Halloween (2007)

Halloween (2007)

Evil Has A Destiny

After going on a murdering rampage in his hometown, young boy Michael Myers is sentenced to incarceration at the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium maximum-security mental facility. Here he is treated by noted child behaviourist Dr. Loomis – the only person who can truly understand Michael’s evil nature. Seventeen years later, Michael escapes and begins a murderous trek back to Haddonfield to finish what he had started years earlier.

 

Halloween is one of my favourite horror films. Even after countless views, the film still packs a punch and holds up today as well as it’s ever been. When I heard that they were remaking it, I nearly went on a killing spree myself. There are a handful of films that should never be remade simply because the originals are so good and Halloween was one of them. John Carpenter’s original is a stream-lined scare machine, devoid of filler and designed to scare with minimal fuss and maximum effect. However, I did rest a little more comfortably knowing that Rob Zombie would be directing. House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects aren’t exactly my favourite films but they did show that Zombie had a love for the horror genre (if his awesome music didn’t already tell you that) and that’s what was needed – not some hot shot first-time director looking to make a name for himself direct from editing MTV music videos. Zombie is hardly the best thing to hit the genre but he had proven himself to be capable enough behind the camera for me to warrant giving him a chance. After watching it, I only had one question on my lips: Rob Zombie, WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE? I can’t believe how much he’s butchered the legacy of the original with this shamelessly tacky rehash.

Trying to write this review was very hard. I want to be seen to give all films a fair chance and not pre-judge them. Where remakes are concerned, I try and distance them from the original. After all, most of these remakes are made in a very different time and society with different expectations and that must be taken into account. The creative input from writers, directors, producers, even down to the set decorators is vastly different. Films are generally bigger, louder and full of more special effects. And the demands and expectations on filmmakers are now solely financial. Who cares about a story when you have cash to make?

The first half of the film runs like you’re watching a documentary about white trailer park trash Americans. Hang on a minute: didn’t I watch this in The Devil’s Rejects? It seems like Zombie has forgotten which film he was remaking here. There’s the stripper mom, the drunken abusive stepfather and the slutty sister. No wonder Michael goes ballistic on them with a knife. But here is the film’s first major flaw – we now know what turns Michael into the killer later in the film. We sympathise with him. We feel for him. He’s a failure of society to address the problems of his family and his situation. Giving him reasons to turn into a killer and getting into his mindset as we do just turns him into way more of a character than he should really be. Come later in the film when he’s butchering innocent teenagers, we can’t really hate him for doing it because we’ve seen why he’s doing it.

If you’ve seen Zombie’s other work, you’ll know what to expect here from the script. He seems to think that people swearing every other word indicates that they’re tough, a bit psychotic or just ignorant because they can’t think of anything else to say. Unfortunately Zombie has one style and that’s blatantly obvious from the handful of films he’s made so far. He’s going to have to adapt his style otherwise his directorial career won’t last much longer – he should go back to making kick ass music instead.

The second half of the film plays more like a poor remake of the original with the action returning to Haddonfield where Michael begins to kill again. Zombie tries his best to imitate Carpenter, even down to some blatant scene-by-scene copying. But because he’s too content with showing more and ramping up the violence, he just doesn’t pull it off. He can’t create suspense or atmosphere to save his life – just look at his previous films for proof of that. He’s all about the full-on shock and horror tactics which sadly don’t work. There are no scares to be had here. There’s no drawn out moments of pure terror and suspense. It’s all loud and in your face.

Instead of trying to create his own style of filmmaking, Zombie seems content to throw out lots of gratuitous violence, swearing and more genre actors than a convention. Why did he feel the need to feature the following in bit parts: Ken Foree, Brad Dourif, Sid Haig, Sybil Danning, Leslie Easterbrook, Danny Trejo, Dee Wallace-Stone, Bill Moseley, Clint Howard….let me pause for breath…..Udo Kier, Richard Lynch and William Forsythe….not to mention his wife Sheri Moon Zombie. I can understand an odd one or two of them popping up for old time’s sake but most of the roles are two minute cameos at best. What’s the point in casting them except for genre fans to say “oh look there’s Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead” – it cheapens the film and cheapens Zombie’s reputation because he’s too busy throwing obvious winks to the fan boys.

Malcom McDowell is probably one of the best bits of the film, if not the best bit. He’s never going to replace Donald Pleasance’s portrayal of Dr Loomis. That character tried to help Michael but when he realised he couldn’t, he made it his life to ensure that he could never harm anyone and became obsessed with protecting everyone from his evil. McDowell’s Loomis seems to be trying to help Michael right until the last minute even after seeing the damage he can do first hand. McDowell’s old hand certainly adds a sense of integrity and class to the proceedings which is sorely missing.

In a nice little nod to the previous films, Danielle Harris is on hand as one of the teenage victims. She was the little girl that Michael Myers terrorised in some of the sequels, only this time she’s old enough to do it semi-naked by becoming one of the throwaway teenage victims. Another worthy mention is to Tyler Mane as Michael Myers. The man behind the mask in these films is always important as it can really have an impact on the character. Mane is a huge guy and his physically imposing presence is just what the character needs since the character had been all but tarnished with the silly first half of the film showcasing how he came to be deranged.

 

Despite the fact that the remake of Halloween is one of the worst remakes I’ve ever seen, my main problem and fear is that the younger audience will grow up thinking that this is the true Halloween. Or worse still, that the original is too timid and not gory or violent enough for them. Halloween is a totally pointless remake and even some of the lesser Halloween sequels were scarier and more entertaining than this drivel.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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