Retro Review: PSYCHO II (1983)

How does Norman Bates sanity fair in color? – Bleeding Dead

Twenty years after the six murders at the Bate’s motel and Norman Bates legally being declared insane he is being sent home, having been cured in treatment. With a new job as an assistant cook and a rather positive outlook at getting better Norman seems to be set. Then Norman meets Mary, a young waitress at his work who’s been having issues with her boyfriend. After getting kicked out and Norman being the generous human being that he is he offers to let Mary stay at his house until she can get her stuff together. Mary and Norman develop a friendship which proves refreshing in Norman’s world as just about everyone expects him to kill again. Mary’s presence though ignites a bad string of events that lead Norman to believe that his mother could be alive again. But is it really Norman’s mother, or an angry vigilante, or is Norman’s beginning to lose the his new found poise in sanity? Then people begin to go missing and everyone looks to blame Norman, making him teeter more.

The tight script offers a tense thriller that keeps you guessing as to who’s behind the strange happenings at the Bate’s house. Unlike most those it wasn’t lucid, as opposed to most eighties horror where you can espy the murder five minutes into the film. It’s not immune to all bad eighties decisions though as I could tell, not being a psychiatrist, that having Norman move back to his mother’s house was more or less a very poor idea. Inevitably it would bring him to face demons that may be too strong for someone who’s just been released back into society. I don’t think the rehashing of the first film was necessary, especially the scene they chose. The shower scene is the most known scene but in relevance to the story in the second film I’d of chosen the reveal of Bates dressed as his mother, more appropriate seeing how that’s what it’s really about.

To a lot of people’s dismay on my part I like Norman Bates and continue to make an argument that he is the most likable person in the first film, albeit a insane murder but I’d much rather have dinner with him than Janet Leigh’s character, who may be the most incompetent criminal on film. This opinion holds true in the second film as again Perkins and Bates alike are the most contented characters on screen. Bate’s ascension from his mother’s overbearing womb and the possessed madness is convincingly pulled off by Perkins who takes to an almost child like innocence. I actually found Meg Tilly to not be good and often submit to a blank expression on her face. I swear the scene in the bedroom when she realizes Norman has a knife her face doesn’t change what so ever. Vera Miles return as Lila is great, a little eccentric of a part for her but an overall fun play. The film being dipped in color creates a smooth transfer from the black and white, a really cool shot at the beginning of the film that displays this. And as set design goes the Bates house is set with the proper amount of dust and wear to create the twenty year pass.

The film runs quite long though, having a two hour mark in which it started to drag towards what felt like should of been the end. And in speaking of the end I disliked it very strongly. I was not keen into changing the original history of Bate’s and his mother and even less so the explanation for why Norman was insane. PSYCHO II is really one of those film that falls in that better than you expected category. Though I feel its redundant, still. Psycho is just one of those films that need be left alone. Not a bad sequel or a stand alone film at that matter but its hard when your competing with the master of suspense. Yet a good solid creepy watch.

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  1 comment for “Retro Review: PSYCHO II (1983)

  1. March 23, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    I loved Psycho 2. I actually have a soft spot for the entire Psycho series. Didn’t care for Meg Tilly in this, but I loved how Anthony Perkins returned to the Bates Motel. He will always be Norman.

    I’m with you, in the fact that I like Norman Bates as a character. He’s likeable and, to a degree, relateable. 🙂

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