Saturday, September 08, 2007

Review: Halloween 2007 Workprint

Remakes are hard to do. In theory, they should be easy. Take what works, discard what doesn't, and improve what you have left. The Fly did this. So did The Thing. So did Invasion of the Body Snatchers....three times. This is what Rob Zombie has set out to do with the remake of John Carpenter's classic and pretty much slasher-genre creating film, Halloween.

We all know the story. Unless you haven't seen the first one, in which case, stop reading. Michael Myers kills his sister when he's young on Halloween. Years later, he comes back to his home town of Haddonfield and has another night of terror. Both the original and the remake have this in common. That's pretty much where the comparisons start to fall apart.

In Rob Zombie's film, we find out more about the boy/man behind the mask. This is about half of the film. He has white trash upbringing, an abusive parent, a mean sister and a pretty much crap life. Also, he kills pet rats. The makings of a psycho, indeed. Zombie patterned the behavior off of the definition of psychopathy. Unfortunately, it doesn't come across well in this film unless you know it ahead of time. It also kills the mystique. Michael is no longer an enigma. He's kind of a brat. He's pretty straightforward too. No more sneaky kills. He's jumping people right on their front porch and standing out in the open much more than necessary. In the original, we had no idea what he was after. Now we know, but can't seem to care.

I can't help think this would be a better movie if it was a homage to the original and that was it. If you removed the Michael Myers bit you'd have a decent movie about a psychopath. Instead, you have a beloved character pretty much wasted the entire film and played by a wrestler so not only is he sneaking around, he's also 7 feet tall and sneaking around. Unlikely, no matter ho ninja you think he may be.

The violence is there, but there's a lot of unnecessary language and the script could have used a good doctoring to reflect how people really speak. I'm curious to see what changes were made to the theatrical version of the film. Maybe I'll see it tomorrow. I think it's a rental though, and not much more than a footnote in the path of the original film.

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