Psycho II - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Psycho II Reviews

Page 1 of 33
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2016
Everyone onscreen is having a high old time in this return to Hitchcock's masterpiece that begins, lest anyone's forgotten, in the shower (that shower) and from there we proceed to find out if modern medicine has cured ol' Norman Bates. But in truth does anyone want him better? Do even we want him better? Perkins et al dive into the deep end of the pool with salacious glee as we watch him twitch and squirm through every difficulty. Can he keep his sanity? No cast should ever be allowed to have this much fun.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2010
After twenty-two years, Norman Bates is deemed sane and released from the asylum. He returns to live at the motel, while taking up a job at a local diner. He befriends Mary Samuels, a young waitress also working at the diner, and lets her move into the house with him when she and her boyfriend split up. But suddenly Norman starts receiving phone calls and notes from his mother. These are followed by a series of murders. Norman is unable to tell whether he is going crazy or there is somebody else behind this.

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) is one of the most influential films ever made. Purportedly more term papers are written about Psycho in film school than any other film. Psycho not only influenced numerous copies, but it brought the modern horror out of the Gothic darkness of the 1930s and 40s and into a world of twisted Freudian psychology and screwed-up Puritanical sexuality that has remained a fundamental undertow of the psycho-thriller ever since.

Alfred Hitchcock passed away in 1980 and that seemed to act as signal that it was okay to approach the sacrosanct territory of sequelizing Psycho, probably something Hitchcock would never have okayed in his lifetime. Two Psycho sequels were first announced within less than a year of Hitchcock's death and both emerged in 1983 this film sequel, as well as Psycho II (1983), an unrelated novel by Robert Bloch, author of the original book that Psycho was based on. This film would then be followed by a whole host of other Psycho sequels, including Psycho III (1986), the cable-movie Psycho IV: The Beginning (1991), both with Anthony Perkins, a loosely related tv pilot Bates Motel (1987) that never sold, and then Gus Van Sant's bizarre shot-for-shot remake of the original Psycho (1998).

Psycho II makes an impressively scrupulous attempt to sequelize such a legendary work. It brings back both Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles from the original. Oscar-winner Jerry Goldsmith replaces the late Bernard Herrmann on score. And the director was the Australian Richard Franklin. While a student at the University of Southern California film school in the late 1960s, Franklin had invite Alfred Hitchcock in for a Q&A session. The two struck up a friendship and Hitchcock invited Franklin to come and visit him on the set of his last movies and became a mentor of sorts to him. In a nice touch the Meg Tilly part here was originally offered to Jamie Lee Curtis, who just had some success as the heroine in Halloween (1978). Jamie Lee was of course the daughter of Psycho's original shower victim Janet Leigh. Alas this never came to pass as Jamie Lee announced she was sick of slasher movie typecasting and refused any more genre roles, and the part was recast with Meg Tilly, who does a fine job.

Psycho II is a sublimely clever effort, sometimes a little too much for its own good. But Tom Holland's script is full of sly subtleties and often haunting dialogue. It is a script that gives the audience a real workout in the sharp twists and turns it convolutes through. And the ending holds a last neatly black surprise just when one thought the film had finished. Anthony Perkins soups up his range of expressions the film certainly casts him a more heroic role this time around. He?s quite creepy in his twitchiness and yet at the same time the two decades has allowed his boyishness to mellow into something inordinately likeable.

Director Richard Franklin has learnt well from the master. Franklin exactingly restages and quotes scenes from the original the shower murder, Arbogast's murder on the stairs and the venture down into the cellar but at the same time wittily subverts their familiarity. The new shocks he delivers have a classical orchestration that move with everything the contemporary slasher cycle did not. Certainly the violence is a lot more explicit and bloody than Hitchcock would have ever allowed in one of his films. The design team do a superb job of recreating the house in a perfect facsimile detail for detail to the original. Even the camerawork is determined to show off its cleverness with the use of massive wide-angle aerial shots and reflections off door handles.

Richard Franklin made a number of other films of genre interest are: Patrick (1979) about a psychic comatose patient, the excellent Hitchcock-influenced psycho-thriller Roadgames (1981), the children?s film Cloak and Dagger (1984), the killer chimpanzee film Link (1986) and the subtly effective ghost story Visitors (2003). Franklin has also directed a reasonable amount of tv, including the pilots for genre series such as Beauty and the Beast (1987-90) and The Lost World (1999-2000).

