There’s little that can be written about Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary horror classic that would add anything to the conversation, but it’s a pleasure to see that it’s maintained its grip on the viewer despite the passage of time as well as its omnipresence in pop culture. Anthony Perkins delivers the type of iconic performance as Norman Bates that’s so believable it stamped his entire career with its looming shadow, while co-star Janet Leigh is just as believable as Marion, the flawed-but-redeemable heroine. Hitchcock has a firm grasp on all things from the first frame of the movie – everything is methodically labored and planned out, and the movie’s narrative propels forward with all the inevitability of a runaway train, with Bernard Herrmann’s intrusive, violent score works overtime to destabilize the viewer. The iconic Bates Motel and Bates house are still strikingly ominous, largely thanks to their surface innocuousness masking a veritable cornucopia of psychological horrors and a history of violence, and all of it comes together in a thriller so grotesquely effective that it became a horror classic that redefined the entire genre.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)