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Psycho (1998)

tomatometer

37

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 48

Van Sant's pointless remake neither improves or illuminates Hitchcock's original.

38

Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 10

Van Sant's pointless remake neither improves or illuminates Hitchcock's original.

audience

29

liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 67,474

My Rating

Movie Info

Independent film director Gus Van Sant attempts a first in American film history: a shot-by-shot remake of the classic 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. With a few minor, modern-day changes (including filming it in color), his version is essentially the same film with a different cast and the same Bernard Hermann music. Psycho was and still is the story of Marion Crane (previously played by Janet Leigh and now by Anne Heche), an adulterous woman who steals a stack of money from her boss and

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Joseph Stefano

Jun 8, 1999

Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (81) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (48) | DVD (16)

Contains nothing to outrage or offend partisans of the original, yet neither does it stand to add much to their appreciation.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hitchcock probably wouldn't tell this story if he was making films today, and he certainly wouldn't tell it this way, with internal 'voices', back projection, minimal nudity and violence.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is an invaluable experiment in the theory of cinema, because 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie lacks the chutzpah to even be a travesty.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So much of Van Sant's 'new' version of the classic remains the same that you sit there shaking your head, mumbling, why, oh, why?

January 1, 2000
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cast is fantastic, sure, but they're wasted in a sea of redundancy.

October 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

failed project

April 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

What Van Sant's film does, tremendously well, is make the material foreign again.

December 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

a true labour of love, an homage in such deliriously infatuated thrall to its inspiration that it seems more arthouse folly than studio cashcow - or, to cite the psychiatrist near the end of Psycho, "these were crimes of passion, not profit."

October 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

A futile, soulless shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock's masterpiece.

August 7, 2012
EmanuelLevy.Com

Already my mother and I mourn the day when some AVID editor will dare to digitally tweak Vertigo, spinning it into a virtual romantic comedy starring computer-directed replicas of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul | Comment (1)

...the Hitchcock film relied for its effects on originality and creativity. Van Sant's remake substitutes rote repetition and cliches that have long since lost their value.

September 16, 2008 Full Review Source: ESplatter
ESplatter

Psycho doesn't do much for Van Sant, and he doesn't do much for Psycho.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Vaughn's Norman Bates is much inferior because he lacks the natural neurosis of Anthony Perkins.

August 13, 2007
FulvueDrive-in.com

Deserves closer consideration than it received.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The movie doesn't stink. The performances are good, potentially great, especially Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates, but he owns a scene just for doing that psychotic giggle of his.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A lot of people may not get the point of recreating a work such as Psycho. I didn't get it, until I saw the film.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Personally, I found the remake weaker than the original (which was only vaguely interesting anyway; then again, it's pretty much the same movie).

April 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

To my absolute astonishment, I enjoyed the remake more than the original.

January 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Blather | Comments (6)
Film Blather

franky it sucks

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: sbs.is | Comments (2)

Gus Vant Sant has remade Alfred Hitchcock's classic slasher film with so much reverence and so little originality that it is not clear what the point is.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

It's surprising to note that this film, mostly well-acted, is somewhat lacking on the technical side, which is what Hollywood usually does best these days.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

A Psycho that functions perfectly on its own terms while polishing this jewel of a thriller into its own bright new gleam.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

Audience Reviews for Psycho

Norman Bates: She might have fooled me, but she didn't fool my mother.

"Check in. Relax. Take a shower."

Not only is it argued that this Psycho is just a pointless remake of a brilliant classic; it is fact. There's no real reason for a shot by shot remake of Hitchcock's brilliant and influential piece of horror/psychological thriller history. As it is though, I still have a hard time hating it. It's well made, updated, and the theme of sexuality is more at the forefront, or at least more obvious. This is a movie that I neither like or dislike. It merely exists.

Norman runs the Bates Motel, and when Marion Crane, a woman who has just run from Phoenix with $400,000, stops by, things get interesting. There's no point in really talking about the plot any further than that because if you've seen the original, it's the exact same and if you haven't, I wouldn't want to ruin it for you, but definitely check out the original because it is one of the best movies ever made period.

