Halloween is a 2007 reboot (remake, reimagining, re-whatever you want to call it) of the 1978 John Carpenter version that many (myself included) consider the greatest slasher flick of all time. It was written, directed, and produced by Rob Zombie. This telling stars Tyler Mane as the adult Michael Myers, Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Sam Loomis, and Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode.
Zombie’s film delivers a backstory to Michael that the Carpenter does not explore. It contains much more gore than the original but aside from the Michael back story essentially follows the plot of the 1978 film.
SPOILER ALERT: This review will talk openly about the plot of the film. Seeing that this is a remake, if by some chance you’ve not seen the original then I’ll be spoiling that as well.
10 year old Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) from Haddonfield, Illinois murders a school bully and later that same evening (Halloween) kills his older sister Judith (Hanna Hall), his mother’s boyfriend Ronnie (William Forsythe), and Judith’s boyfriend Steve (Adam Weisman). His little sister, Angel Myers, escapes the massacre. Michael is sent to Smith’s Grove – Warren County Sanitarium under the care of child psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).
Michael’s mother (Sheri Moon Zombie), visits him regularly until Michael kills a nurse one day after a visit. Not able to deal with her son’s actions she kills herself. For the next fifteen years, Michael (Tyler Mane) does not speak and makes masks to cover his face. Michael manages to escape and makes his way back to Haddonfield.
Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), and her friends Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and Lynda Van Der Klok (Kristina Klebe) are going about their day on Halloween. Laurie sees Michael watching her but thinks nothing of it. Later that night, she’s babysitting Tommy Doyle and Lynda meets her boyfriend at Michael’s childhood home. Michael kills them, and goes to the Strode home, where he kills Laurie’s parents. At this point, Loomis has been made aware that Michael has escaped and he heads to Haddonfield knowing that’s where he’ll go. Sherriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and Dr. Loomis head to the Strode home, with Brackett explaining that through some rather convenience circumstances the night of the original murder that Laurie Strode is actually Michael’s baby sister Angel.
Annie convinces Laurie to also babysit Lindsey Wallace who Annie was supposed to be watching, so she can bang her boyfriend Paul. In horror movies, sex = dead, so when Annie and Paul get down to it Michael kills Paul mid act (talk about coitus interruptus) and attacks Annie. Laurie brings Lindsey home to find Paul dead and Annie barely alive on the floor. She is then attacked my Michael and he takes her back to his (their) home. Michael presents Laurie with a photo trying to show her that she is his younger sister but Laurie doesn’t get it and she grabs his knife and stabs him before escaping.
Michael gives chase, but is shot by Dr. Loomis. Michael makes a comeback that we knew was coming and he and Laurie end up on the balcony and ultimately tumble over down to the yard. Laurie finds herself on top of a bleeding Michael. She points Loomis’ gun at Michael’s face and repeatedly pulls the trigger only to find the gun is empty. Just as Michael grabs Laurie’s wrist the gun finally goes off and Laurie screams ending the film.
It’s tough to talk about this one without letting my love for the John Carpenter version skew things. The plot is straight forward and with the exception of possibly getting a few characters mixed up it’s easy to follow. Whie I loved the simplicity and ambiguity in Carpenter’s version of Michael I actaully enjoy the back story here. Seeing the 10 year old version of Michael and what he goes through seems to humanize this version of Michael a bit more. For some that may be a bad thing but I can let it slide. It was super cool to see some familar faces in cameo / bit parts here including Brad Dourif (Grima Wormtongue from LOTR), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan from the Police Academy series), Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn) & Micky Dolenz (The Monkees).
A lot has been made about the amped up level of violence and gore here. As a straight up horror fan I like that. The original was actually pretty devoid of any blood / gore due to budgetary constraints but that’s part of the “charm” of the original. Rob Zombie is known for his bloody vision and this one gives it spades. I spose you could say that leaving something to the imagination is a strong tool that Zombie throws away, but he’s able to tell a compelling story and the violence doesn’t get in the way in my opinion.
The acting here is top notch. Taylor Mane does a great job as Michael. He’s got the walk and stalk down and manages to “act” even though he’s behind a mask (or hair) the majority of the film. This isn’t an easy task and I’ve got to say “bravo” to him.
Scout Taylor-Compton is good here as Laurie too though she’s not nearly as “wholesome” as Jamie Lee Curtis played the character. I can pretty much guarantee that while she’s more than proficient in this role, she’ll never be thought of the way Curtis is synonymous with Strode.
One thing that’s always bugged me about Halloween (both the original and Zombie’s remake) is this… Where the fuck is everyone? I don’t know about you, but in MY neighborhood you can’t walk outside on Halloween / trick-or-treat night without running into 2 dozen kids and a slew of parents. Multiple times in the movie, Laurie runs outside from house to house and sees NO ONE. I suppose this is a concession I have to give the film, but as I re-watched the Zombie version it really struck me.
One thing that Zombie definitly DIDN’T change, and thank God he didn’t, was the original John Carpenter score. Without those few recognizable notes on the piano, The Shape that is Michael Myers just doesn’t posesses the same aura that he does. A definite good choice on Zombie’s part.
I don’t envy Rob Zombie for being tasked to re-make a classic slasher flick such as Halloween. At this point the reboot craze has been done to death and in my opinion this is probably the best of the bunch. It holds true to the original, amps up the violence and adds some fresh content that changes the story enough to where it’s not just a shot for shot remake of the original. There are some fans out there that simply won’t like this or watch it BECAUSE it’s a remake. Those folks are missing out on a pretty damn good little film out of spite. If you’re a horror fan you should definitely check this one out as it’s very well done.
If you’ve not see this one you can get it in several formats from Amazon:
Halloween (2007) – Unrated Two-Disc Special Edition