Psycho – A film review by Daniel Prinn – Twelve cabins, twelve vacancies!

Psycho

Release Date: September 8, 1960

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles

Runtime: 109 min

Tagline: The Essential Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Words cannot express well enough how impressed I was by this film; it has so many great aspects to it.

Marion Crane is a beautiful blonde who just stole forty thousand dollars from her employer, and she sets on a road trip to be with her lover a few towns over. She stops at the Bates Motel, where she meets a young quiet man, Norman Bates, who seems to be dominated by his wicked mother.

This was the first film that I saw from Alfred Hitchcock, and I loved the film so much it encouraged me to check out a lot of his other features, and a lot remain on my watch list. It’s one of my favourite horror/thriller experiences of older cinema.

The film doesn’t rely on things that pop out for scares (but there are a few effective scares that made me jump), but its eerie material is what makes it the most terrifying.

A great horror/thriller with a few big scares, huge twists and turns, and a great sound to accompany it all. It’s just difficult not to be entertained by this film; from the beginning, it held my attention tight and never let go until the end credits, and it’s a movie that is truly unforgettable.

It’s effective and disturbing, this is the first and one of the greatest slasher flicks ever made, and is my favourite Hitchcock film.

*SPOILER ALERT, IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS FILM KEEP OUT.*

This film has one of the most famous scenes in cinema: the shower scene. It’s one of the reasons why I have to shower with the door locked, the idea of someone coming from behind and attacking me while I’m all vulnerable in the shower spooks the heck out of me.

Norman Bates has a comfortable Number Two spot on AFI’s Top 50 Film Villains, which is very deserving. He really is quite twisted and is a very disturbed character. He lost the number one spot to Hannibal Lecter, which I agree with because he’s a great villain. It’s a little funny, as both the actors that portray these two characters have the same name: Anthony (Perkins as Norman Bates in this and Hopkins as Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lecter in Silence of the Lambs).

Bates really doesn’t display his true colours until the end of the film, with a truly haunting monologue, but the second watch around – you’ll see how spooky Norman really is in the beginning of the flick.

*END OF SPOILERS*

 The film stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Marvin Balsam, and John McIntire.

Hitchcock brings his usual great direction to this one.

It’s a film that it was correctly chosen to be in black and white, it wouldn’t have been quite as spooky if it was in colour.

It’s an unforgettable and entertaining film experience, which is still discussed to this day, and is about as must-see as horror films get. Horror and thriller fanatics check this out. Even if you don’t like black and white films, still check it out. If you watch one horror film in your life (I don’t see  how you could personally), this one is an extremely strong contender of what that one film should be.

 

100/100

Disturbia – A film review by Daniel Prinn – A film kind of reminiscent of Rear Window; bonus review.

Disturbia

Release Date: April 13, 2007

Director: D.J. Caruso

Stars: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Carrie-Anne Moss

Runtime: 105 min

Tagline: Every killer lives next door to someone.

A lot of people say this flick is like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, but when I was watching that film – I didn’t think of this one once. Well, after thinking about it; there are definitely some reminiscent themes, but it does posses new themes as well (like the teen romance thing), and the suspected killer in this film is much more haunting than the suspected killer of Rear Window (as in Rear Window, the suspected killer only has few lines of dialogue). If compared, R.W. is most definitely the more original piece, but for entertainment value I’d say they’re near in the same league, as this has a most interesting modern touch to it. They are both special in their own ways.

After Kale (Shia LaBeouf)  loses his father, he has become emotionally unstable. A year later, when there is an incident at school, it lands Kale under a court-ordered house arrest. When Kale is running out of ideas of things to do, he resorts to spying on the neighbours – and takes a special interest in a neighbour, Robert Turner (David Morse), whom he begins to suspect of being a serial killer.

The originality of the film isn’t the best, as a lot of the things of the film have been done before, but it really is a great thriller. The thrills and scares are big, and it is thoroughly entertaining and too has its fair share of comical moments. The cast really does an incredible job, from the young acting talents to the great performances by David Morse and Carrie-Anne Moss. Also, as occasionally predictable as the film may be, I was still thoroughly entertained by it all.

