Executives of sanitation and water plants could not explain the sudden drop in water usage. There were many people walking around with a musty smell and slightly unpolished look. Hotel employees were perplexed in the sudden cancellation of room reservations. Well, maybe things were not that bad; however, you cannot tell me there were not a lot of people who thought twice about taking a shower, after they saw the movie Psycho. I remember the first time I saw this movie and how my heart raced. When a film is considered a classic, I enjoy hearing the back story on how forces came together to create such a great movie. This was one of the reasons I wanted to see this film, along with Anthony Hopkins’ (Thor, Proof) performance as famed director Alfred Hitchcock. When the story focused on the birth of Psycho it was fascinating. Even with all the success Hitchcock had with the movie studio, they balked at his plans, refusing to finance the project. I got a kick out of all the tidbits surrounding the filming process. It was fun to see Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, The Avengers) and James D’Arcy (W.E., Cloud Atlas) playing Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. In some scenes Anthony Hopkins was believable as Hitchcock; but at times, it seemed as if he slipped out of character and the makeup was odd. For me, the star of this movie was Helen Mirren (The Last Station, The Debt) as Alfred’s wife Alma Reville. I had no idea, if the story here is true, that she was as influential as she was portrayed. The problem I had was when the story veered off the making of Psycho and delved into the relationship Alma and Alfred had, it did not make for a cohesive story line. I appreciated the things I learned from this interesting movie; I just wished it had been more.
2 3/4 stars
As I drove to the movie theater, I had to wonder who made the decision that put Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, The Hunger Games) into this film. From the ad campaign it looked like this was a horror movie; why would Jennifer put herself into this type of film? All I could think was Jennifer would look back at this film as a speed bump in her career. Playing teenaged Elissa, she and her divorced mother Sarah, played by Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Hollow Man), moved to a small town to get a fresh start. Upon arriving at their new home, the two discovered a tragic event had taken place at the house next door, several years ago. The parents were murdered by their daughter, who then fled the scene, never to be found again. The only survivor was her brother Ryan, played by Max Thieriot (Jumper, The Pacifier); who years later returned to the house, only to be shunned by the townsfolk. Elissa ignored the warnings and tried to befriend the quiet neighbor. But, would Elissa be safe being alone with Ryan in that house of tragedy? While watching Jennifer in this role, I was relieved to see she still had not lost her command of the screen. This woman has a great screen presence. Elisabeth as the mother was the perfect antagonist to her daughter; their scenes together sparked across the screen. Unfortunately they could not save this cliched thriller that left me emotionally detached. I did not find the movie scary, though I liked a couple of the twists in the story. With a PG-13 rating, this was not a slasher type of movie; think of it more like Psycho light. I cannot remember seeing any blood in the movie, but I may have missed it when I was checking the time on my watch. Was this a bad choice for Jennifer? I do not think it will hurt her in the long run; but let us say, it was a lateral move in what I feel will be a long movie career for her.
2 1/3 stars