This fourth and kind of final film in the series saw Norman Bates call a radio talk show host to confess how it all began, live on air. It soon transpires however that Norman has just suffered another personal trauma and is set to kill again. The race is on to stop him.
The film has a solid cast who all give good performances, and Henry Thomas is well cast as young Norman, but its TV movie feel makes it more like an episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', directed by a fan of the series.
Everything is competently shot and it's nice to see a few new elements introduced to the series, but they keep going back to the original for inspiration and end up playing the same scene out in every movie. Someone always falls down the stairs, someone always ends up in the fruit cellar etc etc. There are also shots lifted from the original, such as blood washing down a drain, and the shower scene is recreated in a hallway, but the broken structure of the story gets old quickly. Norman chats to Fran and this is then followed by a flashback which upsets him so they stop, take a break and repeat for over an hour.
I was glad to see Graeme Revell did the score and it's always nice to hear Bernard Herrmann's original cues, but I expected more from a composer of Revell's calibre as he barely adds anything new to the proceedings.
Not a complete waste of time but I'm not buying the pregnancy subplot, they were pretty old to be having their first kid. Fans of the series might enjoy it, but the casual viewer will most likely be bored.