The 1960 'Psycho' is one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films and while it is high up in my list of "scariest films of all time" it doesn't stop it from being a personal favourite. Mainly for the cinematography, Hitchcock's direction, the music score and Anthony Perkins.
Hearing that 'Psycho' had three sequels, my immediate reaction was what's the point especially considering the fiasco that was the 1998 remake. It did strike me initially that 'Psycho' was perfect as it was and didn't need a sequel, let alone three as well as a telefilm spin-off and remake. The first sequel, finally getting round to watching the sequels after a little arm twisting, turned out to be surprisingly good. Not just being a worthy follow-up but also a well above average film in its own way. Is it as good as Hitchcock's film? Not a chance, not as scary or as suspenseful. But considering that expectations were dubious 'Psycho II' was so much better than expected.
'Psycho II' starts to drag ever so slightly towards the end and occasionally feels a touch over-plotted. Sadly too the ending is ridiculous and undermines the actually very neat execution of the rest of the film.
On the other hand, 'Psycho II' boasts some very stylish and moody cinematography and the setting is still eerie even in colour. Jerry Goldsmith proves himself to be a more than worthy successor to Bernard Hermann, enormous shoes to fill considering Hermann's score in the 1960 film is one of the most iconic chilling music scores in cinema. Goldsmith's score here is lush and ominously haunting without ever intruding.
Franklin directs beautifully, having a real knack for creating a creepy atmosphere and suspenseful touch, not quite the unequalled Hitchcockian touch but it is the closest the sequels ever get to having anything resembling it. The script is clever and taut with some touches of darkly wicked humour, while the story is on the most part very neatly paced, highly atmospheric and always coherent with some very imaginative twists.
As for the performances, they are also strong. Anthony Perkins returns in his most iconic role and proves that only one person can play this character. Meg Tilly and Vera Miles are very credible too while Dennis Franz and Robert Loggia provide some necessary grit.
In summary, surprisingly good and worthy first sequel to a classic. Doesn't disgrace it at all. 7/10 Bethany Cox
Now declared legally sane, Norman Bates is released from a mental institution after spending 22 years in confinement over the protests of Marion Crane's sister Lila Loomis, who insists that he's still a killer and that the court's indifference to his victims by releasing him is a gross miscarriage of justice. Norman returns to his motel and the old Victorian mansion where his troubles started, and history predictably begins to repeat itself.
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October 09, 2013 at 11:54 AM