a critiQal film review Halloween (2007)

Plot: After killing 3 members of his own family, a young Michael Myers is sentenced to the Holly Hills Sanitarium for psychiatric evaluation. After spending more than 15 years being analyzed by Dr. Loomis (McDowell), Myers (Mane), now a towering hulk of a man with a love for masks, escapes from the Sanitarium and goes back to Haddonfield: his home town and the current home of his sister, Laurie (Taylor-Compton).

889 words (Est. Reading Time 4m 26s)

After 8 films, does the Halloween movie series really need a “re-imagining”? Ask most any fan, and you’ll probably get the same answer: YES! After a couple of good flicks somewhere in the middle and a fun reality TV rip-off with , the series has gone about as far as it can – maybe a little bit farther – and it definitely needs a new breath of life.

But, after seeing the horrendously bad , we were pretty sure Rob Zombie wouldn’t be the man for the job, so we skipped this one in theaters. It recently popped up in our blockbuster.com queue, however, and arrived at our house today. Since Heather isn’t a big fan of Freddy/Jason/Michael Myers flicks, I sat down to watch this one while she was cooking up a storm in her Pastry Chef class.

Rob Zombie started out with a cast of weird actors with , and they helped turn the thing into a complete mess of a film. With Halloween, he’s learned a bit, and brought in Malcolm McDowell as one of the main characters. Malcolm is great as Dr. Loomis, especially during Michael’s early years, and manages to bring a lot to what would otherwise be rather dull interview sessions.

The rest of the cast – even Shari Moon Zombie – do a great job of playing their parts, especially Scout Taylor-Compton as Michael’s sister Laurie. She’s the main target this time out, and Taylor-Compton does a great job of playing scared once the time comes. Tyler Mane has to have the easiest job, however, as the grown Michael Myers. Without having to utter a word, he gets to put on the Captain Kirk mask and try to emote through that. Of course, he can’t, and the mask is as featureless as ever – but with the background Zombie has built up, the viewer feels like they have a glimpse behind the mask nevertheless.

Rob Zombie does a great job of introducing the young version of Michael Myers to the audience with Halloween. By delving more into the background of the psycho, he gets the viewer involved on a much more personal level than any of the recent films have been able to do. Sharing Michael’s past with the audience helps viewers connect to the character while at the same time allowing the film to become even more disturbing. From the grisly violence of the shattered home, Zombie then whisks his viewers to the stark whiteness and induced calm of the Sanitarium. By slipping right from the violence to the Sanitarium, it helps reinforce the facility’s blandness, and helps toss the viewer a bit off guard.

Maybe Zombie is able to get deeper into the head of Michael Myers thanks to his previous deranged KISS wannabe music personality. After all, he spent a lot of years himself hiding behind the paint, so maybe he has an inkling of the security Myers feels when he puts on a mask. Whether that’s true or not, Zombie shows real promise for the first time as a filmmaker with Halloween, and it will be interesting to see whether he keeps growing from here, or degenerates back to House of 1000 Corpses 2.

Of course, the whole movie isn’t background, and the special effects get a lot of screen time after young Michael turns into the mask-wearing freak viewers remember. The gore is splashed about almost without cause, as Michael apparently decides he’s going to kill anyone his sister Laurie knows. Sure, the parents are understandable, but why the side trips to kill off her friends? It doesn’t make sense – but by that point, the viewer is wrapped up in the film enough to not really care. Or how about the guy Myers kills apparently to take his truck – despite the fact that Myers has never driven, and has in fact been locked in the Sanitarium since before he was even close to driving age. And then where does he park? The truck is never mentioned again.

Of course, these are somewhat minor slip-ups, but after the impressive success of the first 2 parts of the film, it is somewhat disappointing to see the film turn back into the normal rather brainless hack-and-slash viewers have seen so many times over. Then again, seeing Myers come face to face once more with the mask that he would become synonomous with does induce it’s share of goose pimples, so maybe the mindless hack-and-slashery can be somewhat overlooked.

After all, Zombie does manage to give Myers (even behind his mask) more brains than any of the other films, even as he mindlessly butchers his victims. Instead of just going head-on into the situation, this Myers enters silently and takes in the scene before making his move. It’s definitely a more calculating psycho – and something that would be worth seeing in another sequel.

So, Rob, if you’re going for Halloween 10, up the thinking, try to keep Michaels on track, and toss in a few more memorable characters like McDowell’s Loomis, and you should have something worth watching.

In the meantime, Rob Zombie’s Halloween is the first movie he’s made that’s worth watching – and should delight any fans of the series. So, if you’re missing the old hulking psycho with the obsession for masks, this Halloween should definitely be on your list.

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