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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
Cast
Anthony Perkins
Vera Miles
Meg Tilly
Robert Loggia
Dennis Franz.
Directors
Richard Franklin.
Screenwriters
Tom Holland.
Running Time
minutes

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Psycho II
It's twenty years on and Norman Bates is out of the asylum and cured...or is he?


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Plot
Norman Bates is released from an insane asylum, despite the protests of the sister of his most famous victim. Returning to his home, Norman worries that his mother has returned to torment him.


Review

A two-decades-on sequel to a true classic might sound like a terrible idea, but Psycho II is a smart, blackly-comic thriller. 
 
Remembering that the original was as much mystery as shocker, screenwriter Tom Holland weaves a clever, surprising plot around Norman Bates. Here, the fragile, nearly-sane Norman is besieged by insensitive clods like the manager (Dennis Franz, wonderfully crass) who has been getting the Bates Motel a bad reputation as ‘an adult motel’ and a callous plot by the vindictive Lilah (Vera Miles, returning to her old role) to drive him crazy again. 
 
Meg Tilly is interestingly ambiguous as a waitress who befriends Norman, but turns out to be part of the plot against him – and unwittingly the cause of a last-reel disaster as she becomes one of several surrogate mothers to take up the wig, dress and knife.
 
 The wittiest dark joke is that the entire world wants Norman to be mad, and ‘normality’ can only be restored if he’s got a mummified mother in the window and is ready to kill again.
 
 Director Richard Franklin stages ‘80s-style gore effects but seems more interested in character quirks. 
 
Though two further sequels show some decline in quality, they’re still interesting: Psycho III, directed by Perkins, finds Norman nearly entering a relationship with an equally screwed-up woman, a suicidal ex-nun (Diana Scarwid); and Psycho IV: The Beginning, directed for TV by Mick Garris from a script by Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stefano, delves into the backstory as Perkins recounts Norman’s early life - with terrific work from Henry Thomas as young Norman and an unexpected Olivia Hussey as Mother.


Verdict
Surprisingly, even after waiting 20 years, they managed to turn out a smart, darkly-comic thriller with some imaginitive twists.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Psycho II
Empire Star Rating

Not bad

Iconic hotel, iconic character and a few laugh out loud moments. I liked it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sephiroth7 at 10:04, 03 July 2012 | Report This Post


Re-Checking In To the Bates Motel.

Psycho, is basically an art form. But sadly just like Marion Crane, it was butchered by numerous sequels and a remake. But before it was laid to rest, Psycho II was made, as surprisingly good. Norman is back after 23 years, along with returning star, Vera Miles as Lila Crane, who now altough completely ignored in the film, has now married to the deceased Sam Loomis. With support from the excellent Meg Tilly as Lila's daughter who provides a good but not as shocking plot twist. The film goes down... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kurtis93 at 22:35, 01 April 2010 | Report This Post


Psycho 2

One of the better sequels in horror folklore. If you don't take it too seriously and take it as it is there is a good twisted little film here. A fantastic performance from Anthony Perkins at its core, playing Norman Bates with touches of dark humour and at times towering menace, its good to see him return to the role he's so associated with. Meg Tilly gives good support and it surprises me that she never went on to have a bigger career. Uncomparable to the original, but well worth a look, if on... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by zombiewarehouse at 20:06, 14 March 2007 | Report This Post


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