“Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s classic horror film makes some bold choices, but cannot escape the long shadow of the original.”
I get what Rob Zombie is trying to do with his remake of John Carpenter’s groundbreaking 1978 film, Halloween,” but it fails for me primarily because it gives so much information. The first half-hour or so is spent laying the groundwork for the existence of Carpenter’s monstrous creation, something Carpenter himself didn’t do (quite deliberately, in fact). Zombie’s film is admittedly more grounded in a reality (of sorts) than Carpenter’s original.
What’s most interesting is that it’s that same realism that not only separates it from John Carpenter’s original, but by contrast shows you how much more effective it was, as well.
The Shape, the demonic charter created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, was most interesting BECAUSE you had no idea why he did what he did. The character was essentially a violent force of nature, more akin to a tornado or hurricane than a human being.
Under Zombie’s reinterpretation, he’s a psychotic kid, who grows up to be a psychotic adult.
The later sequels of John Carpenter’s original film made the same mistake, though instead of being psychotic, they made it as if Michael’s origins of were a more supernatural nature.
All things considered this version of Halloween makes some very bold choices (because if had made a note-for-note copy of the original film, Zombie would be criticized for it) but when you have a film where just about everyone is contemptible – I wasn’t rooting for Michael, but I wasn’t exactly sad when he killed his family, either.
Now that I think about it, the drive for realism is the probably the film’s weakest point – though the way Zombie shoots, all blurry and oftentimes out of focus and shaky, isn’t that great a selling point either – because you never really care about this version of Michael, and the movie at times oddly feels like feels like an afterschool special (admittedly an ultra-violent afterschool special) cautionary-type tale, as opposed to a horror film.