Considered as one of Hitchcock’s best films, Psycho is a thriller about a motel owner who turned out to be a killer. It’s based on a novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. I’ve never read the novel on which this was adapted from but I have seen the documentary of Ed Gein, the killer who the novel was based on. It’s so intimidating to review this classic because it’s considered to be one of the best films of all time and Hitchcock is one of the best directors of all time. But I will try my best to give review this film as best as I can.
After watching Psycho for the first time last weekend, I have to say it deserves all the credit it gained throughout the years. Yes it deserves all the money it grossed, it deserved to be considered one of the best films of all time and it definitely deserved all the succeeding references it got from all the movies after it. Above all else, I do think that Hitchcock was a genius when it comes to directing. Although this is the first and only Hitchcock film I’ve seen, I can already comprehend how great he was as a director. While watching each frame of this movie, I just can’t help but be in awe on how it looked. It was simply amazing scene after scene. I mean if you didn’t know this was made in 1960’s, you’ll think this was made in the 90’s set in the 60’s. The camera work was just phenomenal and I can’t help but be in awe on how ahead of its time this movie must have been when it was released.
Other than Hitchcock’s stamp on this movie, the other thing widely renowned about this movie was its score. Who could ever forget this movie’s score? I mean when you hear that music, you instantly turn around to make sure that Norman Bates isn’t behind you holding a knife. It was such a good score that it carried the movie to its high parts. Let’s just say that while watching the movie, whenever I hear that music, I instantly hold my breath due to the suspense. My brain automatically interpreted the music that I no longer needed to think what the music was portraying. The music had a life on its own and helped the movie along with its heightening tension.
The plot and dialogue of this movie was easy to understand. Despite being set in the 60’s, the screenplay was definitely easy to relate to. I mean being only as old as I am, I tend to shy away from old films because some of its dialogue feels alien to me. I really have a hard time trying to understand the content of the dialogue for the era. But in Psycho, they used such a simple dialogue that is clever but not too deep. And I’m not saying that dialogue is shallow, I just mean that you don’t need a lot of reference from that time to understand what they are saying. I mean when Norman said, “A boy’s best friend is his mother”, I laughed because the line was funny but haunting. I just mean they didn’t use too much layering in the dialogue and they just let the underlying context of the character speak for itself.
And lastly, the acting. I have to say that Tony Perkins was born to become Norman Bates. He had the mysterious shy but charming act down. Let’s just say if I were to check in at the Bates Motel, I’d probably accept his dinner invitation despite his mother and get killed in the process for being too attracted to him. He was both adorable and menacing at the same time that he personifies a psycho perfectly. Janet Leigh as Marion Crane was also phenomenal, I mean the shower scene definitely proved that she can carry on her role. She was also really convincing as the paranoid criminal who had no idea on how to do a criminal act. Her calculating nature and her nervous demeanor makes you feel like she’s an easy target for Norman Bates. Vera Miles, John Gavin and Martin Balsam were also good in the film but they in my opinion, was overshadowed by Tony Perkins.
For me, the highlight of this movie is not the shower scene although it is was amazing what they had accomplished there, but the most powerful scene was the ending when Norman fully transformed himself into his mother and he smiled. That smile sent chills down my spine and it will forever be imprinted on my brain. It was such a powerful moment when you realize that the shy and aloof Norman Bates would eventually become this haunting and menacing “woman”.
All in all, I would have to say I’d give Psycho a 5 out of 5 because it was just an outstanding movie. Not only was the direction and the score amazing but the acting was incredible. It takes you to an intelligent but gory (in a clean sense of it) suspense movie that you will never forget. It kicked silence of the lambs out of its spot as my favorite horror movie of all time. This movie is so good that I regret not watching it before posting my top 20 movies of all time because I feel that it should’ve been part of the list.