Halloween – Review


Image courtesy of impawards.com

Director:

Rob Zombie

Cast:

Malcolm McDowell……….Dr. Samuel Loomis
Brad Dourif……….Sheriff Lee Brackett
Tyler Mane……….Michael Myers
Daeg Faerch……….Michael Myers, age 10
Sheri Moon……….Deborah Myers
William Forsythe……….Ronnie White
Richard Lynch……….Principal Chambers
Udo Kier……….Morgan Walker
Clint Howard……….Doctor Koplenson
Danny Trejo……….Ismael Cruz
Lew Temple……….Noel Kluggs
Tom Towles……….Larry Redgrave
Bill Moseley……….Zach ‘Z-Man’ Garrett
Leslie Easterbrook……….Patty Frost
Scout Taylor-Compton……….Laurie Strode
Danielle Harris……….Annie Brackett
Skyler Gisondo……….Tommy Doyal
Jenny Gregg Stewart……….Lindsey Wallace
Hanna Hall……….Judith Myers
Kristina Klebe……….Lynda
Adam Weisman ………….Steve
Dee Wallace……….Cynthia Strode
Max Van Ville……….Paul
Nick Mennell……….Bob Simms
Pat Skipper……….Mason Strode
Daryl Sabara……….Wesley Rhoades
Richmond Arquette……….Deputy Charles
Ken Foree……….Big Joe Grizzley
Paul Kampf……….Officer Lowery
Sybil Danning……….Nurse Wynn
Micky Dolenz……….Derek Allen
Daniel Roebuck……….Lou Martini
Mel Fair……….Taylor Madison
Sid Haig……….Chester Chesterfield

Stripped of any pretentious ambitions, Halloween is a raw and gritty return to classic horror. Although Rob Zombie fails to completely wipe away the fingerprints left on the genre over the past three decades, he does a remarkable job of bringing his movie back to the basics. Though his past films have offered evidence to the contrary, Zombie has pieced together a masterful fright flick that concurrently honors its source material while giving the audience a more current vision of fear. Horror should always be basic, but viewers expect more style these days.

However, no matter what trend in horror is the flavor of the month, the most terrifying monsters are those who kill without motivation. While young Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) has a tough home life, it hardly gives him reason to go on a killing spree that would make Charles Manson sick. While his mother, Deborah (Sheri Moon), is at work (as a stripper, no less) Michael has enough time to murder her boyfriend, his sister and her boyfriend. To emphasize the magnitude of his violent behavior we are treated to “Love Hurts” by Nazareth as Michael sits on the curb lamenting about his ruined Halloween and generally crummy existence juxtaposed with images of his mother on a stripper pole.

This type of home life is, no doubt, a hard lot and possibly something worth being more than a little angry about, but it hardly justifies homicide. This notion sits heavy in one’s stomach as Michael is shown brutally slaying victim after victim through the years. Certainly it is scary to imagine a killer without conscience, but it is nauseating to see things from Michael’s perspective for such a sustained period. Without someone to sympathize with Halloween could have easily succumbed to horror’s modern formula. Even with introduction of our heroine, Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton), Halloween has a wealth of extended, torturous death scenes. Yet with Laurie and her friends’ involvement the audience suddenly has someone to be genuinely afraid for, and Zombie wisely cranks up the intensity.

It didn’t seem that the original Halloween was such a breathless ride until the final credits, but it is possible that audiences have forgotten what it feels like to be truly scared. By now, surprises in the genre are about as startling as a sneeze, but Zombie excels at creating that gripping suspense that will no doubt help many high schoolers in losing their virginities. It’s the suspense that leaves you lying awake at night wondering if you have ever heard your house make that particular noise, not the “will he or won’t he do severe damage to himself to save his own life?” suspense we have been seeing over the last couple years.

Regardless, Zombie’s Halloween is not completely absolved from the sins it commits. The violence is more extreme than necessary and Michael is offered too much sympathy (a tactic that seemed questionable in the original as well), but the reception of such aspects is a matter of personal preference. At worst, Halloween is a compelling update of a classic; at best, it is superior to its predecessors. The biggest surprise from Halloween is that it proves that John Carpenter’s tale of suburban terror still has plenty of mileage left.

FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):

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