This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
KevinWriter’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"Psycho Killer, qu'est-ce que c'est, fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better" - David Byrne
I know this has been hailed as a classic for decades now. But I've heard from a few people who have seen it that they appreciate it more as a cinematic landmark than they like it. But I found Psycho very entertaining and surprisingly fast-paced when comparing it to other movies from the era. The movie begins and sucks you right into the story. Many papers have probably already been written on it, but I also want to mention just how genius the editing in this movie is. Even though it's black-and-white and almost 60 years old, it still feels so modern because of its editing and structure.
This is my first time watching it and I expected the 'shower scene' to be some kind of climax towards the end of the movie. So when Marion stepped into the shower, I expected it to be just a random shower scene and that the shower stabbing would come later. To my surprise Marion (the main character!) dies right there and then, halfway throughout the movie and the shower scene, that I've seen so many times already in pop culture references, genuinely startled me because I didn't expect it.
I wasn't sure where they'd take it from there, but I think the turn the movie takes after the death of Marion is the most genius move of the story. Instead of slowly defusing the whole situation after this climax, we stay on the high-paced rails with a highly entertaining interrogation scene which showcases Anthony Perkin's brilliant performance. And after that when another shocking death occurs, the plot once again doesn't halt in any way. The way Psycho jumps from main character to main character was a lot of fun and such a unique feature that I wonder why it's almost never done anymore (in horror movies). Maybe it's just very difficult to make the audience care for every single character and that shows the quality of Hitchcock's direction and Stefano's screenplay. And of course also the stellar acting by everyone.
As expected, Psycho never scared me, probably due to the extreme pop culture exposure and the fact that movies around 1960 were mostly more into the thriller aspect than the horror elements. Okay, maybe except for Bates' psychotic smile when he tries to kill Lila. Anthony Perkins' performance in this is incredible. But the fact that it isn't truly terrifying doesn't take anything away from Psycho. As a crime thriller with horror elements is functions perfectly. It is clearly visible how much of a landmark Psycho is in terms of thriller/horror culture. It's the movie that completely changed the genre and the concept of violence in movies. And it also makes for 109 tense and exciting minutes.