Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Film Review: Halloween (2007)

Halloween (Review)
United States/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"I recommended trying your best to ignore the original while going into this brutal slasher with an open mind."

On Halloween night, Michael Myers escapes from a mental institution and searches for his younger sister while killing anyone in his path...

Halloween, of course, is a remake of the classic 1978 film of the same name. This remake, however, also serves as a prequel. The film begins during Michael's childhood, where the boy exhibits violent behavior towards animals – one of the elements of the Macdonald triad. He ends up killing most of his family on Halloween night and he's subsequently sent to a mental institution under the care of Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who can't seem to find a reason for the madness. Fast forward fifteen years and Michael Myers escapes from the hospital. He starts to search for his sister, stalking and killing as he pleases. We all know how the story goes. I felt like the ending dragged on for a bit too long, but I didn't hate it.

I like Rob Zombie's Halloween. In an industry filled with frame-by-frame remakes, Halloween manages to offer a little more. It paints a very dark and disturbing picture of a killer child turned full-grown killer. The prequel-esque scenes offer some insight into this iconic character's dark soul. In a sense, it gives Michael Myers a reason to kill – a dark reason, of course. It does this in a Rob Zombie-style, too. Hate it or love it, Zombie yet again creates a dysfunctional white trash family to surround Michael. At times, it works very well. During others, it falls flat in its face – and this is because of some of its odd dialogue. In terms of horror, this is a fairly traditional slasher. It works off of its sheer brutality and moderate suspense. It's not as suspenseful as the original, but it is certainly more violent.

Therein lies the film's biggest problem. A problem that many critics have likely addressed and a problem that I obviously agree with – otherwise, I wouldn't be calling it a problem. Rob Zombie is a heavy-handed director. He leaves very little to the imagination. The violence is in-your-face grotesque at times, which sometimes leaves some blatant plot holes/continuity errors. Michael Myers is no longer an enigmatic figure, either. I appreciate some of the backstory, especially since it makes it a new film in a sense, but it shows a bit too much. I mean, he even takes off his mask during the latter half of the film. There is no mystery in this film, which ends up taking away from the character more than Rob Zombie could ever give.

The acting is... okay. Scout Taylor-Compton plays Laurie Strode and she performs well enough. Malcolm McDowell is also good. This is a Rob Zombie movie, though, so his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, has a role. Sheri Moon, unfortunately, falls flat in this role. She often succeeds in playing the 'wild' roles, but I felt zero emotion in this motherly role. She feels dull and apathetic most of the time. I love the style of Zombie's movies, though. It has that very grungy vibe to it. It feels filthy and dark, which creates a great mood for horror viewing. This remake was written and directed by Rob Zombie. There are some flaws in the writing, but it ultimately works. I also think Zombie is a fine director. Although it felt bloated by the end, this is an atmospheric, disturbing, and suspenseful horror movie.

Overall, Halloween is a very good horror movie. Reading my review back, it may sound like I disliked it. That's not true at all. I thoroughly enjoy this film. As a matter of fact, it's one of my favorite remakes – and we know those are rarely good. Compared to the original, though, this film feels heavy-handed to a fault. So, I recommended trying your best to ignore the original while going into this brutal slasher with an open mind. I like it. I really do.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, sex, and nudity.

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