Monday, September 3, 2007

Psycho 3

Hot on the heels of being really impressed by Psycho 2, I put this in, hoping the momentum would continue and the series would just keep being awesome all the way through. Well, that was obviously a silly pipe dream, but this one, with Anthony Perkins making his directing debut, still managed to be an entertaining film all the same.

To be sure, much like in Psycho 2, the worst part of the film comes right at the beginning. After the pretty carefully controlled second film I can’t say I was really expecting quite such a ridiculously over the top opening scene as I got here. We start off at a nunnery that has a frenzied nun threatening to plummet to her death while screaming “There is no God!” before accidentally killing a nun that’s trying to save her. After she’s summarily drummed out of the nunnery, she hits the road searching for a purpose and gets a ride from a guy that then tries to rape her in his car. After escaping him, both she and the car’s driver find themselves at the Bates Motel, where the film finally calms the hell down and gets good.

It’s set shortly after the events of the second film, so I can’t really go into too much detail about the plot once Norman gets involved without spoiling parts of that, but outside of the fairly absurd beginning it’s actually pretty involving. In a nice way of moving the series on (something few series in any genre bother to try), the girl tries to commit suicide again, but is rescued by Norman, who then becomes convinced that she is going to be his means of atoning for his past sins. Of course, the would-be rapist driver, now hired on as assistant manager of the hotel, finds out about some of Norman’s secrets, and his attempts at blackmail soon spiral downward and envelop the whole film in tragedy. If the beginning is too over-the-top, the climax manages to find just the right note, with Perkins’ acting and directing abilities finding just the right note to play each scene.

It would not be giving anything away to say that this ends in tragedy, when the first two were fairly tragic as well. Indeed, there is a surprising death in this film that once more echoes one from the original, and that is every bit as surprising and terrible as anything that can be found in the previous films. While I can’t give quite as glowing a recommendation of this as I did the second film, it’s still definitely worth watching, and offers more proof that you should hunt down the three pack of Psychos 2-4. Tomorrow you’ll of course get my review of Psycho 4: the Beginning, where you will learn how NOT to make a proper Psycho film. Until then...

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