This is going to sound unfair, but who exactly thought it was a good idea to let Rob Zombie direct movies, let alone a remake of Halloween? Now granted, I haven’t actually seen anything else that Mr. Zombie has directed, so it is entirely possible that his other flicks are actually decent on some level, but if this remake is any indication of his skill as a filmmaker, I can’t really say I’m very keen on seeing anything else he has produced over the years because this was almost tedious to sit through.
Weirdly enough at first I found myself kinda enjoying the remake, if for nothing else than the ridiculous amount of profanity being used. The ridiculous usage of cursing was so over the top that it briefly became kinda amusing to watch. Unfortunately that only lasted for a very short period of time, just for the early scenes that centered around the time just before Michael Myers slaughtered his sister and his mom’s douchebag boyfriend. After that the movie quickly starts to slows down to a mind numbing grind of nothing particularly compelling happening on screen, accompanied with rather subpar performances and recycling of old tropes. To sum it up bluntly, outside of few little bits here and there, the remake ended up being an absolute bore.
I suppose my fundamental issue with this remake is that Rob doesn’t seem to really understand what made the original movie work. Trying to explain why Michael is a serial killer in a lengthy and drawn-out first act is just one of the missteps that end up ruining the entirely appeal of the movie, speak nothing of the spooky atmosphere of the story that was crucial in the original movie where Michael was almost like a force of nature. While I can understand the decision to elaborate what makes Michael tick from a creative standpoint, it’s still an ill-advised move because it removes much of what makes Michael terrifying as the bad guy. The more you learn about him, the less menacing he becomes. Instead of being an evil supernatural being that you can’t reason with and whose motivation is beyond you, he’s merely yet another generic evil psycho stabbing people with a kitchen knife because he’s screwed up in the head, etc. I tried to give this the benefit of the doubt, on the off chance that it went somewhere interesting with the idea of explaining Michael right off the bat, but beyond establishing Michael’s quirky obsession with masks, you get very little of anything else out of it. In hindsight even the mask thing isn’t particularly fascinating. You get couple of nice creepy visuals, such as Michael’s room filled with masks he’s made from papier-mâché, but that’s as far as it goes. Malcolm McDowell does add some minor substance to Michael through his disembodied narration as Dr. Loomis reading his case files, but it’s very minimal and one you make an argument that it only sounds interesting because McDowell’s just that good of a narrator.
Putting such a heavy focus on Michael for the entire first third also has the obvious side-effect of turning Laurie, the heroine of the story, into a completely one-note and forgettable character with very little actual depth to her. It’s shocking how poorly established she is beyond that of a generic giggling teenage girl who slightly obsessed with the topic of having a boyfriend and talking about sex with her friends. Honestly, she might as well be just called girl victim #3 given how little she differentiates from her two friends who both get attacked by Michael. I suppose her distinct lack of character might be the reason why they decided it was necessary to incorporate the twist from Halloween II, where Laurie and Michael were revealed to be siblings, to the script but ironically that only ends up creating more problems. Given that Laurie never actually discovers that fact herself in the movie, the very intimate connection between Michael and her amounts to absolutely nothing. It has no real consequences beyond demystifying Michael’s actions even further and turning him into even duller villain in the process. The only real thing you get out of the plot twist is a scene where Michael, after dragging Laurie into the basement of their old house, shows her a picture of the two of them as small kids, but as Michael just stands there as a silent statue and provides no context to what he is doing, Laurie fails completely to understand the meaning behind the picture and thus the scene, and the reveal in general, has no weight or emotional power behind it whatsoever. Why even bother doing the twist if Laurie, the only character whose reaction actually would have some resemblance of substance to it upon the discovery of the horrible truth, never finds out?
Just like most modern horror remakes, Rob Zombie’s Halloween fails completely to recapture the magic of the original movie and comes off as a very poor imitation with not much originality or improvements to offer. It misses the point of the 1978 original by a mile and a half and anyone who has seen this movie would have benefited more if this had just been another forgettable sequel rather than an awful cash grab remake made during the era where horror remakes were churned out every five, six months.