal of Norman Bates and peoples preference to the original film with Anthony Perkins. I felt that Vaughn gave a new light to the character and allowed a deeper insight into the Bates role and the mentality of the character.

Though the original will be an all time favourite, the remake deserves more then just to be regarded as a remake but something original in itself.
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on 3 June 2011
i grew up with the old classic from alfred hitchcock, and i must say compared to that this was a poor attempt of a remake! .. however classic version aside i still cant say that this was gr8. it did not have a scare edge to it at all and the acting from vince vaughn was to be honest a utter dissapointment!... i think this was one of the first films i seen him in and it made me not like his acting much. he cannot play the part of a nutcase at all. his perfpmance seemed a little false.. however overall the film itself is ok. i cant say i totally hated it and i cant say i liked it. hence why i gave it 3 stars. i will recommend you go for the original.
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on 26 October 2014
Let's get this clear - this isn't a remake of Hitchcock's masterpiece. Its a replica. A shot-for-shot exact replica. Its completely pointless, no matter how 'arty' the reasons for making it were at the time. Its also a soulless, self-indulgent pointless thing. Its as if van Sant is saying ... "Hey, look what I can so! A shot-for-shot replica of one of cinema's greatest works. I'm now a genius.

A pathetic waste of space on anyone's shelf.
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