Friday, March 19

Review: Psycho

As of now, I am following a course on movie history. And being a good student, I have to know my classics. This means watching old movies. Some of these have completely baffled me with their completely unique outlook on cinema, despite the lower production values: Battleship Potemkin, The Cabinet of dr. Caligari and Casablanca, for example.

But the canon of movies also contain some other classics. The movies that might have been groundbreaking upon release and my teachers will say are deep and complex, but I find mostly boring and slow. I am thinking of Citizen Kane, Once Upon a Time in the West and The Godfather. Sue me, I just don't think they are as good as they are said to be. And everything I had seen of Hitchcock's falls into that latter category. So you can understand my hopes weren't very high when I decided to watch Psycho by that same director last night.

The movie starts pretty underwhelming: a woman steals a ton of money from her employer and drives to her lover. She hopes they will be able to get married and live happily ever after. While on the way, she is getting doubts. And while she is staying at a motel for the night, she decides to bring back the money. "Pfffff....", I went.

Then she gets brutally stabbed to death in the shower. "AAAAAAAH!!!", I went.

I knew this scene was coming. I knew the story of the film and which plot twists were yet to come. I had even read some analysis of the film. And it still freaked me the fuck out. I'm not going to give any more away here, but trust me: this film is creepy. Really, really creepy.

Even though the story might be a little predictable nowadays, this film is great because of it's atmosphere. There are less murders in this movie then a contemporary comedy, but every one is made into a moment of terror unlike anything you've ever seen. There are intense, creeping shadows, suddenly there is music that sounds the violinists were being tortured and the editing goes so fast you can barely see what's happening. The pacing is sublime as well: one of the murders took me completely by surprise. The scene starts of reeeeealy slow... A man walks into a house... up the stairs.... sport by sport... and BOOM!

The atmosphere is tense throughout the movie, and most modern thrillers haven't shocked me as much as this movie. And to think I don't even like Hitchcock. Nor horror/thriller movies, to be honest. But I LOVED this one.

I don't recommend you to watch this movie because it is old, made by a famous director or because it's a part of movie history. I recommend it because it is an incredibly atmospherical and creepy movie all on its one. This is a classic that deserves the label.


The music is less in in style then normal, because I didn't want to disturb you too much.

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