Horror is a funny concept. We as a society are sickened by the real examples of trepidation, yet find such pleasure in fictitious connotations of the subject in the media. “Bates Motel,” now in its second season televised on A&E, certainly meets the expectations our society holds with respect to bone-chilling entertainment.
The television show acts as a modern-day prequel to the 1960 masterpiece, “Psycho,” this time focusing in on Norman Bates in his late teen years and his mother, Norma. The plot follows the lives of this troubled family, with deaths, drugs, sex and corruption incorporated within the seasons.
Freddie Highmore, from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” fame, portrays Norman Bates with relaxed yet exciting charisma. The real star of the show, however, is Vera Farmiga, giving the role of Norma Bates attitude, strength and emotional vulnerability that reaches new limits episode after episode. The whole cast is spot-on in their portrayal as members of an ill-fated town.
Although not the best “scary” show on television (that title belongs to “American Horror Story”), “Bates Motel” is at times compulsive, shocking and disgusting, yet always satisfying. With the reputation of “Psycho” at its fingertips, this show has a large fan base.
It is interesting to note, again, that the show is a modern-day prequel to the original film. That is, there is excessive technology and vocabulary that viewers see and use every day. This is risky, and the risk definitely pays off. By adding the modern-day slant, the television show is more fun to watch and relatable to everyday life.
The writing of the show is OK at best. Although each episode has good ideas and smart dialogue, there is barely any continuity.
Moreover, there are times when characters are written out of the show suddenly, when what the viewer wants is to learn more about said characters in the next episode. Especially with many famous guest stars, it is a shame that minor characters aren’t written into the show for the long run. Still, this is a small price to pay for an otherwise great show.
The thing that makes this show really fun and entertaining is the characters. Furthermore, they are all so weird and strange that the viewer gets caught up with them as much as they get caught up in the abnormal situations they are placed in. Through terrific acting, it is easy to develop feelings for these creepy yet attracting characters.
Overall, “Bates Motel” is eerily delightful. It doesn’t bring harsh nightmares, but it may cause the viewers to lock their doors after finishing an episode.