Rob Zombie’s re-envisioning of the granddaddy of all slasher films will undoubtably polarize critics asÂ you’ll either love it or hate it vehemently, but it is doubtful you’ll leave the theater somewhere in the middle.Â Whereas JohnÂ Carpenter’s 1978 originalÂ helped define the boundaries of a genre, Zombie’s reworking is one part homage, one partÂ decidedly modern (read: violent) spin on the tale.Â
This version of Halloween attempts to give far more background into the Myer family at the beginning, yet ultimately explains very little as to what finally makes Michael snap.Â And like many of the sequels that later followed in the original film series, Michael Myers’ transformation into a robotic killing machine hasÂ no real logical progression leading up toÂ this powerful embodiment, which is unsatisfying as it seemed to be what our story was trying to accomplish.Â I did however, like the further exploration into the relationships between Michael and his mother (Zombie’s real-life wife Sheri Moon Zombie), his shrink (Malcolm Mcdowell venturing boldly into Van Helsing territory)Â and Michael and his younger sister Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton).
Zombie is an excellent director and clearly did his homework as many scenes are almost shot for shot from the original, but both the opening background story as well as the film’s conclusion are different and risk evoking the wrath of purists.Â But let’s face it, this was basically an attempt at rewriting the ‘bible’ and it carried it’s share of risks for any director.Â
Which leads me to believe this was a labor of love for Mr. Zombie.Â Â His attention to detail andÂ creativeÂ use of the cameraÂ supports this notion as does his penchant for filling smaller roles with familiar faces from camp classics of the past (Dee Wallace, Brad Dourif, William Forsythe, Udo Kier, Richard Lynch, Clint Howard & Bill Moseley to name but a few). Yes, there’s lots of hidden trivialities to keep the horrorhound guessing and plenty of blood too!
And that point bears repeating – that Zombie clearly made this film for fans of the original and horror films in general.Â Â As such, it’s more gruesome and far more violent than what may be expected,Â which to me enhanced the sense of dread since you knew what this madman was capable of doing (Michael, not Zombie).Â There are also some geniunely creepy moments and a good cat-and-mouse sequence near the end that got more than one squeal out ofÂ the audience where I attended.
All in all, this probably isn’t Rob Zombie’s magnum opus as I think he’d fare better with his own wacked out storyline asÂ a launching pad (such as he had with House of 1000 Corpses) but it’s a laudable effort tackling the gargantuan task of re-inventing a classic.
I give it 7 out of 10 skulls.