Sunday, September 2, 2007

Psycho 2

I had some rather mixed feelings going into this one. While I had heard some rather good things about it, sequels to horror movies are generally a pretty major step down from the original (assuming, of course, that the original was any good), particularly ones that get made over twenty years after the first. The only reason I got this, in fact, was because of its recent DVD release along with Psycho 3 and 4 in one $11 set. At that kind of price, it could have been four and a half hours of Anthony Perkins watching TV with ominous music playing and it would have been okay.

As it turned out, though, I needn’t have worried. This is one of the rare cases where a sequel winds up being every bit as good as the first one. It’s smart, it manages to play off of the original film without ever repeating it, it has a clever ending; in short it has everything a person could possibly want in a follow-up to a classic. This is despite the rather worrisome beginning, where they replay the shower scene from the original, in the rather dubious concern that there would be a single person in existence that would watch this film without having already seen the original.

The plot follows Norman Bates, freshly cured and out of the sanitarium, as he tries to adjust to life as a free man, while still being plagued by the memories of his mother. Soon, as we are all waiting for, the bodies begin to pile up, and it’s a case of trying to figure out if Norman has slipped back into his old habits, or if family of his earlier victims is now trying to frame him and get him locked up again. It provides for some genuinely tense moments as we see Norman slipping dangerously close to his old dementia, and there’s quality acting from just about everyone in the film, and from Perkins especially. There are also some clever nods to the original, as when there’s another stabbing near the end that plays as a nice twist on the old shower stabbing, and a final summation by the police that cleverly echoes the original summation, while also being completely wrong. I freely admit that most of the films I praise on this blog are great trash and nothing more, but this is actually a great film without any caveats needed. Go get the three pack now, you won’t regret it.

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