Welcome to the Bates Motel, please enjoy your stay. All guests receive a complimentary blood bath.
A reworking of the classic Hitchcock film Psycho the series Bates Motel tells the story of Norman and Norma Bates, who relocate after the horrific death of Norman’s father. No sooner than when they arrive on the iconic property does a series of unfortunate events plague their attempts to start a new life, as well as Norman’s tendency to fall into trances, where while within he commits strange acts of brutality.
The series opens with a very interesting premise. You might be thinking who needs a contemporary version of Psycho, the Hitchcock version is a classic, and other remakes have failed to match its genius. I will tell you, that you are wrong. While the original will always retain an element of freshness and superiority that no remake can surpass, Bates Motel is a solid attempt at re-envisioning and redefining the story of Norman Bates, as opposed to haphazardly reproducing it.
Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore lead the cast as Norma and Norman Bates. I commend both of their performances. Individually Farmiga and Highmore stand out in their own ways. Farmiga pulls off the striving and determined Norma Bates to a tee, while Highmore manages to display a sense of social awkwardness that is entirely believable, and on some level we can all relate to. We have all experienced it a few times, however Norman Bates lives it. The unusual relationship he shares with his mother is partially the cause. They are unusually physical with one another, and Norma exerts an unhealthy controlling regime over many aspects of her son’s life. This is until Norman is encouraged by his brother Dylan (Max Thieriot), Norma’s son from a previous relationship, to enjoy life his own way. A lesson Norman learns the hard way, and Norma takes complete advantage of.
Norma (Farmiga) and Norman (Highmore) embrace.
The body count this season was relatively small. I found the pacing of the kills incredibly realistic, and the build up to the last three extremely intense. This owes to what seems to be careful consideration and planning on the part of the writers, who I must say have done outstanding work with character driven dialogue. The cinematography is captivating, bringing the fictional coastal town of White Pine Bay to life with stunning mountain and coastal vistas.
I would also like to comment on the set. Fans of the original will be stunned by the accuracy with which the producers have recreated the original house and motel that rests at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. It is very convincing and while Hitchcock enthusiasts may swear it is the original set I can assure you, it is a reproduction. Google it.In conclusion I believe this is a successful series. It retains interest through the peaks and lows of the plot, and includes very character driven narrative arcs. Horror and drama fans alike will enjoy Bates Motel and for those looking to experiment with new genres, I recommend you check it out too. The Second Season airs later this year.
Check out the Series Trailer below: