Bates Motel; Review



Imaginative interpretation inspired by ‘Psycho’

Bates Motel is an imaginative interpretation of the teenage life of Norman Bates and can therefore be regarded as a prequel to the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic, Psycho.

At the end of Psycho we are only given a glimpse into the destructive relationship that Norman Bates had with his mother. This series definitely satisfies any curiosity one might have of just what that relationship might have looked like.



Freddie Highmore gives an authentic performance as a young Norman and soon to be killer. A seemingly normal teenage boy who moves, with his mother, into the iconic house on the hill which overlooks the newly purchased family motel.

Norma Louise Bates is played by Vera Farmiga. If it wasn’t for the fact that we know the fate of Norman, we would be forgiven for thinking that Norma is a sincere mother who wants the best for her son, but there are moments when this volatile relationship shows sinister signs that something quite disturbing is being cultivated.

“Disturbing and uncomfortable”

The on screen chemistry between Freddie and Vera is, at times, electric – and because of the story line, coupled with the fact that we know Norman’s fate – it is also entertainingly disturbing and uncomfortable.

Particularly when a local girl, Bradley Martin (Nicola Peltz), shows an interest in the new guy in town.

The tension conjured up on the porch of the creepy house is chillingly reminiscent of the scene directed by Hitchcock when Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) asks ‘mother’ if Marian Crane (Janet Leigh) can have supper.

Desperate to start a new life for her and Norman, it is obvious from the start that Norma has no intention of letting go of Norman.


The show is set in the modern age

Norman Bates is a ‘regular’ teenage student equipped with the essentials, including an Iphone.

But it is obvious from the outset that something is a miss given the mysterious absence of detail surrounding his fathers death, the lack of clarity on the fractured relationship between Norma and her other son, Dylan Massett (Max Thieriot), and an ‘incident’ with the previous owner of the motel.

The show is littered with subtle nuances and inferences to the older Norman Bates that we are familiar with and leaves the viewer in constant and gripping suspense.

Created by Anthony Cipriano and directed by Tucker Gates, this series promises to offer intriguing insight to one of Total Film’s top 100 movie characters of all time.

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