“The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to break free from the abyss and move silently among us.” -- Dr. Samuel Loomis
Today I am here to talk about one of the most controversial remakes within the horror community - Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007). Now, before I delve into this review, I just want to say that I am a HUGE fan of John Carpenter's original Halloween (1979) and nothing will ever compare to the original. That said, I do also really enjoy this movie a lot -- but as something on its own. I don’t mentally allow any changes or deviations from this film take away from my opinion of the original. In my opinion, this is one of the best horror film remakes alongside Evil Dead (2013).
A huge complaint I often hear from fans of the original is this: Michael didn’t need an explanation for the evil atrocities that he committed. Although I agree that it wasn’t necessary, I still think that it made this film damn well terrifying. Every day there are kids who grow up with broken families and are bullied in school and the realism and painful truth that comes with that is what makes these remakes terrifying in their own unique way.
I just want to quickly discuss the elephant in the room - Rob Zombie’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie. Although, the backstory that Rob envisioned isn’t quite the one that I had originally imagined, Sheri absolutely killed it in her role. She perfectly played the loving and caring mom who is in an abusive relationship, doing the best that she can with the cards that have been dealt to her. Even though she isn’t a character that I can relate to in my actual life, I am able to separate myself from her and sympathize with her character.
I am always so torn when it comes to this film. As its own thing I think it’s fantastic, but then I remember that it’s a Halloween remake and I find myself wishing that they never gave Michael a backstory. He isn’t a character I should be sympathizing with. He’s the Boogeyman. He’s the Shape. He IS pure evil. There isn’t supposed to be a drop of good in him and there is no reason that I should ever feel sorry for him. When this originally came out I was a little bit frustrated and angry that they gave him a personality and emotion, because that is not who or what Michael is. Over the years I have allowed myself to look at this film with a much more open mind and I am able to separate this film from the other films in the franchise. (Almost in the exact same way that I am able to separate Halloween III: Season of the Witch.)
Now let's talk cinematography and special effects. Rob Zombie is not afraid to show you gore and he doesn’t leave much room for imagination. One scene in particular that stands out to me is when Michael’s mom comes home to find Michael sitting on the steps, holding his baby sister while she cries, while inside the rest of their family is laying in pieces throughout the house. The colouring, the news report in the background describing everything that happened, and Sheri Moon Zombie’s reaction to discovering the bodies made the whole situation absolutely devastating and hard to watch.
Dr. Loomis’s character, played by Malcolm McDowell (best known for his work in A Clockwork Orange), does Donald Pleasence’ character justice. His personality was very smooth and intelligent and portrayed in a similar style, but Zombie added a bit more depth in his character and a personality outside of Michael Myers. I always enjoyed his moments where he was on the screen just like I did the films before it. Dr. Loomis will always be my favourite character in the franchise.
When our little Mikey grows up to be not so little anymore, that’s when this movie really picks up. Zombie isn’t afraid to show you the slashing, the blood or the aftermath that the next victim winds up stumbling across before they meet their unfortunate demise. He is silent (again, thankfully) and is back to being the terrifying menace that we all remember. Quietly stalking his prey from the shadows and only coming to light just before the next victim is about to be taken... absolutely brilliant. They don’t make slasher films like this very often anymore.
I won’t focus too much attention on it, but I really appreciate the Danielle Harris (Jamie Lloyd from the original Halloween franchise) and Brad Dourif (Charles Lee Ray/Chucky from the Child’s Play franchise) cameos. Alongside recognizable actors like Daryl Sabara, Sid Haig and Danny Trejo, it’s always fun seeing people you know.
Even though this film was different and not what I expected or even wanted at some points, I still really enjoyed it. It was wild and scary in it’s own way. It was an emotional rollercoaster and I was able to see and learn more about characters that I never put much thought into before this movie, like Mrs. Myers. It was gory and brutal, and to be honest it probably has a higher kill count than the first several movies combined. The deaths were creative, some seeming to be homages to the original films, and it was a joy to watch. I rate this film a 7.5/10 and recommend watching this film in the order it was released - after the 8th film in the franchise, with an open mind.