I’m a huge fan of the films of Rob Zombie. He has a unique and disturbing vision for cinema, and his movies are more than just the gore-fests they may appear to be on first glance. This remake, for example, does an excellent job setting itself very far apart from the John Carpenter classic, but his respect and admiration for the original is entirely evident, and he puts in a ton of moments – some small, and some a bit larger – that pay homage to what is clearly a favorite film of his. Honestly, if I hadn’t watched the original so recently (and written about it), I may have missed some of these incredible moments. But that’s why I like this movie so much: those on the “in”, so to speak, can find more to appreciate.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween is almost two movies put together: a prequel to the original, and then a remake of it. The first half of the film tells the story of Michael’s upbringing. It is a modern look at a broken home, which is why I love that Zombie never throws a specific date on the action of the movie: evil can happen any year, and virtually any place. In this version of Halloween, Michael is a bullied young boy who wears masks to “hide [his] ugliness”. One day, he snaps, kills a classmate, his mom’s boyfriend, his sister’s boyfriend, and his older sister, sparing only his younger baby sister and stripper mother who was at work at the time.
Instead of skipping ahead to fifteen years later like the original, we follow Michael as he begins treatment in a mental hospital with Dr. Loomis (played wonderfully by Malcolm McDowell). After spending time with him, Zombie finally introduces us to Laurie Strode and her friends, and the film continues as fans of the original might expect.
Zombie has a specific directing style that mixes vulgarity, violence, sex, and blood in great quantities, and Halloween is no different. The movie is incredibly violent, but given the updated setting to the whole movie, it fits well. All the special effects look great, as expected, and I love the Myers mask.
The biggest complaint I have about Halloween is that some of the dialogue doesn’t fit in to this world that Zombie has created. Some of the relationships – specifically the relationship between Laurie and her parents, and the moments between the three friends – feels forced and fake. Everything is just too “nice” or too “fun” to be believable, which plays in contrast to the ultra-realistic world that Zombie creates.
This is not a big complaint, though, and Rob Zombie’s Halloween, though lightyears apart from the low-budget horror film that John Carpenter created in 1978, is a great slasher film. It is an obvious product of the 2000s, but that’s what I love about it.