Psycho II

Critics Consensus

Although it can't hold a cleaver to the classic original, Psycho II succeeds well enough on its own merits to satisfy horror fans.



Total Count: 34


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,019
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Movie Info

A sequel to one of the most popular horror films of all time, this psychological thriller received a pleasantly surprised, positive critical reception. Anthony Perkins returns as Norman Bates, who has just been released from an insane asylum after 22 years, having been judged clinically sane by the State of California over the objections of Lila Crane Loomis (Vera Miles), sister to one of Norman's murder victims. Norman returns home to the hotel and hilltop mansion he once inhabited with his mother. As a parole condition, Norman is hired at a local diner, where he struggles to join mainstream society, despite the stares of patrons aware of his past. At the diner, Norman befriends Mary (Meg Tilly), a waitress, and it seems that he may be putting some semblance of a life back together. But then Norman begins to experience hallucinatory encounters with his long-dead mother, including a handwritten note, a phone call, and a sighting of her standing at her favorite window. Is Norman's psychosis manifesting itself again, or are old enemies attempting to drive him back into an institution? As the pressure mounts, bodies pile up, and Norman's fragile hold on normality becomes more and more tenuous.


Critic Reviews for Psycho II

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (14)

  • Franklin's consummate handling of suspense, black humour and several paradigm-shifting twists mak[e] this a worthy sequel to the original, and a convincing evocation of the old master's ghost.

    Jul 31, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Director Richard Franklin deftly keeps the suspense and tension on high while dolling out dozens of shock-of-recognitions shots drawn from the audience's familiarity with Psycho.

    Oct 20, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Though far from a worthy successor to the original (but why make impossible demands?) the film clearly could have been much worse.

    Oct 20, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Scary and fun, it's as worthy a sequel as one might reasonably expect.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It is a craftsman-like piece of filmmaking with a suitably flaky performance by Perkins, but it isn't really a sequel to Psycho. It continues the story, but not the spell.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • That it's about as chilly a movie as ever delighted the mass market is beside the point, in view of its exuberantly macabre craftsmanship.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Psycho II

  • Feb 08, 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.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 03, 2016
    There's something almost sinful about knocking this tragically underrated classic. It does everything a good sequel should aspire to and then does a lot more. There's a fresh take on the concept that really works, and the twists are ingenious. In the original, Hitchcock was trying to take what was essentially a tacky, pulpy concept and make it work, and that's of course what he did. And he did it by finding an innovative and devilishly clever way of telling the story. Well they did it again with the sequel damn it! lt's almost like people are afraid to consider it a good or great movie from the outset because it has too much to contend with, like being in the shadow of the original and because it wasn't Hitchcock directing, and so on...............Open your mind, and get involved, this is a brilliant movie.
    Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2013
    15 years before Jamie Lee Curtis returned to the 'Halloween' franchise in 'H20' Perkins did the same thing with his most famous character and by and large produced a very effective sequel to a classic Hitchcock film. The plot is cleverly thought out and thankfully it's not a complete copy of the original. Perkins steps back into the role brilliantly and produces a sympathetic turn as Norman. The return of Miles is a nice touch and Franklin does a good job replicating certain shots but also expanding the 'Psycho' universe. The film is also nicely scored by Jerry Goldsmith. The twist at the end is a little absurd but will bring a smile to most faces. Definitely one of the better sequels to a classic.
    David S Super Reviewer

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