Review by Kristin Battestella
I’ve been mulling over my thoughts on Rob Zombie’s new Halloween remake for days. After finally taking in the horror update at the matinee, my feelings remain mixed. This version of Halloween is not for everyone.
A host of familiar faces appear for musician turned director Zombie’s fourth feature film. Zombie’s wife Sherrie Moon stars as Deborah Myers, a stripper struggling with a drunkard abusive man, slutty teen daughter, and young son Michael-who likes to torture small animals. After one too many taunts and insults, masked Mike kills the school bully and murders his family on Halloween. Psychologist Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) works with Mike Myers at a mental institution, but when he breaks free 15 years later, its up to Loomis to stop Mike from repeating his Halloween rampage- and finding his now grown baby sister Laurie (Scout-Taylor Compton).
Zombie’s remake both rises and falls on the actors involved. Moon is perfect as the do gooder stripper mom, and young Mike Myers actor Daeg Faerch is also stunning. His silent looks and creepy eyes sell the sociopathy of young Mike. The strength of the film is in its extended opening sequences. Unlike John Carpenter’s original 1978 Halloween, we have the time to explore what makes Mike do what he does, how it effects his mother and others around him.
I would have preferred the movie stay this way, but unfortunately we jump to teenage Laurie and her friends dying in gruesome, sexy ways. These boys and girls are a dime a dozen, and after the build up of unusual attachment to Mike Myers, the audience cares little for these expendable boobs. Compton cries, screams, and makes all the wrong moves for a horror movie. Not only is she a far cry from Jamie Lee Curtis, but this girl looks ugly when she wails.
The supporting cast helps give Halloween its edge more than the sex and nudity. Brad Dourif as Sheriff Lee Brackett and Danny Terjo as Orderly Cruz give a sense of credibility to the production, and perhaps Zombie should have again veered from the original film and brought more to these adults. Perhaps it would be intriguing to see how adults respond to the sex and death these teens put up with, how an adult would deal with the psycho killer. Sybil Danning and Dee Wallace are also used all too briefly in key scenes that are surprisingly well scripted.
Zombie veers none from the essential elements established in the original Halloween script penned by Carpenter and Debra Hill, yet the redressed ending leaves much to be desired. Where the extra Michael opening was oddly fascinating, I couldn’t wait for the Laurie versus Mike Myers ending to be over. Overlong, near constant screaming in dark dirty places, Zombie is certainly appealing to slasher fans of yore, but mainstream audiences won’t be impressed.
Rated R for lots of language, sex, and nudity, Halloween offers little scares or gore. Zombie shoots odd angles and plays with light versus dark effects, but in a franchise where this is essentially the ninth film, there’s little to spook anyone. I suspect its more about what looks cool or sexy-even though I didn’t find anything particularly sexy either. It’s a horror movie. You do it, you’re done in! Our theater showing had about twenty people, and I wasn’t the only one voicing predictions or commenting how stupid the characters seemed.
Zombie should have taken Halloween more on the dark psyche established, instead the film deteriorates into fan boy sex and visuals. Certainly there’s an audience for that, but Halloween had more intelligent potential than just a slasher movie. Pity.