Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween (2007)

I have tried to step aside from the fact that this film was titled HALLOWEEN so that I could approach it with a blank slate and form an unbiased opinion, but I can't. If this had been any other nameless Slasher, I feel that fans would still have had the same adverse reaction to it. I also strongly feel that if HALLOWEEN had never been made, this remake would never have been considered a classic, though it follows many of the same familiar steps. All too many, if you ask me. Rob made it abundantly clear before the release of his film that unless you plan on doing something dramatically different, a Horror remake should never be made. Not a year later, this film was released with a lackluster backstory that was followed with a near shot-for-shot remake of the original.

I understand Rob. I appreciate Rob. He has a deep respect for the genre, and more for the actors that have made it great. The problem here is that he can't let the past be the past and try anything new. The cameos carried over from DEVIL'S REJECTS and other genre classics completely detract from the film, as many of the roles feel entirely forced and out of place. The performances by Sheri Moon, Danny Trejo, William Forsythe, and Ken Foree in particular are just bad. There's no way around it. Daeg Faerch is also such an expected look for a killer kid, but delivers a decent performance. I can accept McDowell as Dr. Loomis, however Compton serves as a weak and forgettable lead, and never breaks into the empowered final girl role.

There are countless problems I have with the script, so I will try to narrow it down. If everyone that had an abusive, shitty childhood turned into a mass murderer, we would all be dead. It is arguable that Michael's domestic problems were the catalyst and not the cause, but that never comes through in the script. Michael's escape seems to be inconsequential to the holiday itself, and seems more motivated by the fact that he is being tormented by his keepers. Whether that was the intent or not, it really pulls away from the strength of his motivation. Once Michael is unleashed half way through the film, there is just not enough time to develop the protagonists to garner any sort of empathetic response from the audience. Outside of the redundancies of the last half of the film, the pacing is also destroyed by the unnecessarily long chase sequence between Laurie and Michael. I literally have to fight turning the film off by the time she is back in the Myers house.

Moving on to the look and editing, we have even more distracting elements that take away from the effectiveness of the characters and the film at large. The rough, aged look and rushed, choppy editing that worked so well in DR only serves to weaken HALLOWEEN. Carpenter's film used minimalist set designs and well-placed lighting to create sharp contrasts and fill the claustrophobic hallways with Michael's presence. Zombie's Michael is lost in the maze of overly complicated sets and blended color filters, let alone the shaky camera that disorients and dizzies the audience.

Tyler Mane does bring a certain ferocity to the role of The Shape, and comes off as being a mindless shark in a feeding frenzy. Grounding the character in reality by limiting his actions to Mane's physical capabilities was a very smart move, and lends a lot of credibility to the character. I am not objected to the humanization of the character as most fans had been, I just don't feel that it was done with enough effectiveness to have a serious impact and warrant the killing spree that resulted.

So many people have covered this film that there is little more I can really contribute, but while I am certainly not a fan of this version, I think it would have passed as an average Slasher entry had it not been stuck with the stigma of being a remake. I hope it serves as a learning experience for Rob, since he did such amazing work with DEVIL'S REJECTS. As it stands, the film is OK, but in no way recaptures the strength and originality of the first film.

Rating: 7/10.
Gore: 6/10.
Number of views: 4.



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5 comments:

  1. Great review Carl. I agree with all of your points, with the exception of some of the acting. I thought everyone carried their weight pretty well, cameos and all.

    The point you make about humanizing Michael is especially poignant. If you're going to give him a motive, well then give him a good one.

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  2. *winces and tries not to write huge reviews in the comment box*

    I love Rob, I wanna get into his head and walk around and browse all his files. I hate this POS though.

    The first half the movie is.....typical for Zombie. And also not half bad if this film weren't supposed to be a remake. He just couldn't help himself and had to white trash up Halloween. *yawn* All of his films have this, malcontent/white trash aspect to them and it's old, now. The death scenes were almost over the top even for me, and I almost censored my sons on this one. Almost. I don't censor for anything but out right X ratings, typically.

    The acting is TEH SUCK. Brad Dourif was great in Exorcist III, but blows the big one in this. He's not even believable in the role of Brackett. The Sam Loomis character has officially been destroyed in this film, as well as Laurie. Zombie has her saying and doing things that Laurie Strode would have NEVER even dared say or do. Not sure why they didn't kill off Annie, and who's bright idea it was to let her live, but I didn't like it. And how doo people just NOT see a 7 ft. man wearing a dirty looking mask running around your streets?! Nothing against Tyler Mane, but Michael.....does he REALLY need to be 7 ft tall?!

    This films left me with a serious bad taste in my mouth, I felt like I cheated on the series by even watching it.:( I own it.....I dunno why tho....:)

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  3. I can't stand it, and I never bother to watch it. Just UGH in film form.

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  4. I saw the initial version from Mr. Z which was "leaked" online prior to its theatrical release. A friend and myself were awestruck in the awfulness that we were watching. Especially painful was how Myers originally escapes the institution.

    Then having learned that the Z man had to do last minute reshoots made me curious to see if the released version was going to be something resembling an improvement.

    Ultimately I ended up hating it just a smidgen less than before. To put it mildly, as much of a fan as he professes to be, Mr. Z should go back to doing music and leave directing, or in his case, "directing" to someone else.

    It's reported that he threatens us with a remake of THE BLOB as his next "directing" job. Quoted from another site, RZ says this, "My intention is not to have a big red blobby thing -- that's the first thing I want to change. That gigantic Jello-looking thing might have been scary to audiences in the 1950s, but people would laugh now."

    ......right.

    I agree with you, Carl, but I think I hate the film much more than you do and probably more than the average fan. It's the one HALLOWEEN film I refuse to own. I actually think RESURRECTION is better and maybe even that shit stick of a sequel, HALLOWEEN 5.

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  5. I will never blame anyone for their negativity directed at this remake, and my sentiments were exactly the same after the first viewing. I have just had to step back and disassociate the film from the original HALLOWEEN and accept it as if it were any other nameless slasher. If this were called anything else, I dont think we would have as big a problem with it, though it would still fall on the lower end of average.

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