The horror genre continues to veer towards remakes, as they figure the built-in audience is easier to attract than starting a new franchise. Whereas most of these films have resulted in disappointment (see: "The Fog" and several others), director Rob Zombie's remake of "Halloween" manages to go against the trend. Although the film certainly isn't as good as the original and the need to remake it quite questionable, the results aren't as bad as one might expect.
The film opens with Michael Meyers (Daeg Faerch, pretty good as a creepy, troubled kid) as a child, living with a drunken, abusive stepfather (William Forsythe) and a stripper mother (Sheri Moon Zombie). Walking around in masks and with dead animals in his bag, the school psychiatrist (Malcolm McDowell) warns his mother that her child needs help.
However, before anything is done, Michael kills his sister, her boyfriend and his step-dad before giving his baby sister over to his traumatized mother. Michael is sent to live in a mental hospital under the care of Dr. Loomis (McDowell). As the years go by in the hospital, Michael (now played by Taylor Mane, "X-Men") has become muscular, has grown to a remarkable height and has become remarkably insane. Hiding behind his masks, his mental state continues to slide into darkness as he becomes an adult. By the time the movie has shifted to Michael's adulthood, he hasn't spoken for 15 years, and Dr. Loomis now informs Michael that he will be moving on. However, as we find out, Loomis is doing a book on Michael.
Elsewhere, two of the guards try to assault one of the female patients in front of Michael, which leads to his escape and his return to his hometown in order to find his baby sister (now played by Taylor Scout-Compton). Anyone who crosses his path is going to regret it. Once he arrives, he spies on Laurie, who's always with pals Linda (Kristina Klebe) and Annie (Danielle Harris).
The girls literally see Michael standing across the street from them, watching them silently, and choose to see the incident as some kind of joke (um, somehow I don't think they'd really see a giant guy in a freaky mask standing across the street watching them that humorous). That night, Laurie, Linda and Annie decide to party (although Laurie also has to babysit), while Dr. Loomis tries to convince the local police to take him seriously when he tries to tell them that Michael is a serious threat. Of course, by the time that Loomis has convinced the police, Michael has already started his reign of terror.
I found the film's second half to be less interesting, as Taylor-Compton's performance seemed rather average, which is unfortunate, as she's an important part of the second half of the flick. The second half also becomes a more conventional horror picture (if a mildly tense and technically solid one), whereas the first half was an enjoyably creepy and eerie build-up. However, putting so much into the build-up results in the second half feeling rush and characters introduced in the second half feel underdeveloped.
Overall, this is a reasonably entertaining horror film with some pros and cons. Those who can look at the film on its own terms and not compare it to the original may find something to enjoy here.
VIDEO: "Halloween" is presented by Genius Products/Weinstein Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality remained pretty good throughout the show. Sharpness and detail were mostly good, although fine details could be a little lacking in clarity. Some minor edge enhancement and artifacting were also noticed on a couple of occasions, but no print flaws were seen. Colors were intentionally rather subdued, but looked accurately presented. Black level remained solid, as well.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio presentation was just fine, with some mild - but effective - use of the surrounds in order to deliver ambience and a few creepy sound effects. Audio quality was just fine, as sound effects and score seemed well-recorded, while dialogue sounded clean and natural.
EXTRAS: Commentary by writer/director Rob Zombie, alternate ending, deleted scenes w/commentary, bloopers, "The Many Masks of Michael Meyers", "Meet the Cast", "Casting Sessions", "Laurie Screen Test" and the trailer.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this is a reasonably entertaining horror film with some pros and cons. Those who can look at the film on its own terms and not compare it to the original may find something to enjoy here.
The Film B-