DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
HALLOWEEN (director/writer: Rob Zombie; screenwriter: based on the screenplay by John Carpenter & Debra Hill; cinematographer: Phil Parmet; editor: Glenn Garland; music: Tyler Bates/John Carpenter; cast: Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Samuel Loomis), Brad Dourif (Sheriff Lee Brackett), Tyler Mane (Michael Myers), Sheri Moon Zombie (Deborah Myers), William Forsythe (Ronnie White), Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Strode), Danielle Harris (Annie Brackett), Danny Trejo (Ismael Cruz), Adam Weisman (Steve), Hanna Hall (Judith Myers); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Andy Gould/Rob Zombie/Malek Akkad; Dimension Films; 2007)

 
"Zombie's vision is a misguided effort to be all splatter."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Just another lame Halloween sequel that can't come close to the original sleazy slasher thriller in bringing some sense of art to such trash, though it sure gets itself bloody trying; it's overlong, dreary, exploitative, humorless, poorly shot and edited (comes with a ridiculous false ending), and pointless. 

Director Rob Zombie ("The Devil’s Rejects"/"House of 1000 Corpses") in 1985 founded and sang for the group White Zombie until their disbandment. He now sings solo and makes films. Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's 1978 indie slasher/horror film, a cult film classic that's credited for starting the trend of teen slasher movies (ugh!), is interested in grossing out its audience at the expense of any subtlety or shooting for any kind of psychological tension or making things horror film scary. Zombie likes to think of his Halloween as a re-imagining, as he puts his own stamp on the film by filling it with an oversupply of graphic violence and a new take on the infamous poster child for evil, Michael Myers; he resurrects the slasher killer and has him now with an unbearable loveless white trash family, a penchant for wearing multiple masks, masturbating to animal torture and someone who in childhood talks back to express his anger with his family and the world when there's still a slight chance of reaching him.

When we first meet the creepy 10-year-old Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch), he's part of a dysfunctional white trash family that revels in abusive behavior; he's also bullied at school by older boys. His stripper mother, Deborah (Sherri Moon Zombie), not capable of being maternal, is a slut and her live-in boyfriend, his stepdad, Ronnie (William Forsythe), is a drunken pig who is vile and bullying and delights in calling him a "faggot." Michael's obnoxious uncaring slutty teenage sister Judith (Hanna Hall) treats him like dirt, while baby sister Laurie is the one in the family he seems most to tolerate. One Halloween day in the 1960s, Michael puts on a clown mask and in the woods ambushes and pummels to death with a thick piece of wood a school nemesis who recently bullied him. Next, after he returns from a trick-or-treat jaunt in his clown mask, he bounds with duct tape the sleeping drunken Ronnie and slits his throat with a kitchen knife. Following that, he takes a baseball bat to his older sister's boyfriend Steve and beats him to death. Finally, he stabs his older sister to death by plunging a knife into her abdomen. The only ones to survive the massacre are his mother, who was working in the strip joint at the time, and his infant sister Laurie. 

Michael is sent for a life term to the Smith's Grove Sanitarium under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell). Loomis at first has Michael talking but a later violent incident with an attendant makes the treatment impossible as Michael gives in to his dark urges and refuses to talk for the next 15 years; he even shows up at his therapy sessions wearing a mask.

Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) has spent 17 years in an asylum, in solitude in his cell, when he escapes by brutally killing all the officers transferring him to a different building. The institution wanting to avoid bad publicity keeps his escape quiet from the public. To the rescue comes failed shrink Loomis, who heads to Haddonfield, Illinois, because he has guilt pangs about failing to treat his patient after all those years of therapy and hopes to redeem himself by stopping Michael before he goes on a killing spree. The extremely dangerous 6' 10" psychopath finds his old family house is abandoned and boarded up and used by teens as a place to get laid. His baby sister Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) is now a zany high school senior, and doesn't realize she's been adopted by a more normal small-town family. Her mom committed suicide a few years after the infamous Halloween incident. Soon Nutso finds his virgin sis (don't ask how, since it's never explained; and don't ask how the strange looking masked giant gets by strolling through town with a big knife in his hand without being stopped by the police) gabbing with her sexually active girlfriends. Both Laurie and Annie (Danielle Harris), Sheriff Brackett's (Brad Dourif) daughter, are babysitting this Halloween and Annie arranges to dump her child off on Laurie so she can be alone to screw her boyfriend. The body count soon begins to rise in town as Michael returns home in a killing mood and his later meeting with baby sis turns into an ugly blood-splattered family reunion. 

Zombie's vision is a misguided effort to be all splatter; he makes Michael a victim of his upbringing and environment, and focuses entirely on the psychopath as someone who was pulled over the line to become a remorseless killer; it leaves room to be nothing else but a misogynistic and sadistic offering of "torture porn," where it shows all the violence but can't tell anything about such a crazy dude that means much. The silence is deafening.

REVIEWED ON 8/31/2007        GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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