The film stars Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sarah Roemer, Aaron Yoo, Jose Pablo Cantillo, and Matt Craven, with Viola Davis.

I might be overselling the film so I guess I’ll say this, it gets predictable at times and the pacing feels off in some areas, so just don’t expect Oscar gold, but I think it’s great for a watch, it’s quality entertainment.

The character development of the film is really grand, and I really like the plot as well. It’s one of my favourite thrillers (well it is definitely one of the films that pop into my head first, as it was my first thriller/horror experience in a theatre); but not for its terms of originality, but for its pure entertainment value.

 90/100

Rear Window – A Film Review by Daniel Prinn – Pure entertainment!

 

Rear Window

Release Date: August 1, 1954

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey

Runtime: 112 min

Tagline: Through his rear window and the eye of his powerful camera he watched a great city tell on itself, expose its cheating ways…and Murder!

 

Alfred Hitchcock is a really great filmmaker, making greats such as this, Psycho, The 39 Steps (which I haven’t seen, admittedly, but I’ve heard great things about it) The Birds, and Rope, to name a few.

It’s a rather simple film with a simple, great and effective plot, which just keeps you on edge when it really gets into the story.

L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies is a photographer who hurt his leg and has to stay at his apartment and is wheelchair bound for a while. To pass some time, he starts spying on the neighbours. When he notices some peculiar behaviour, he wonders if a woman across the way has been murdered – which leads himself into a mystery that he must attempt to solve with the help of an investigator, his gal, and his nurse.

It’s really one heck of a suspenseful ride and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t had this much of a great time with a film of only few sets since 12 Angry Men. The beginning was moderately slow because it was only just starting to build up the suspense, but it is still interesting, and when it really got into the story it really is engaging and has pleasant twists and turns and is one heck of an entertaining and suspenseful experience.

James Stewart delivers a usual great performance as Jefferies (he is really one fine old-time actor that I have really grown to love) and the film also stars Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr.

It isn’t my favourite Hitchcock film (that would be Psycho), but it is truly worthy of a close second, the suspense hardly stops.

 90/100

The Birds – A Film Review by Daniel Prinn – Ahhhh, scary birds!

The Birds

Release Date: May 30, 1963

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette

Runtime: 119 min

Tagline: Suspense and shock beyond anything you have seen or imagined!

It’s a pretty good Hitchcock horror/suspense film.

A wealthy San Francisco woman follows a potential boyfriend to a small North Californian town where things soon start to turn nightmarish after birds of all kinds attack the small town with increasing numbers and drastic viciousness.

It really is suspenseful, but some of it can get a little ridiculous and is laughable at times, when it isn’t supposed to be. It’s somewhat flawed and was probably much scarier in its day and has some very intense sequences. It really is an original piece of work, and has such an effectively simple plot.

It’s generally memorable, and is a really great Hitchcock experience, but I don’t think I’ll return to it soon. Hedren delivers a good performance, as well of a performance she could give while being attacked by birds. The character development is actually very efficient, and they are generally likeable; and unlike the horror film characters of today (where for the annoying characters, you either wish they get killed off, cheer for their deaths and they eventually laugh your asses off when they get killed), you may actually be upset if a character here were butchered off by some hungry birds.

While some of the birds and sets feel so fake they took away from my enjoyment a little, the performances feel pretty genuine. I wouldn’t hate a remake of this one, as maybe they could throw in some better effects, and maybe even make it scarier with a modern touch.

Watch it if you like old suspense films, it isn’t a waste of time at all. It isn’t my favourite Hitchcock film, but really is quite an enjoyable experience.

 80/100

Rope – A Film Review by Daniel Prinn – A good Hitchcock flick

Rope Poster

Rope

Release Date: August 23, 1948

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger

Runtime: 80 min

Tagline: Nothing ever held you like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope.

It’s a pretty sweet film.

Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger) are two young men who have always wondered what it would be like to kill someone. After they strangle an inferior classmate, David (Dick Hogan), they invite over his family and friends as a means to test their perfect crime, and also an old brilliant schoolteacher played admirably and stunningly by James Stewart; all while the body is in a chest in the middle of the apartment.

It’s an interesting and entertaining fight of wits, between Brandon and Rupert, as Brandon drops subtle hints of the murder to see if Rupert would pick up on them. And then Phillip’s just a nervous mess with high anxiety over in the corner.

Most of it is extremely entertaining, and a lot of it is really suspenseful. It really kept me guessing, and a lot of it is pretty intense. It’s an 80 minute experience that feels longer than it is, and Hitchcock shot the film in a really interesting fashion. He only used about ten takes throughout the whole film (if the trivia proves accurate), ranging from four to ten minutes. This fashion makes you feel like you’re watching a play because of the one set, and the editing and how it looks like the film’s just all ongoing.

The performances are pretty good from the majority of the cast, their performances feel genuine and not like they’re in it for the money, John Dall and Farley Granger did a good job, and James Stewart stands out the most, though, with a really great performance.

The film could have been better paced, it isn’t perfect but it’s enjoyable. I caught it on TV, and it was an interesting experience, but if I saw it at a store I’m not sure if I’d buy the film, as I’m not sure if I’d be apt to experience this flick again anytime soon.

The film also stars Edith Evanson, Douglas Dick, Cedric Hardwicke, Joan Chandler, and Constance Collier (who I wish could have gotten strangled, she was so irritating, in the case that I am thinking of the correct annoying character).

Hitchcock really does deliver us an entertaining experience, with the way that he films the thing making it, and the performance given by Stewart, the most memorable aspects of the film.

75/100

Marnie – A Film review by Daniel Prinn — I think I used the words ‘interesting’ and ‘fascinating’ a bit too much here..

Marnie

Release Date: July 22, 1964

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker

Runtime: 130 min

Tagline: From Alfred Hitchcock with sex and suspense.

I guess Hitchcock liked watching Hedren get attacked by birds so much, he just had to cast her in another flick. It’s a good decision though, as she’s a pretty good actress.

 Marnie is a habitual kleptomaniac with multiple psychological problems (like an extremely odd fear of the colour red, thunder, and being touched) who has just picked a new town to hit. After she steals some money from the safe in a suspenseful scene, she gets caught by Mark, a wealthy man high up in the corporation, who marries Marnie in order to try to delve into her life and help her confront and resolve her psychological problems.

For a Hitchcock flick, it isn’t as suspenseful as one would expect but nonetheless, it is extremely fascinating. It does have its fair share of suspenseful scenes, but they are quite far from each other, and it can be entertaining, but the best word to describe this flick is either interesting or fascinating.

I never got bored but it really was quite lengthy for not a completely entertaining ride. Mark’s obsession with Marnie and how he treated her like a caged animal was a little peculiar, I think he’s aspiring to be a psychologist, but he really is a little troubled himself seemingly.  It’s actually a really good character study, and is pretty thought-provoking. It’s a real treat for those movie-goers with an interest for the human mind. It’s not a film I’ll rush back to any time soon, or may even watch again, but it’s a very intriguing one-time-experience that mostly kept me glued to the screen, and there’s not anything I regret seeing. It could have been shorter in length and is probably one of Hitchcock’s weakest films, but it really is interesting and isn’t bad at all. Some of the sets are extremely artificial in a very obvious way that made me criticize it, and that is probably one of its biggest flaws.

The film stars Tippi Hedren who delivers a really good performance, Sean Connery who delivers a great one, Diane Baker and Martin Gabel.

It’s generally one of Hitchcock’s weaker attempts, but it’s a good experience that should be seen. Respecters of fascinating films, character studies, old time cinema and Hitchcock generally, should really check this one out. It really does blend aspects of romance, mystery, thrills and some suspense very well  together, with some very fine leading performances and an interesting finale.

75/100