Screenwriter Tom Holland delivered a number of other genre scripts including The Initiation of Sarah (1978), the revenge drama Class of 1984 (1982), the transformation film The Beast Within (1982), the slasher film Scream for Help (1984) and Cloak and Dagger. Holland subsequently went onto direct the vampire film Fright Night (1985); Child?s Play (1988), which started off the whole Chucky franchise; the psycho secretary tale The Temp (1993); and the Stephen King adaptations The Langoliers (tv mini-series, 1995) and Thinner (1996).
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2012
Pretty effective sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 horror masterwork is pretty good considering that this one had the daunting task of following up one of the greatest works in the horror genre.
The film happens twenty two years after the events of the first film, and surrounds Norman Bates again played with silent intensity by actor Anthony Perkins. Bates has now been released from the asylum, being declared sane by his psychologist. However, things go back to normal and Bates is far from sane. As far as sequels are concerned, this is pretty good, but of course it's nowhere as close as the original. Psycho II takes a more Slasher oriented approach to the original, which relied more on suspense and acting to create its terror. This follow-up tends to rely more on its Slasher formula to create the thrills, and it does that fairly well, but considering that this is a sequel to Hitchcock's masterwork, it is very hard to top. The film is well executed to make for an entertaining and thrilling two hours, but is never anything grand or remotely memorable. Anthony Perkins delivers a great performance as his iconic character Norman Bates, and he is what keeps you interested from start to finish. There's a strange sense that the lead actress's character has a constant sense of protection for Norman Bates, and it adds something unique to the atmosphere and tone of the picture. Fun and entertaining Psycho II will probably divide fans of the original, but in the end it is mindless entertainment and if you see it as such, you'll probably like it. Just don't go expecting the same cinematic experience that Hitchcock's classic offered.
Super Reviewer
½ September 14, 2012
Psycho II is the surprisingly fantastic sequel that flies in the face of what you would expect from a gap of 23 years and a different director (let alone someone trying to match Hitchcock). Psycho II works by being an emotionally charged and thought provoking film first and a horror second. The film sees Norman Bates deemed sane and let out into the public once more, much to the annoyance of Lila Loomis. Bates is returned home to where it all began, and he starts a job at a diner. However, things starts going wrong when Norman begins hearing voices and receiving notes from his long dead mother. It also seems as though someone is in the house with Norman, and it isn't long before people start dying. The film works as a nerve shredding psychological horror. Despite having killed people before, Bates is entirely sympathetic. He really is trying to get on with his life, and battles hard against his demons. There's a wonderfully human scene in which Bates recalls the cheese toasted sandwiches his mother used to make him. He seems so innocent now, that it really hurts to see people react violently and hostile towards him. Bates strikes up a friendship with Mary, a girl from the local diner. She is both a help and a hindrance to Bates, comforting him one moment, and then making him uneasy with her suspicions the next. Franklin does well in underplaying his techniques. After all, they'd always be compared to Hitchcock. He plays some cinematic puns, especially when one character takes a completely innocent and threatless shower, but Franklin uses the same shots as the infamous scene in the original. Perkins' performance is very sympathetic, but he also knows that this vulernability is what makes him so terrifying. Just a single glance at a knife has our eyes open wide with fear at the possibilities. I also loved the supporting characters as they would often defy convention. Hugh Gillin is excellent as Sheriff Hunt, as he isn't the typical "I got my eye on you boy" police officer. He is very caring, reasonable, and actually looks fondly at Norman. The film is about second chances, and how sometimes society is just as much to blame in their treatment of certain perpetrators,. Is Norman behind these latest killings? If he is is it the behaviour of others that leads him down this path? Is it best to forgive and forget? Great questions in an intense and involving film. This should be looked at when constructing any sequel.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2007
Of course Psycho 2 can't live up to the original, but if you divorce it of it's shadow it's got some nice twists and turns of it's own. Directed by Richard "Road Games" Franklin Psycho 2 is worth watching on a lazy weekend.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2010
A pretty good sequel to a classic horror movie, it's hard to make sequels really, and they did their best. I just thank God that Perkins could be in these sequels, without him they'd be horrible. The story is good, as it continues the life of Norman Bates, and Perkins does a good job as usual. Overall, pretty good.
Super Reviewer
½ April 26, 2007
Brilliant sequel to the original classic. In the same vein as 2010: The Year We Make Contact, somebody decided to make a sequel to a masterpiece a couple of decades later - and I think they did a terrific job.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2007
Norman Bates is back after 22 years locked in a mental hospital for murdering people. He comes home apparently cured and gets a job in a Diner in a attempt to build a normal life, but he starts hearing voices again, his mother's voice and people start getting killed. Has Norman lost his mind again or is it someone else trying to make Norman go mad again.

