A creative backstory rewrite of Michael, ballsy ultra-dark Rob Zombie tone, perfect Dr. Loomis, & fascinating psychoanalysis angle evolve into fine slasher thrills and the type of originality/risks we beg in reboots – despite poor child-Michael & Laurie castings. 8/10.
Plot Synopsis: Nearly two decades after being committed to a mental institution for killing his stepfather and older sister, Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) breaks out, intent on returning to the town of Haddonfield, Ill. He arrives in his hometown on Halloween with the indomitable purpose of hunting down his younger sister, Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton). The only thing standing between Michael and a Halloween night of bloody carnage is psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).
*Possible Spoilers Ahead*
Official CLC Review
The Icon Of Horror Reimagined In A Style-Bleeding, Wildly-Disorientative New Canvas
Metal legend Rob Zombie was a wildcard pick as director to rehelm an entire 21st-century reboot of one of the most storied (and most inconsistent/later-awful) franchises in the history of horror filmmaking. How do you update Michael Myers for a new millennium? Is R.Z. experienced enough to undertake such a substantial product filmically? Does this need to be made? The answers to all those questions were elucidated in the film’s (brilliant) opening backstory-rewrite scene – and 10/31 will never be the same again. A creative backstory rewrite of Michael, ballsy ultra-dark Rob Zombie tone, perfect Dr. Loomis, & fascinating psychoanalysis angle evolve into fine slasher thrills and the type of originality/risks we beg Hollywood & reboots to take – despite poor child-Michael & Laurie castings.
The Backstory-Revamp Of Michael
What is most instantly-apparent – and perhaps, most bizarre – from the film’s opening flickers is Zombie is not afraid to tread into territory other Halloween films were spooked off by – giving Michael an origin story. And this one – SHOCKINGLY – works. A trailer-park, white-trash, ultra-poverty, misogynistic, rat-killing, mother-stripping, homophobic-slurring, dysfunctional canvas is presented to us that would make nearly anyone go mad. This is one of the most strikingly-awful (and darkest) childhood environments, as well as American nuclear-family caricatures – I’ve ever witnessed in-film – despite a child abuse previous-father addition that would have perhaps sealed the deal in evil – and provides an adequate backstory of where the boogeyman could come from (as well as being easily the highlight and best part of the film).
The Psychoanalysis Angle
What follows is equally-relevant in this psychosis study of what makes serial killers tick. Adding a psychoanalysis angle showing the slow deterioration of a seemingly-innocent, puffballish kid with some screws loose in his head and morality ticker into a senseless killer coaxed into complete (masked) silence stalking victims in the night is masterful character development of the most brutal kind. Why does Michael find such solace in masks and face-shrouding? Is it escape, shame, or camouflage? Does he feel remorse for his victims? Is his mission a dark-imprinted universal order or power-dynamic thrill-seeking turning of tables to rectify all that’s gone wrong around him growing up? These are some of the multitude of philosophically and character-complex questions thrown around – and makes for some interesting delves into criminal psychology that does (maddeningly) lean on the humanization or pity angle often in what are non-justifiable, inexcusable actions – but still undeniably fascinating to contemplate. Even his supposed-best friend for decades in the asylum (portrayed by the immaculate Danny Trejo) is not spared from the carnage as the blood-curdling icon of demonic marching orders is given a tragic, unspeakably-dark fill-in of the blank spots the series previously-left out leading up to Halloween night.
The Slasher Sequences
The slasher sequences throughout the film are fantastic – brutal of the highest degree as only a mind as twisted, dark, and demented as Zombie’s could muster just bleeding slasher stylism. We see tilting shots of nightmarish clown faces as he stands over his prey, necks snapped like twigs, sisters crawling away only to be carted off in stretchers, and unlimited suburban horror that would make John Carpenter proud as his vision reimagined in what’s probably the best canvas of overall horror since the original film.
Flaws – Castings & Control
Flaws in 2007’s Halloween – given way too much importance in score as is hallmark of the poorly-scored horror genre but what else is new – include several castings and directorial control. The casting for child-Michael is jejune and unconvincing – and deserved a better pick for someone to give the unimaginable and icon of horror an origin story. But that’s nothing compared to the casting for Laurie – a disgrace to Jamie Lee Curtis’ time-honored take on the ultimate scream queen making her so unbearably grating, annoying, immoral, reprobate, and degenerate-like that I almost considered turning the film off when I saw how badly they massacred the two in the one-two punch of Halloween lore. Finally, Zombie’s direction is a bit out-of-tune and not-finely-controlled in parts, as can be expected and ~forgiven by his lack of career experience but one that does make itself known in certain sequences and especially the opening.
A Balls-To-The-Wall, No-Holds-Barred Reinvention of Michael Myers By An Imagination Only As Dark & Demented As Rob Zombie’s
Overall, Halloween 2007 is a strong modern reinterpretation of the boogeyman – led mostly by a tone as pitch-black as demon’s eyes and decision to tread off-limits territory in giving Michael an origin story. I actually had to go back and rewatch the film before writing a review due to it’s bizarre idioosyncracy and how boldly it takes a sledgehammer to out preconceptions of 10/31 – to brutal, uncompromised intensity in results. A creative backstory rewrite of Michael, ballsy ultra-dark Rob Zombie tone, perfect Dr. Loomis, & fascinating psychoanalysis angle evolve into fine slasher thrills and the type of originality/risks we beg Hollywood & reboots to take – despite poor child-Michael & Laurie castings.
Official CLC Score: 8/10