Reviewbr> “Next time I see that Myers pussy, he's dead! “ - Wesley.
Young Michael Myers has an abusive stepfather, a mom who does pole dancing, and a couple of sisters. His favorite activities include taking a toll of the family pets, Ben would have run a mile in this situation, and beating the odd school bully to death with a hunk of wood while wearing a clown mask. Possibly perfectly normal behavior in Redneck land but not something you would expect to run across in the white bread township of Haddonfield. His Principle and local Psychiatrist Sam Loomis are of course concerned about the animal brutality but what are you going to do with kids.
Come Halloween night Mikey is ready to go trick or treating, unfortunately his elder sister won’t take him due to wanting to bonk her redneck boyfriend. Poor Mikey is left to sit on the front steps and watch all the other normal kids, those would be the ones without a redneck family, go out begging candy, setting fire to cars, and generally enjoy themselves. The poor wee fella snaps, possibly due to Rob Zombie's choice of music, and decides to cut dad's throat, bludgeon redneck boyfriend to death with a baseball bat, and stab his elder Sister seventeen times. Mum arrives home to find Mikey looking after his baby sister, oh and a slaughterhouse. Some one called the cops apparently, though who the hell that was remains a mystery.
Mikey gets to spend 16 years in a state Institution under the guidance of Dr Loomis. Actually given Malcolm McDowell's phone in from the Bahamas performance I would have become more withdrawn and spent years in silence as well. Oh and a Nurse discovers you don't turn your back on Mikey when he is trying to make a point, albeit by being silent behind a mask. For no apparent reason the authorities decide Mikey should be transferred one evening to somewhere else, naturally the Big Fella disagrees and is soon loose and heading back toward Haddonfield. Wouldn't you know it Halloween is coming up and Mikey wants to celebrate in Myers style. Then the actual readers digest version of the original movie ensues. Ready to go trick or treating?
You know how you can watch a Director get better with each outing? Well Rob Zombie isn't that Director. His second feature film The Devil's Rejects wasn't the most original outing you are either likely to watch, (see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), any of the Ned Kelly flicks, and Vanishing Point (1971)), but at least it was a quantum leap from the abysmal House of a 1,000 Corpses that sucked the life out of the known Universe. With Halloween Zombie has taken a horror classic outside and dumped it into a gutter, he then proceeded to pour gasoline on it, before lightening the fire that leaves the audience with a blackened husk of an experience in comparison to the original. The only decent scenes in this movie were the ones John Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote into the original, well okay Zombie does have one effective sequence but that's all she wrote. Let's break it down and see why the Critics really took the carving knife to this substandard effort.
Zombie frames his re-imagination of Halloween in the traditional three acts. First we get to meet Michael Myers as a young fella, and to a certain extent learn why he became the boogeyman. The middle act centers on Mikey's descent into a withdrawn state at the Institute and climaxes with his successful escape. In the final act its back to Haddonfield for a Halloween night locals simply wont forget in a hurry. Each act has it's own flaws, and when viewing the movie as a whole it's pretty uneven, loses any sort of a rhythm, and in quite a few developments becomes simply unbelievable.
The first act presents us with Michael's home life, his school experience, and one of the more trite explanations for why a kid would turn into a sociopathic killer. Dropped into the Middle Class suburban paradise of Haddonfield are your typical Rob Zombie Rednecks. The guy can't seem to get enough of that stuff. Rob not everyone is a Redneck, sorry to burst your bubble, and for sure they are thin on the ground in the Haddonfields of this World. In John Carpenter's hands Michael Myers doesn't need an explanation, he simply is evil incarnate. Half the chills JC conjures up are due to Michael simply going apeshit for no discernable reason. In trying to give an explanation to the character, Zombie lessons the character's impact and removes any sort of an attempt at mythology. Michael goes from being “the shape” to just another run of your mill Psycho who would probably be up for a few brews with Norman Bates, assuming Mom didn't object. Surprisingly the first act is the most effective of the movie, if we forgive the Rednecks, with Mikey taking retribution on Wesley one of the more disturbing scenes in modern horror. You get the feeling Zombie can direct, but only in short bursts, Halloween (2007) was crying out for a second unit Director. I simply wasn't buying into Mikey snapping, taking out Dad, the Boyfriend, Elder Sister, and possibly any family pets not quick enough to get the flock out of Dodge. And yeap the Step Dad really deserved it.
Zombie loses any supernatural elements while providing an idiot's guide to psycho development.
During Michael's incarceration at the state mental Hospital Zombie really develops one of his plot points. Michael is passionless with a mask on, and a mixed up kid without the mask. Yes I got that Zombie, you didn't need to labour away at it while boring us all senseless with some emo bits. By the end of this act Michael had lost all his mythical power for me, and had turned into just another Jason Voorhees. A couple of things really weren't working in the middle act of the movie. In no fashion what so ever did Sam Loomis ever define his relationship to Michael. The synergy that was brought to bare in the original movie, by the character Loomis' obsession with Michael, wasn't happening in the remake. I didn't for a second believe our modern Loomis had any insight into Michael. The second thing that really took me out of the movie was grown up Michael. Holy heck they must have some decent gyms happening down your local nuthouse, complete no doubt with personal trainers, and enough steroid abusing to send Olympic Drug Testers into a cold sweat. Come on Zombie, you lead us to believe Michael spent all those years sitting on his arse making masks of growing complexity and still managed to look like one of Conan's sidekicks. That fat kid at the start of the middle act became Mr Universe, come on pull the other one.
