Pay TV show of the week: Bates Motel29/08/2019 - Author: admin - Comments are closed
Freddie Highmore as Norman and Vera Farmiga as Norma in Bates Motel.Sunday, Fox8, 8.30pm
How did the young and innocent Norman Bates become the monster of Psycho? This present-day prequel sets about explaining in intriguing fashion. The story doesn’t come from Robert Bloch, who wrote Psycho in 1959 and died in 1994, but from folks who have kept viewers spellbound on such shows as Lost and Friday Night Lights.
This teenage Norman is played by Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland), and we first see him freaking out after discovering his father dead in their garage. Did Norman’s mother (Vera Farmiga) kill him? We don’t know, but she seems suspiciously casual about it.
Next thing we see, Norman and mum Norma – yep, her name is Norma – are moving into a spooky old house that looms above a dilapidated old motel on the Oregon coast. All the pieces are in place but it’s hard to see how the sweet and well-adjusted Norman is going to turn into a horror-movie slasher. Sure, Norma is clearly not quite right, but it’s not as if Norman is some kind of mummy’s-boy loner – the local hotties take an immediate interest in him and he’s understandably interested in getting to know them better.
The most menacing figure is local drunk Keith (Deadwood’s W. Earl Brown), whose family lost the motel to the bank. But then a shocking event binds mother and son closer together, and a chance discovery of Norman’s suggests there might be a bit of Twin Peaks weirdness about their new locale.
All this is happening in the present but there is an agreeable ’50s aesthetic about the sets and wardrobe. It might turn out to be American Horror Story-lite but you should check it out to be safe.
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