DIRECTOR: Rob Zombie
WRITER: Rob Zombie
Sheri Moon Zombie
When a shy and reclusive ten-year-old Michael Myers ends up murdering his abusive stepfather, promiscuous older sister and her stoner boyfriend in a gruesome murder spree, he is committed to a mental asylum. After he spends Seventeen years in the asylum, he manages to escape after he discovers that Laurie Strode is his younger sister and goes on a killing spree before heading back to Haddonfield. A now older Michael Myers returns on the night of Halloween, he plans on finishing off what he started back when he was ten years old. His doctor, Dr Loomis is on the hunt and must stop Michael Myers once and for all.
When I originally watched Rob Zombie's Halloween back in 2007, I wasn't a fan of it at all. While it was different enough from the original to be its own beast, I just didn't connect with it. Revisiting the remake, I hadn't seen it since the movie first came out. Returning to the film, I was somewhat excited. Rewatching the Halloween series over the last week and a half has wielded a lot of different results. I discovered I enjoyed certain sequels more and some even less. Maybe, I would warm up to Rob Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's classic this time around.
As the Halloween remake came to an end, I realised quickly that I hadn't enjoyed the experience. I still found the film to be different enough from the original that I wasn't concerned with this being an exact retread of the original but the film is so cold that I just didn't enjoy a lot of what was thrown on screen. This time around, I had watched the uncut version and the film is even more brutal. It feels like the remake is a lot of shock for shock sake. While certain remakes give us gore aplenty, this does just that but without any of the love. This feels emotionless.
What the Rob Zombie remake does differently first and foremost is that we delve into Michael Myers childhood. The original film leaves his childhood a complete mystery. It makes it all that much creepier that a child would just out of the blue, up and brutally stab his older sister to death. Giving him a backstory in the remake just kills all that mystery of his character. It feels like they've tried to humanise a monster in a way. I get that Rob Zombie wanted to show that Michael Myers grew up in a living hell which possibly drove him to murder but it really feels better left untold.
A huge issue that I have with the remake is that there is barely a likeable character in the film. With the exception of Dr. Loomis, Annie Brackett, Sheriff Brackett or Deborah Myers, the rest of the characters are horrible. I didn't care for any of the others minus those four that I mentioned above. Not once did I connect with Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode. Where I should want to see her survive and root for her character, I couldn't have cared less this time around. She really is a sub-par follow-up to Jamie Lee Curtis iconic scream queen role.
I mentioned above that the uncut version of the remake is brutal and cold. There are only several moments over a long two hours where I found moments of levity in this story. I don't expect a film which details the life of a mass murderer to be a comedy or love story but in the original, I connected with a lot of the character moments and wanted to see our final girl survive. Here I thought the moments between Laurie and her adopted parents were better fleshed out in the remake which was a great touch and a lovely little moment between a young Michael and his mum where you sense that Deborah Myers was the only thing Michael has ever loved. Telling her he likes her hair curly made her suicide even more heartbreaking.
Where the remake shows a much bigger and more ferocious Michael Myers, It also makes every other element of the film more vicious. There is a brutal rape scene in the uncut version where a female patient is savagely raped by two employees that felt like the scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1 but takes it even further. It feels out of place and unnecessary in a Halloween movie. We also have a lot of characters just show up to be killed by Michael Myers. Here it feels like Rob Zombie went and called up all of his friends to appear in guest roles so they can be killed. I didn't care for most deaths here. Everyone feels expendable and this falls down to the writing. No one here is given any real character development.
The acting in the remake is very hit and miss. It doesn't help that Rob Zombie isn't great with the dialogue. Watching these actors spit out these terrible lines is often more hilarious and ruins a lot of the performances for me. The standout here for me is Danielle Harris as Annie Brackett. I didn't like her in Halloween 4 or 5 but I thought she was solid here. It must come with age. Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode is the biggest mistake for me. She is horrible in this film. Daeg Faerch as young Michael Myers is in the same boat as Scout. He's just not good in his role.
Rounding out the supporting cast also has varying degrees of success. I really think that Brad Dourif and Dee Wallace were great in their roles. Malcolm McDowell who is in a larger role is at his scenery-chewing best. Clint Howard, Sid Haig are decent in their small cameos. Udo Kier shows up for a few seconds and just appears as bonkers as ever. Ken Foree is so unlikeable in his small role. Sheri Moon Zombie has the most emotional depth in her role and lastly, William Forsythe who plays one of the evilest and perverted stepfathers gives a solid performance as always. It's a little bit all over the place with such a large cast.
Lastly, when it comes to scares and suspense, I think the Halloween remake really is devoid of any real suspense, tension and scares. This is Rob Zombie trying to make a much more dark, brutal and gory Halloween film. Where the original is creepy, this is just straight up violence. This is trying to show Michael Myers as a killing machine and while it works on a gory level, it doesn't have any real terror in the film. Even with the dynamic between Dr. Loomis and Michael Myers feels non-existent in the remake. I think Rob Zombie missed the mark with his remake.
DEATH TOLL: 20
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Michael kills a rat off-screen.
- A dead cat is found in a kids school bag.
- Pictures of dead dogs are found on a child.
- A female patient is brutally raped.
- Someone is drowned in a sink and a TV set is dropped on their head.
- Someone is stabbed in the stomach and gets nailed against a wall.
- A teenage boy is beaten to death with a branch.
- Someone is taped to a chair and has their throat sliced.
- A couple of men have their head smashed against a wall, blood spray.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach.
- A woman is found naked, bleeding and sliced up but alive.
- A teenage girl is slammed through walls and windows.
- A nurse has her throat cut.
- A nurse is stabbed in the throat with a metal fork.
- Two guards are found dead in pools of blood.
- A man has his head repeatedly bashed in with a baseball bat.
- A dead coyote is found in a graveyard.
- A teenage girl is stabbed in the stomach and back.
- A woman shoots herself in the head off-screen.
- Michael Myers is shot in the head.
- A teenage girl is thrown off a balcony.
- A guy is stabbed with a kitchen knife.
- Two police officers are stabbed to death.
- A teenage girl is choked to death.
- A woman has her neck snapped.
- A man is sliced across the face with a large kitchen knife.
Heading into the Halloween remake after a decade, I was hoping that the long period of time had changed my opinion on the film. After a rewatch, I still found that the film falls just short for me. While this remake is different enough to be its own little beast, it suffers from being about thirty minutes too long, giving Michael Myers a backstory loses all mystery, the film has unlikeable characters, some terrible performances and has no real suspense or tension. If you want a cold, ferocious and incredibly violent and gory Halloween film, you should enjoy this remake. It sadly doesn't come close to the original.