Alright kids, here's the Fishbulb take on it.
I won't bore you with back story like the film does. I will not wax poetic about how the original 1978 horror classic this film is based affected me when I saw it at the drive in at the tender age of 4 years old. I will simply tell you what I liked and didn't like about this re-imagining of a classic boogeyman story. Furthermore, because this is, essentially, a remake it is inevitable that comparisons to the original will be drawn. I did try to remain fair though.
I LOVE Rob Zombie's music and his persona. It's fun, it's twisted, it's psychotic and scary and full of geeky references. This man knows horror films and knows horror monsters so it would seem that he was a great fit to revitalize the Halloween franchise with his own high octane, visceral style. Nope.
The film opens on the dysfunctional Myers household on a typical morning. Mom the stripper is cooking eggs while arguing with her disabled boyfriend who is flirting with his step daughter over mouthfuls of cereal. A young Michael, our hero(?), is upstairs killing his pet rats. Lovely. Later that day little Michael is pushed over the line by some bullies which sparks his homicidal rampage. He kills a bully on the way home from school, then after mom leaves to go to work and being denied a trick or treat trip, he kills his step father, sister and sister's boyfriend.
Michael is moved the the Sanitarium, where he denies any responsibility for the murders before stabbing a nurse in the neck with a fork. Although it is clear that Michael has a psychotic connection with masks, we see in one shot that he is allowed to create and display his collection of home made disguises in his cell. Wouldn't they be discouraging that at a mental hospital?
After a bloody breakout from the sanitarium, and about 40 minutes into the film, the remake finally reaches the original's storyline of an anonymous (well not anymore) boogeyman returning to his home. This is where the film actually begins to pick up some steam and gain the creepy, suspenseful energy of the original.
A nubile Laurie Strode is the model teenager with cool friends. A far cry from the nerdy, virginal Jaime Lee Curtis take on the character. Laurie goes through her day at school, catching glances of Michael here and there, all to good effect. Later she settles in to her babysitting job and agrees to watch an additional child to cover for a friend.
The second half of the film, yes I said second HALF is the retelling of the original story that horror fans are looking for. Zombie does a great job of paying homage to the original's plot while twisting it just enough to call his own. One scene in particular where Laurie finds one of Michael's victims still alive while he is still in the house is particularly effective and very suspenseful. The problem is that by the time the interesting stuff begins to happen we've already checked out. We've grown callus to the gallons of dark blood, the overuse of a four letter expletive, and the appearance of the white Shattner mask in the shadows.
The movie is a failure but not without some true successes. When Zombie is paying homage to his source material and coloring it with his own palette the movie works great. It's only when he tries to infuse the boogey man with a human soul that the pic gets bogged down and boring. The boogeyman wasn't supposed to have a soul. The boogeyman is scary because he doesn't have one. Unfortunately this retelling gave him one and robbed the story of nearly all it's suspense, mystery, and interest.
I give it 2 out of four stars.
1- Don't bother
2- Wait and rent it
3- Matinee Price
4- Worth full price admission