I have a lot of respect for Gus Van Sant and the way he goes about making movies. He never expected this to be a well received movie, but it was a project that he personally wanted to do. You have to appreciate a filmmaker who is making films for himself and not a mass audience, and that is Gus Van Sant. So while I don't see a real reason for making this, I don't hate that he did. I don't believe he disrespected the original and if anything, it should serve as more of a tribute than anything. 

Hate it or tolerate it, Gus Van Sant's Psycho exists. The cast is pretty good, besides the fact that I didn't love Vince Vaughn as Norman. The Rest of the cast is pretty much perfect though, especially William H. Macy as the private detective. So I'm not going to recommend this, but if you are a big fan of the original and of Van Sant, it's not as worthless a movie as everyone would have you believe.
June 11, 2013
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Horror fans really should thank Gus Van Sant for his experimental "copy exactly" approach to re-making the horror classic Psycho. Just modernizing the original with a bigger budget takes no creativity and falls into the tedium and redundancy which most horror fan's hate. Gus Van Sant's Psycho remake, where nearly every scene is "copied exactly," is a perfect example of this. It was simply BORING.

Even for those that never saw this first, the pacing is just too slow for the high-octane generations of the 90's and beyond.

For a re-make to resonate with an audience that knows the original by heart, it has to deliver a new and different version while staying within the bounds of the original framework.

We should be thankful because no director will try this again. For the secret formula to successful horror re-makes, watch 2012's The Evil Dead, 2004's Dawn of the Dead or David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986).
April 6, 2013
Mark Beckford

Super Reviewer

A remake can be a good thing, though oftentimes they infringe on the original content and don't make a statement themselves. The 1998 remake of the classic Hitchcockian "Psycho" is not trying to make any bold statements throughout its run. Instead Van Sant decides to do a shot for shot remake of the film, using the same camera angles, cinematography, and only updating technology and references, yet not reinvisioning the characters. Still, none of the actors comes across as their original characters. Norman Bates was such a huge presence in the film, and he is the namesake of the film, so the other major characters came off as minor caricatures in Bates' little game of self-hatred and psychosis. Van Sant put in a lot of work trying to make his A-list stars recreate the tension and exhausting thrill of the original. Heche is so timid throughout, especially those shots of her headlong in the car which make her seem so small. Between her and Vaughan, the two of them seem like kids playing in their parents too big clothes. Vaughan also is wrong for this, but not because his performance was such a change from the original. Vaughan is wrong, wrong, wrong for this part in so many ways it boggles the mind. Besides not being able to pull off a serious role, he can't embody creepy. Perkins was creepy because of his slight, lean frame, his clawed fingers around that knife, buggered eyes, and though he was so quiet and calm throughout, the ending is only slightly a surprise, only lightly out of the realm of possibility. Moore is far too forceful, Macy stayed true to the original character but barely resonates, and Mortensen is clumsy as a let loose pig. The colors in this are post-modernist and glaring, as the blood dribbles onto white tiles, the Navajo sun over the desert stretch of highway, the deep red of the bathroom walls. It's disgustingly gluttonous and that's all because the original was in black and white Van Sant does do an impressive job of recreating the original sets, but it's just another instance of a complete copy. Some key scenes, including the disposal of the body, showing Marion slashed and torn apart by knife wounds, lost the insidious edge the film was at least trying to cultivate. Also, the fact that we never see Vaughan use the mother's voice, and it's off camera, was an obvious ploy to keep the heavy baritone of Vaughan's voice from coming off as cheesy in a fake old woman's croon. It's trying too hard to be the original, and even as an experiment it is beyond exhausting.
February 12, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

One of the most curious films ever. I used to think that it was unthinkable to remake a film so classic, but this proved that all bets are off.

I do have to give some credit here. It takes a lot of guts to remake a film of this caliber and notoriety, let alone do it shot-for-shot and in color. However, as noble as this effort may be, it's really pretty pointless overall.

Some of the cast and performances are okay, but don't hold a candle to the original, which can be said of the film overall.

Van Sant said he made this simply so others wouldn't have to, and, while it is a curious experiment, I really can't give much of a reason for why it should exist.
January 20, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Norman Bates: We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?
    – Submitted by jared s (2 years ago)
    1. Norman Bates: A boy's best friend is his mother.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Norman Bates: We all go a little mad sometimes.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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