>> Halloween (John’s Review, 5.5/10)

poster-halloween-2007.jpgThere are plenty of reviews out there that delve into the many differences between writer/director Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween with that of the classic John Carpenter original. I’m not going to get into all of that. Zombie’s take is faithful and lousy, akin to watching the most expensive fan film ever made.

Instead, I’ll compare Rob Zombie to the Farrelly Brothers, a film-making team he has more in common with than John Carpenter. I know that sounds nuts, but bear with me here. The Farrelly’s are known for their low-brow comedies that celebrate a sort-of white-trash aesthetic, populated with a core group of background actors. No matter what film they are trying to make, their work feels tethered to their desire to be trashy. When the material matches their particular comedic “world view”, the movies turn out pretty good (Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary); when it doesn’t, it’s uneven and unsatisfying (Shallow Hal, Me, Myself & Irene).

All of that applies towards Rob Zombie, just replace the word “comedy” with “horror”. Halloween is a mis-match of director and material; the prototypical slasher film presented through the lens of someone more interested in making you feel dirty than making you feel scared. It’s fairly obvious after three films that Zombie is just not the Second Coming of Hardcore Horror that fans were anticipating. The man can not direct suspense at all, and that absolutely breaks this remake into useless pieces. There’s plenty of blood and breasts, but no matter how many times Michael Myers busts through a wall ala Kool-Aid Man, there’s not a smidgen of emotional investment in anyone, not a single character, that will get your heart pumping.

During Halloween, I began to wonder if Rob Zombie’s style was even a “style” at all, of if anyone could do it. Liberally pepper the F-word into !@#$ every !@#$ line of !@#$ dialogue, cast everyone that ever entertained you on cable TV as a youngster (Mickey Dolenz??? What the !@#$ are you doing here???), add a 70’s rock soundtrack, and voila! Instant Rob Zombie movie! He sure makes it seem that simple.

Bottom line, this is as dull as any of the dull Halloween sequels (of which there are a LOT), only with better production design. Rob Zombie adds another grimy, brutal film about morally reprehensible sickos to his plate, when he could’ve been making something, oh, I don’t know, scary. Freddy Krueger would’ve fit Rob better, what with all the pedophilia and crazy, funhouse dreamscapes, but instead he leaves a smudgy, colorless fingerprint on Halloween, a franchise that is more iconic than it is interesting.

5.5 on a 1 to 10 scale

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3 Comments

  1. sounds like a piece of shit. great review, i like the comparison 🙂

  2. FEVER PITCH was very un-Farrelly, but no matter. I think one of the aintitcool guys wrote that Zombie wasn’t trying to remake HALLOWEEN, but trying to remake TX CHAINSAW. CHAINSAW is much closer to Zombie’s “style” and preferred material based off of his first two films. Maybe he should’ve gone the way of WRONG TURN 2 or something.
    Never thought about him being the Farrelly Bros of horror…that seems a little harsh towards the Farrelly’s who started their career on a pretty good roll. At least their low-brow white trash approach worked for a good while, and Zombie’s schtick seems to already be tired only 3 films in to his career.

  3. My take would have been a good deal kinder, I didn;t really mind that it wasn’t scary I’m more interested in how Zombie tows the line between reprehensible and fascinatingly disturbing.


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