Thursday, 26 February 2015

Psycho Film Review

Alfred Hitchcock
Run Time: 109 minutes
 Figure 1: Movie poster

 A marvel in suspenseful film making, Hitchcock's Psycho is undoubtedly the beginning of the Slasher movie genre and a masterpiece of a movie. Thanks to its signature Hitchcock cinematography and direction as well as the unprecedented death of the Film's supposed main character early on in the feature.

Figure 2: Janet Leigh as Marion Crane

The poster girl of this movie, Janet Leigh, known as Marion Crane for this story, is set up to be the main protagonist of the story. However in a twist so surprising that even audiences didn't see it coming at the time. Hitchcock axes off his star so early in the film that you are left thinking what the remaining hour is going to be filled with. "After half a century of terror, Psycho is still ensuring that no one feels safe in the shower." (Kermode,2010)  With the death of the main character come's one of the most memorable and influential scenes in all of film history. The famous Shower scene. A scene on par with the Empire state scene in King Kong (1933). 

Figure 3: Shots from the "Shower" scene

This scene made up of 70 camera set ups, 78 pieces of film and no actual shots of the knife used to kill Crane ever piercing her flesh."Masterful suspense and horror from one of the greats"(Shaffer,2010). A restriction that most film makers now a days couldn't re create whilst also creating the huge amount of suspense that was achieved by Hitchcock, who at the time was limited to the levels of nude flesh that he can show on screen, a limitation that modern filmmakers also aren't limited by. 

The rest of the movie is a cat and mouse type situation with our chief suspect Norman Bates   trying to cover up the gruesome murders that follow and protecting his elusive yet somewhat controlling mother, who we never see until the end of the film, only hear her disjointed voice from the old house from which she resides.  Anthony Perkins plays Bates excellently, drawing us into the secluded, off nature of Normal Bates and his relationship with his Mother. Its this performance that makes the film gripping and thought provoking.  Forever wondering what is going through his mind as event's unfold, Ultimately ending in a twist, worthy of classic Shyamalan.

Figure 4: Norman Bates

"It blazed a bloody trail for the much-loved slasher cycle, but it also assured us that a B-movie could be A-grade in quality and innovation."(Jenkins,2010) While very similar to some of the early slasher films of the past 20 years, cheesy and cliche' in their plots and acting. Psycho surpasses the notion of B-movie slasher flicks and has become a critically acclaimed movie, and one of Hitchcock's best endeavors. 


Mark Kermode, The Guardian,, 22nd October,2010. Accessed 4th February 2015

R.L Shaffer, IGN,, October 21, 2010. Accessed 4th February 2015

David Jenkins, Time Out,, March 30th 2010, Accessed 4th February 2015


Figure 1: Psycho Movie Poster

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