Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is unhappy with her life. But when she has the chance to embezzle $40,000 from her boss, Marion thinks that she has finally found the chance to be happy. On the run from her life and cops in Phoenix, Marion spends the night at a deserted motel and meets the introverted motel owner and manager, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). That night Marion is murdered and her body dumped into the swamp.The mysterious and bloody history of Bates Motel is revealed when people start visiting the motel in search of Marion and the lost money.
In short: this movie is brilliant. If you've ever wondered if Psycho will live up to the hype. It will. Thanks to a brilliant cast, an effective use of lighting, and a ear-splitting soundtrack, Hitchcock was able to maintain a sense of suspense throughout almost the entire film. But while the murder scenes in 1960 were bold and unsettling, those same murder scenes 60 years later are scary yet comical at the same time. Probably not quite the reaction Hitchcock was hoping for but it's a testament to how American movies have changed over the years--and also to the extent to which our culture has become desensitized to images of violence. A slasher movie without any images of a knife puncturing flesh? Boring! [Just kidding. I'm a baby when it comes to horror films and I am perfectly content watching a movie without a ton of gore.]
It would be an understatement to say that Psycho has become a cultural icon. EVERYONE knows the iconic killer shower scene whether they know that it's a scene from Psycho or not. But surprisingly when the movie was first released critics panned the film criticising the blatant sexuality and violence. Obviously Hitchcock knew what he was doing because the formula of sex and violence in today's market equates to box office gold. If anyone would dare to argue with the statement above, I enter into evidence all three of the Transformer movies. Let us be honest. Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley were not casted for their Academy Award winning actor abilities.
Critics also were not impressed with the performances in this film to which I must cry out in outrage. The fact that Anthony Perkins was not nominated for --much less didn't win--an Academy Award for his role as Norman Bates is a travesty. His performance from the first moment he steps onto the screen to last image of him sitting in the jail cell, wrapped in a blanket, with a fly on his hand is perfection. Perkins created a character that is alluring and disarming while at the same time unsettling and off putting. Perkins single-handedly created the image of a Psycho in American pop-culture.
In conclusion, Psycho is perfect for a informal movie night with friends. Wrap yourself in a blanket, make some popcorn, and laugh or cringe when the murderer is revealed. It is more suspenseful than scary so even scaredy-cats can enjoy this film.