Halloween is the latest entry in the current goldrush to remake the 70s horror cannon. And if anyone can do justice to Carpenter’s slasher classic you’d think it would be Rob Zombie. Surely the most flamboyant and passionate director in modern horror, Zombie brought us the spirited but flawed House of 1000 Corpses then hit paydirt with the brutal The Devil’s Rejects. Which is why this particular re-imagining is so disappointing.
Zombie’s first mistake is fleshing out the backstory in the first third of the film, which focuses on Michael Myers’ childhood. While Daeg Faerch is excellent as the young Myers, the filmmakers have destroyed the killer’s mystique, by adding a vague motive for his slice-and-dice rampage.
Jump-cut to Michael (now played by the hulking Tyler Mane) breaking out of the asylum where he has been caged for 15 years, and a hyped-up re-run of the events in Carpenter’s original, as the Shape slashes his way through Haddonfield’s teen population. It’s fast-paced, bloody and tense but Scout Taylor-Compton, taking on the Laurie Strode role, just doesn’t have the screen presence of Jamie Lee Curtis.
As a stand alone film this works reasonably well – in fact there are a few great moments. But when you add the weight of expectations of a Rob Zombie redux of the 1978 classic it could never live up to the rabid hopes and dreams of the horror faithful.
Out now on general release.