MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

In this remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film, producer/director Gus Van Sant has tried to duplicate the original with new actors and color film. Anne Heche plays Marion Crane who yields to temptation and steals $400,000 in cash from her company. On the way to her boyfriend's home in another city, bad weather and fatigue force her to stop at the Bates Motel. Proprietor Norman Bates, played by Vince Vaughn seems friendly, helpful and polite, but his mother controls his life. Marion's conscience bothers her and she plans to return the money but she's stabbed while taking a shower. Norman believes his mother did it and disposes of the body. He has to do it again when a private detective looking for Marion tracks her to the motel and is also stabbed. Marion's boyfriend Sam (Viggo Mortenson) and her sister Lila (Julianne Moore) also check into Bates Motel after the detective fails to call them. The bizarre truth behind the stabbings is unravelled in the end. Van Sant stuck perhaps too close to the original in some places and not close enough in others. Neither the actors or the atmosphere seem quite as eerie as the Hitchcock original and like a bad copy of a masterpiece, end up looking cheap. Initial box office may be boosted by the curious but betting on a long run would be crazy.

In keeping with the original film, the dialogue has no offensive language. However, a few offensive scenes have been added. The opening scene finds Marion in a hotel bed with Sam and an on-going sexual affair is implied by their conversation. Rear male nudity is shown as Sam stands by the window. Brief side breast nudity is seen as Norman spies on Marion through a hole in the wall. Self-gratification is implied as well. While looking in Norman's room, Lila flips through some pornographic magazines which also show breast nudity. The famous stabbing in the shower scene is slightly more graphic than the original and includes female rear nudity. Graphic cuts on the detective's face add to the gruesome stabbing, although the actual stabbing is off-screen. The most disgusting scene shows a woman's mummified face with a spider crawling on it. While Marion's feeling of guilt and plans to repent are commendable, and the lack of offensive language is refreshing. But the film's addition of nudity and gore is a twist that's not needed.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Universal Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Once exclamatory (Oh God)

Violence: Several times - moderate and severe (woman stabbed repeatedly in shower, face cut, fall down stairs, stabbing off-screen, man hit with golf club, man hit with pan)

Sex: None but implied by conversation (couple on bed in hotel room)

Nudity: Several times - male rear, brief side breast, female rear, breasts in painting and magazine photographs; Near nudity - woman in underwear

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Man refers to thinking about including Marion's sister in sexual affair, Man refers to bed as 'only playground to beat Las Vegas'

Drugs: Woman offers tranquilizers, cigar

Other: Voyeurism and self-gratification implied, spider crawls on mummified face, man has split personality (speaks with mother's voice)

Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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