Psycho is a classic, and sequels are almost always pathetic. Sequels usually try to play off the same old formula, add a little more gore, and hope for the best. Psycho II is not one of those sequels. It is a well-crafted, original, and brilliant piece of work. It's about as different as Psycho as it can be, while still retaining the same terror and, of course, the psychotic Norman Bates.
Once again, Norman Bates is the real victim. Just as in the first one, he's a nice person... Just with a few attitude problems. And actually, in Psycho II, he is the victim of a larger scheme- Someone is posing as his mother... Or is it really his mother? These questions remain until the last five minutes of the film, which makes the movie extremely suspenseful. The whole time, I wasn't completely sure who the real killer was- It could be Norman, it could be Mary, it could be Lila, it could be the psychiatrist, or it really could be his mother. The fact is you don't know, and that's what drives Psycho II.
Anthony Perkins resumes the role of Norman Bates, and, since he's a little more sane than before, he's a different person- but still does an excellent job. Just like in the first movie, his mental stability withers throughout the film, and Perkins expresses this vividly through dialogue, facial expressions, and actions. He is supported by a strong cast, including Vera Miles, the sister from the original film.
Psycho II was a little gorier than the first, and not quite as simple, but it was suspenseful the whole time through and, while it can't beat the original, it is almost as good.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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