Marion (Anne Heche) is longing to get married to her boyfriend Sam (Viggo Mortensen), but neither of them have the money. She sees her opportunity when her boss gives her a boatload of money to deposit in the bank, and instead she runs away with it. She winds up at the Bates motel, run by creepy guy Norman (Vince Vaughn) and his grouchy mother. Goaded by his mother, Norman stabs her in the shower. Flash forward a few days, when Marion’s sister Lila (Julianne Moore) tracks down Sam, who is also wondering where Marion is. Together they and Detective Arbogast (William H. Macy) discover she was at the motel, prompting Norman to murder again to cover his tracks.
Critics tend to agree that Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho is a masterpiece—so why remake it? And why set it in modern times but keep most of the original dialogue, making it sound dated and weird? And why claim it’s remade shot-for-shot, but include shots of Anne Heche’s and Viggo Mortensen’s butts, as well as Norman masturbating? Lila’s statement, “Let me get my Walkman” clearly wasn’t in the original film either.
Furthermore, most people are already aware of the twist at the end, but even if they weren’t it just doesn’t have the same shock value it did in 1960, when showing a toilet flushing was a revolutionary act. In regards to the shower scene, Hitchcock battled with the censors just to keep it in the film both because of the violence and the nudity (though Janet Leigh wasn’t actually naked—according to the book she wrote about making Psycho, she was wearing mole skin over her censor-worthy parts), so for me it’s a slap in the face for director Gus Van Sant to show it all—the knife going into flesh and just about all of Anne Heche. I saw this in the theatre when I was fifteen, and at that point I had already seen and revered the original. I’m not of the opinion that only classic movies and actors are good (quite the opposite—in fact, I enjoy most of the cast in the remake), but I don’t think Hitchcock should be remade—even by Hitchcock. Okay, okay, Vaughn looks hotter in a dress.