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Posted on 9/29/11 11:57 PM
I was a bit skeptical in knowing this film, unlike the first, was not directed by Alfred Hitchcock, but the fact that it has returning actors (including Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates) was enough motivation for me to give it a spin.
Norman, now declared clinically sane after electroshock therapy has zapped all remaining memories of his mother, is released out into the open where he will attempt living a normal life -- much to the objections of Lila Loomis (Vera Miles) and her supporters, consisting mostly of family and friends of Bates's known victims.
Norman starts a job at the local diner, where he meets a young waitress (Meg Tilly) who has no home to go to after her boyfriend "breaks up with her" over the phone. Lonely, Norman invites Mary to stay at the Bates Motel, and then into his mother's old house. However, a mixture of notes and phone calls from someone claiming to be Norman's "real" mother along with a sudden new string of murders and disappearances begin stirring up an old way of thinking in Norman that isn't quite as gone as he had hoped.
Norman's relationship with Mary is among one of the most interesting concepts of the story, and does seem to explore sides of his character not displayed with Marion in the first film. Sadly, Mary's alliance with her mother, Lila, and the effects of their plans to "drive Norman crazy" backfire on everyone, including themselves.
Near the end, the movie almost has an old-school Wes Craven influence to it due to how fast the bodies begin to drop coupled with the plot's progression from slowly-unraveling-mystery to sheer insanity, and Norman, well... looks like he got his "real" mother back. Sort of.
All-in-all, I thought the film was pretty "okay", especially for a sequel to a cult classic with a different director. For these reasons, it's hard to believe the movie could have been anything better than what it is, though it probably could have been much worse.