look ! the new version of " psycho " came out and the world didn't end !
i guess gus van sant really isn't the bringer of the apocalypse !
unfortunately , though , that " psycho " didn't end the world as we know is the best thing that can be said for it .
van sant's controversial " re-telling " of alfred hitchcock's classic 1960 film has polarized filmgoers everywhere ( even before it premiered . )
without benefit of an actual viewing , many have said that the film will , at best , suck .
being an ( almost ) good critic , i waited until i actually saw it to decide that the film , at best , sucked ( and that concludes the use of the word " suck " and , hopefully , the thoughts that i am a brain-dead orangutan . )
director gus van sant took the original hitchcock film and refilmed it , shot-for-shot , using the same , exact script ( with a few minor alterations . )
the inherent challenge was in making the film suspenseful and scary , even though a large group of the audience will know exactly what will happen at the exact time .
suspense probably could have been attained if the actors had been able to create something new or different than the original .
sadly , that did not occur .
it is hard to be overshadowed by vera miles and john gavin ( from the original " psycho ) , but that is what exactly happened to julianne moore and viggo mortensen .
in moore's case , the film would have been helped if " the x- files " gillian anderson had been cast instead ; especially since moore goes through the entire film doing a scully impression !
from the cold demeanor and expressions to her rigid way of forming a sentence , moore is scully !
mortensen ( who i liked in " g . i .
jane " ) opts to play sam loomis as a cowboy/hick , which would have been nice if he had gone past that starting point .
sam has a twang and a cowboy hat , but that's about it .
mortensen turns in one of the most uptight performance in recent memory .
anne heche , in the janet leigh role , does a few good things in her brief time on screen .
at least her marion crane has a little life in her , which can't be said for most of the rest of the cast .
the best work , though , comes from vince vaughn , as the demented mama's boy , norman bates .
he's not going to make anyone forget anthony perkins , but he is effective both in being naughty and nice .
the best part of the film is the dinner scene heche and vaughn , where they simply talk .
there is some solid acting there , something that is not carried through the rest of the film .
van sant has made a boring film .
all the camera tricks that hitchcock so eloquently used in 1960 aren't as eye-catching now .
what passed for brilliance then has been copied so many times by so many directors that they don't impress or excite .
van sant , in what i assume is a grasp at originality , decided to put some stream-of-consciousness images into a few famous scenes ( was that a lamb in the middle of the road ? )
these images , included with some questionable editing choices , took away from the scenes themselves and caused , at first , bewilderment and , later , laughter .
definitely not hitchcock's intention !
at least danny elfman had the good sense to not mess with bernard herrmann's original famous and terrific score .
if a film like " psycho " does not frighten , then what's the point .
aside from norman , the characters are thinly drawn people who leave no connection with the audience .
there are things van sant and company could have done to at least make their recreation interesting .
in the end , however , the new " psycho " is a noble attempt , but , alas , a dismal failure .