22 years is a long wait for a sequel, a very long wait, after the masterpiece that was Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", comes "Psycho 2" despite not having Hitchcock in the Director's chair, this sequel still manages to be a worthy follow up. Richard Franklin does a good job with maintaining the suspense and the atmosphere displaying a truly Gothic scenery which I loved, I'm glad that they focused more on the characters and setting the mood rather than just going all out with the splatter like they did with other slasher movies at the time, don't get me wrong this sequel does have it bloody moments, the body count is bigger this time, I also liked that this movie has a twist at the end like the first one, although not as good, but again I didn't see that coming.

Anthony Perkins again does a brilliant job as Norman Bates, bringing more sympathy to the role and giving him a lot more to do this time round adding more layers and depth to his character. Meg Tilly (Mary) truly shines as Norman's co-worker and friend, the chemistry really worked between her and Norman, another cast member of Psycho 1 is back and that is Lila Loomis played brilliantly by Vera Miles, she's gone all manic this time round hell bent on putting Norman back in the looney bin at any cost, she wasn't very sympathectic this time round and Robert Loggia (Dr Raymond) brings greatness to his character as Norman's doctor, I liked the fact that he was understanding and helping Norman rebuild his life, showing that he's not just a doctor but a friend, I really liked that element in the movie.

All in all, although it's not quite the masterpiece the first one was, but a well and truly worthy follow up
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2007
A good horror when some eerie, scary moments!
Super Reviewer
½ December 25, 2007
Much better than expected
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2008
I'm sure in 1983 people were screaming about what kind of asshole would make a sequel to Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock's shower scaring, sexual orientation bending masterpiece. Well, they did it and they actually pulled it off. The movie isn't simple '80's slash and burn with a retard in a mask. It's plot is simple compared to most Hitchcock flciks, but Richard Benjamin pulls it off. Hey, at least it wasn't the remake.
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2007
Surprisingly well made sequel finds Norman being released from prison after 22 years. He goes home only to be tormented by a woman claiming to be his REAL mother. Who would have thought a sequel to an Alfred Hitchcock movie could be this good.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2007
A great thriller which continues the Psycho tradition. Norman Bates is relesae from the mental hospital 22 years later and the killings begin again. There are nice twists: Is Norman doing all the killings? Has his mother come back? What role does the young Mary play in all this? It's totally cool how we revisit some of the scenes from the classic original.
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2007
The belated sequel came 23 years after the original was made, and seems like a very bad idea. But strangely, it works. The premise behind it is actually quite good, but unfortunately it's impossible to go into details without ruining the plot...suffice to say, give it a chance. It's better than you'd think!
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2007
Norman Bates released after 23 years later from the asylum and returned to his motel, but Vera Miles from the original goes after him for vengeance. Although this unnecessary sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's classic is pretty well done, it's clever rather than frightening and breaks no new ground. Colour doesn't help either.
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2007
None of the sequels were good at all.
Super Reviewer
½ December 6, 2006
Kind of weak as it took the legacy of THE slasher film and made it just a typical slasher film. Not a total loss but obviously not the original.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2013
A compelling psychological thriller, Psycho II picks up where the Hitchcock classic left off. The story follows the release of Norman Bates from a mental institution as he attempts to reintegrate back into society, but forces conspire against him as he once again hears Mother's call. The writing is rather impressive and finds a nice balance of honoring the Hitchcock classic while also exploring new territory. Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles return, and are joined by Meg Tilly and Robert Loggia. The directing is also well-done, though it's clearly not up to Hitchcock's level. Full of intrigue and suspense, Psycho II is a strong follow-up to a masterpiece.
Mark H.
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2011
22 years removed from the original classic horror film and more a distant cousin than a real sequel, Psycho II is a good horror movie, especially the first half. That's when the film focuses on creating atmosphere and on Norman Bates' quirky character, and here the film is actually very good. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie succumbs to unnecessary graphic violence, diminishing the movie overall. In the end, this is still a very respectable scary movie, and one whose strengths overcome its weaknesses. Great Jerry Goldsmith score.
Page 1 of 33