Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Director: Richard Franklin
Writer: Tom Holland, Robert Bloch
Genre: Horror: Thriller, Slasher
I don't know the history behind the making of Psycho II but I have a feeling it wasn't pleasant. The original Psycho is without a doubt a thriller classic to most movie fans. With such a well-known title it was probably the case that this sequel drew a lot of ire. Sure, modern movies get a lot of hate for remaking the old stuff, but to attempt to continue the story of Psycho must have taken guts. That, or a ton of greed.
Anyway, the film itself still has all the setpieces that made the classic - Bates Motel, home, "mother", etc. Despite all the effort to make it feel like the original though it doesn't make it. The movie seems to take cues from what the modern audience might have liked to see, instead of what made it good to begin with. It at points wants to maintain a mysterious and creepy atmosphere but then goes overboard.
For example, there is one scene that is obviously meant to play off the original. Someone is by the stairs and you know they're going to fall. I was wondering if they would attempt to replicate the creative camerawork of the original where the man fell down the stairs. However, judging that we would know this is coming, instead the character topples off the side of the railing and plummets straight down. The film is much harsher, and in fact, a bit too focused on getting the "kill shot".
This is why it feels like they were trying to appeal to modern moviegoers. At the same time though it also tries to play a straight mystery tale which may be too much for that same audience to bear. Where Psycho II finds itself is in a spot that is both appealing and unappealing to most audiences. There are parts for them to like but then others which will ruin the experience. I thought the film was fine but not worth the name Psycho.
PS: I did find Norman Bates' struggle in the film intriguing, until the film decides to take the easy road out with him. Such a shame to put all that effort to waste in the end.