Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Instinctive Force Biding Its Time

In early September, I went to the theater to see Rob Zombie's 2007 version of Halloween, and despite my reservations over the very notion of a remake of the 1978 classic--Not to mention a few controversies along the way--I wanted to give the film a fair shake...

Put simply--the update is a mess and really makes you appreciate the genius of John Carpenter and Debra Hill back in '78.

As a 10 year old child, Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) brutally kills his sister Judith (Hanna Hall) and his stepfather (William Forsythe). Shortly thereafter, young Michael is put in an asylum and placed under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).

Years later, the boy, now an emotionless catatonic man has escaped back to his hometown of Haddonfield to complete the murderous rampage. that began all of those years ago. Now, the adult Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) is back, and his hometown is about to find out that there is no escape from pure evil.

One of the strengths of the Carpenter version of Halloween is its ability to scare viewers using suspense and shock-without having to depend on gore--to tell its story. While I realize Zombie wanted to make the 2007 flick as different as possible, having no desire to make a shot for shot retread, his film uses blood and gore to make up for the fact that his film is just NOT scary.

Even though Zombie keeps the framework of the story in tact, he wastes golden chances to scare us--with the new stuff. As I feared, knowing too much of Myers' backstory just weighs everything down like an anchor. I wouldn't have minded spending 40 minutes learning how screwed up little Mikey's home life is....but frankly, as presented it's quite uninteresting.

The series already tried explaining the Shape's origin in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers with mixed results (see Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers, the Producers' Cut for more details). I agree with the Carpenter/Hill approach that "less is more"-allowing the audience to guess at the killers whys--rather than leading us there--keeping him a mythological figure or evil force--more or less...

Once the film moves into more familiar terrain though, most of that material is either dropped all together or truncated to get to its new conclusion

I actually feel bad for the cast of the movie. Everyone gives it their best shot, but thanks to bad writing by Zombie--most of the characters are given stiff and silly dialogue to utter--with the F-Word thrown in for good measure--a lot.

Many of the movie's great supporting players are wasted here. Dee Wallace, playing Mrs. Strode is introduced quickly and has only one really meaty scene after that... Danielle Harris (who is well known to the franchise faithful having played Jaime Lloyd in both Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5) plays Annie, fares a bit better with screen time but deserves better material.

When I first heard that Malcolm McDowell would be playing Dr Sam Loomis, as a fan of most of his work, I actually was pretty jazzed. It's a shame that his performance only serves to further exalt the way the late Donald Pleasence played the doc through 5 films. Sure, there was a touch of camp the way Pleasence did things, but it never got in the way of you totally buying into it full on. McDowell is not very subtle when chewing the scenery and serves as a major distraction.

Scout Taylor-Compton playing the pivitol role of Laurie Strode isn't given enough time for the part to make her the star that it made Jamie Lee Curtis almost 30 years ago.

Zombie turns the simple killer stalks babysitter premise into a bloody version of a daytime talk show or violent "After School Special"

Thank goodness, Halloween 2007 has no chance of ever becoming the true classic, that is the original.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree, this film was amateurish at best. It was unwatchable. The profanity for no reason was just so pathetic. The kid was a terrible actor and ...nevermind, this movie should have never been made.