Psycho (1998)



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

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Marion Crane is a Phoenix, Arizona working girl fed up with having to sneak away during lunch breaks to meet her lover, Sam Loomis, who cannot get married because most of his money goes towards alimony. One Friday, Marion's employer asks her to take $400,000 in cash to a local bank for deposit. Desperate to make a change in her life, she impulsively leaves town with the money, determined to start a new life with Sam in California. As night falls and a torrential rain obscures the road ahead of her, Marion turns off the main highway. Exhausted from the long drive and the stress of her criminal act, she decides to spend the night at the desolate Bates Motel. The motel is run by Norman Bates, a peculiar young man dominated by his invalid mother. After Norman fixes her a light dinner, Marion goes back to her room for a shower....
R (for violence and sexuality/nudity)
Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
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Anne Heche
as Marion Crane
Vince Vaughn
as Norman Bates
Viggo Mortensen
as Sam Loomis
William H. Macy
as Milton Arbogast
Julianne Moore
as Lila Crane
Robert Forster
as Dr. Simon
Chad Everett
as Tom Cassidy
Rance Howard
as Mr. Lowry
Philip Baker Hall
as Sheriff Chambers
Anne Haney
as Mrs. Chambers
Rita Wilson
as Caroline
James Remar
as Patrolman
James LeGros
as Car Dealer
Steven Clark Pachosa
as Police Guard
O.B. Babbs
as Mechanic
as Bob Summerfield
Marjorie Lovett
as Woman Customer
Ryan Cutrona
as Chief of Police
Ken Jenkins
as District Attorney
Roy Brocksmith
as Alfred Hitchcock (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Psycho

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (16)

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

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film is polished when it should be edgy and impersonal when it should be seductive.

December 31, 1999
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

A lot less scary!

December 31, 1999
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Van Sant has cranked up the realism about 20 points, but somehow what he achieves for the effort is a larger sense of banality!

December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

It remains the most structurally elegant and sneakily playful of thrillers!

December 31, 1999
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Don't know why there's so much hate for this remake. Hitchcock was great, but there's nothing wrong with imitation if it freshens or adds new dimensions. As Mattheson said, "What is borrowed must be repaid with interest." Handel openly copied others' works to great acclaim -- even copying and reshaping his own earlier music. So did Mozart when he recast Handel's Messiah and Acis & Galetea. As did Brahms in his "remake": Variations on a Theme of Haydn. Or Benjamin Britten's A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (which "borrowed" it's theme from Henry Purcell). Even Alfred Hitchcock's remake of "The Man Who Know Too Much" was much better than the original -- directed 25-30 years earlier by Alfred Hitchcock! I'm just saying: lay off the hate. It's no insult to have a new approach to a classic...and it's a tribute to the quality of the original when a major artist (like Van Sant) remakes/revises a cinematic masterpiece.

Christian C
Christian C

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).

Mark Beckford
Mark Beckford

Super Reviewer

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