First of all, you can’t look at this as a stand-alone movie. Don’t expect me to try. You can’t remake a horror classic and expect a review that doesn’t compare your every choice to the original.
That being said, despite my high hopes, the movie was as I expected – not worth the time. While Rob Zombie did add some backstory to the original story, he didn’t add enough value to warrant an entire movie. We open the film with Michael’s home life, which is miserable. In the first ten minutes, it’s implied that Michael kills his pet rat – we see him playing with the rat and then washing his hands of blood and telling the mother he had to flush his pet.
My biggest problem with the movie is that they tried to create a reason that Michael was the way he was. We know the reason Michael Myers killed people – he was pure evil. But Zombie gave Michael a miserable home life – dead father, stripper mother, the mother’s cruel boyfriend, a mean sister, and kids making fun of him at school. Here’s the thing – none of that matters. The original story is more compelling and still stands in my mind as the way it should be. Michael Myers was just born evil. He has no soul.
Luckily, enough of the original story and concept was kept to make it at least familiar. John Carpenter’s classic theme song is used in the title credits. The original mask gets brought in eventually, as does the jumpsuit. Some scenes Michael sticks with the classic weapon of a huge friggin’ kitchen knife, but he also uses a baseball bat and a tree branch at one point. Lame. The names of Laurie & her friends were kept, including the boyfriends’ names. The character of Laurie changes considerably. Where Jamie Lee Curtis played Laurie as a studious girl, excellent baby-sitter, and all around goody-two-shoes, Scout Taylor-Compton plays her as a dumb blonde who gets stuck being the good baby-sitter because she’s the only one without a boyfriend. Let’s face it, she’s no Jamie Lee.
Speaking of casting, Dee Wallace plays Laurie’s mother. How did Rob Zombie get the mom from E.T. to be in this movie? He also cast his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, in his movie yet again. Of course she strips in the movie, as if we needed another reminder that she’s not a real actress.
The casting for Michael, however, was great. Tyler Mane is enormous and lends the right stature and feel to the adult Michael Myers. I was most impressed with Daeg Faerch who plays the ten-year-old Michael Myers. He reminds me of a very young Michael Pitt – twisted, but talented. (Although I might just be making the connection based on Pitt’s guest-starring role on “Law & Order Special Victims Unit” as a high school student with a penchant for killing small animals and collecting their skulls.) Faerch is awesome – he gets the stance and the walk right, even the head-tilt that Michael does, all perfect. Had the entire movie been about the young Michael Myers, I probably would have liked it more. Faerch provided the right mix of darkness and charm to the role. I have two favorite moments in the movie, both featuring the young Michael. One is a surprising moment of tenderness when ten-year-old Michael tells his mom he likes her hair curly because it looks pretty. The other is the scene when young Michael is sitting in the back of the police car staring out with those evil eyes after killing his sister, her boyfriend, and the mother’s boyfriend.
One thing I will say for Rob Zombie’s movie-making skills – he doesn’t skimp on the soundtrack. It features Rush, Blue Oyster Cult (“Don’t Fear the Reaper,” naturally, since it was in the original and a ton of other horror movies), and others.
Another problem I have with the movie is that there are too many gratuitous boob shots – there’s only one in the original. I don’t need to see the victim run naked through the house. I don’t need to see boobs while Michael Myers is strangling a victim. I don’t need to see boobs when a victim is laying on the floor dying. Seriously…I know I’m a girl, but I can appreciate necessary nudity. This is just ridiculous.
The bottom line is that this movie never needed to be remade. The 1978 original version is a classic. It launched Jamie Lee Curtis’ career, rightfully so. It created an iconic character made of pure evil. This “re-envisioning” or whatever Rob Zombie would like to call it, was just an insult to the original. I had high hopes for this movie, but it just couldn’t deliver. Your best bet is to pick up the original and forget this remake ever happened.
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