Film Reviews

Halloween Rob Zombie

Rating - 4/10

Even without a burning desire to dislike Halloween because of personal bias (say, for those that worship the original), it can't be said that it's altogether a good film. It makes out like it should be with its more-effective-than-not jump scares and gritty filmmaking, but Rob Zombie's love for the source material is actually what cripples Halloween. He doesn't just love the original; he loves Michael Myers. Working off a script he penned, this factor shows in the way that Zombie sympathizes with Michael in the terrible opening thirty minutes, glimpsing into Michael's white trash life and presenting the despicable people surrounding him.

This major fault to the original design (making Michael an evil force without a reason, distancing him from the Jasons and Freddys of the world by making him not a product of evil but evil itself) zaps most of the tension towards Michael. Michael (Daeg Faerch, best when he is asked to become demented but lacks with any sort of real dialogue) is just some messed up kid living under a drunken stepfather (William Forsythe) and a caring but flawed mother (Sheri Moon Zombie), given to verbal abuse by a smutty sister (Hanna Hall) and left to pick his battles against demeaning bullies. The way Michael suddenly dispatches of these victims is counterbalanced by Zombie's need to defend his protégé; none of the kills are justifiable, but they at the very least don't seem random (until the plot calls for Michael to slip into complete madness). So when the film switches to fifteen years later and Michael (Tyler Mane) breaks out to find his younger sister and targets her unsuspecting friends, the random killings seem out of place to the story Zombie was presenting.

I'd never call myself a Zombie fan, far removed from his music and about the same length from his abysmal debut (House of 1000 Corpses) and tepid sequel (The Devil's Rejects). But House notwithstanding, Zombie showed a flare for direction in Rejects's execution, even if that's the best that can be said for the vile final product. So handling a project that featured what I assume is one of Zombie's personal favorite films seemed right up his alley, and you'd be right to assume it was. Following the overlong intro, Halloween becomes the best sequel never made to that original, tellingly atmospheric and with enough tension to provide the average fan a nice thrill ride. Zombie has no idea when to call it quits though, cheapening the effect with the intro and further ruining it with his adoration for the female figure; almost every kill following a brief stop at a truck wash features the victims naked, hormonal boys and girls alike. No need to learn anyone's names; they are henceforth known as Bimbo #1 and #2, and Laurie (played with dignity by Scout Taylor-Compton), and they're all as dumb as you may think (though Dr. Loomis, played avidly by Malcolm McDowell, gets the worst of it).

The thing is, in the original (and just about any horror film), we were meant to root for Michael to get the victim because that's the fun of the film. In this self-aggrandizing remake, we're asked to root for Michael for a completely different reason, making the fun of the film depressing and filthy. The ingredients are there (girls and breasts and gore!) but it's actually more degrading than usual, even for a day-and-age with this so-called "torture porn." It's gritty and gets points for claustrophobic realism, but it's obvious that Zombie is the only one having fun here, much in the way Michael lets all of his female victims crawl breathlessly away as he slowly tracks them. By the time the film ends (past at least five different stopping points), it's abrupt and feels anti-climactic, and with it comes dissatisfaction and the feeling of being dirty. Halloween is a victim of Zombie's adoration with Michael and his love for the original, and the end product is consequently far too messy to succeed.