The final act throws in two developments that beggared belief. For all those years Michael's kitchen knife and Shatner mask remained undiscovered under the floorboards of the house; guess the Haddonfield Police back in 1967 weren't concerned with murder weapons and the like then! And how exactly did Michael work out Laurie Strode was his long lost Sister? Sheriff Brackett makes it amply clear at one stage he dropped baby Laurie off at another Town's Hospital and had covered up the Strode's adoption of the kid to protect the new family. Does Michael have some sort of psycho sixth sense or something that we have been completely unaware of? That development on it's own sucked the life juices out of Halloween and has to be the worse case of script writing I have ever come across.
In terms of scenes from the original movie Zombie saves the iconic ones for the final act. And guess what, you simply wont care about them. The remake lacks the sinister tension of the original, and Zombie in no way attempts to get the audience behind the three gals put in harms way. Carpenter introduced us to the characters slowly in the original, and got us liking them. Zombie is incapable of the same level of movie making and pretty much throws three interchangeable gals onto the screen as cannon fodder.
What’s worse in my book of counted cinema wrongs is Zombie hasn’t learnt that modern handholds with zero stabilisation don’t work for most audience members. A lot of Halloween is pretty much unwatchable due to the Cameraman having the DTs from a heavy amount of drinking the night before. Nothing else can explain the almost nauseating shooting of some scenes.
Malcolm McDowell (Dr Sam Loomis) as feared couldn’t fill the shoes of Donald Pleasence and simply phoned in his performance from outer Mongolia, on a particularly bad connection. Brad Dourif (Sheriff Brackett) was even worse and managed to look like he was hitting the bottle heavily throughout. Actually don’t blame him to be honest, a kick in the arse to your career like this one would drive a Puritan to hard liquor. Tyler Mane (adult Mikey) didn’t have a lot to do, and Daeg Faerch (younger Mikey) was simply irritating and managed to look like one of those Hanson girls throughout his screen time. Surprisingly Sheri Moon Zombie (Deborah Myers) managed to give the performance of her life and was utterly believable as the Mom with the troubled kid trying to make ends meet.
Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Strode) managed to irritate the crap out of me and I was really hoping Michael might have saved me from more of her inane performance. Danielle Harris (Annie) was actually pretty good; she is of course an alumnus of the franchise having previously appeared in parts 4 and 5. While Kristina Klebe (Lynda) matched Taylor-Compton on the irritation stakes.
The usual assortment of Zombie “B” grade actors managed to score roles, with Ken Foree the standout.
Rob Zombie didn’t stint on the T&A front as about every female actor in the movie showed off their boobs, excluding Sheri who showed her arse in a g-string cause her husband is the Director, and Taylor-Compton who was the notional “good girl” requirement. The gals get the square root, as Rob Zombie doesn’t know his audience breakdown.
Tyler Bates did the original score for the movie, which was pretty much dominated by John Carpenter’s original movements, and which remains the only highlight from the movie for mine. Was great hearing JC’s stuff on the big screen finally, awesome. What did Bates actually compose again?
You get a whole lot of songs on the soundtrack, but unfortunately Zombie is so heavy handed in where he uses them that the dreaded unintentional humour raises it’s head. Get this, some cuts between young Mikey on the front steps watching other kids enjoy Halloween, with Mom doing the pole dancing bit down some local dive. The kicker here is Zombie goes with Nazareth’s “Love Hurts”. Yes I was insanely cracking during this particular spot on the agenda. Sorry to say it but you’re an Idiot Zombie, that was hopelessly heavy handed. We also get some Black Sabbath, Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper et al. Note when young Mikey does elder sister Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is playing, the song gets reprised when elder Mikey takes out Lynda as the first of his intended second Halloween victims. Just can’t beat that bridging huh Rob!
Okay am going to say it, mainly because I’m not the one going to be receiving all the angry emails from Zombie fans, Halloween (2007) is to date the worse entry in the entire franchise, and Uwe Boll out directs Rob Zombie! Harsh but true, someone needed to say it; I’m calling that tough love. For his next “movie”, term used in broadest possible sense, Rob Zombie needs to find someone who can actually write a script that doesn’t involve an f-bomb in every line, is sans Rednecks, and that drives on into tension town. Even then Zombie is likely to flock it up! Stick to the music Rob, after all you have some talent there, as opposed to what you display making movies. Quite frankly Halloween is the worse movie I have seen in 2007, with not much else likely to take the prize considering we are in December already.
To date Halloween (2007) has taken $58 million at the North American cinemas and a very poor International of $13 million (some markets not yet open, or likely to be). Australians pretty much weren’t interested with a sub million-dollar car wreck on the way. Since I know a lot of intelligent North Americans this must mean the entire states of Utah and Missouri turned up for the movie.
One of the notable things on the Internet are a number of people saying they are fans of the franchise but prefer Zombie’s version of Halloween to Carpenter’s original. These people are 1) complete inbred idiots, 2) 12 year olds hence no taste in movies, or more likely 3) completely lying through their teeth. If you prefer Zombie’s version that you really do need a course in movie appreciation stat!
Zero recommendation on this complete piece of trash that has for ever sullied the name of the Halloween franchise. Quite frankly Zombie’s flick makes Halloween: Resurrection look like Oscar material in comparison. Sub standard filmmaking at it’s worse, Rob Zombie needs to put on a dress, claim his name is Myers, and spend a night with Michael. Go get the original and watch that instead, sure as hell you are not going to like the remake.
[Editor's Note : Review re-printed with Author's permission]