MOVIE REVIEW: Halloween 9
It feels like just yesterday that the summer blockbuster season was here, but I suppose we’ve already moved on from there and straight into that time of year when thriller/horror movies come out of the woodwork, and usually sink rather than swim. This year we’re subjected treated to another Japanese
thriller remake with One Missed Call, another underground-graphic-novel-turned-award-winning-film with 30 Days of Night, and yes: yet another Saw movie – because they cost about $8.50 to make.
We proudly start off this traditional season with Rob Zombie’s faux remake/prequel of John Carpenter’s quintessential slasher flick Halloween. Now not to play into the web-gossip, but there was quite some controversy about this film’s script, involving a leak and a very critical critic from a website which I choose not to mention (I will give a hint though: it rhymes with Paint it Drool Booze). But all of that aside, it was rumored that Zombie went into rewrites only a few short weeks before shooting. Now I felt this was relatively unwise, but as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start as we usually do, in the OCD fashion of a film breakdown.
Starting off with my favorite aspect of the film, the acting; I have almost nothing to complain about here. It’s evident in all of Zombie’s work (a whopping three films) that he is a huge fanboy, and while every fanboy has their niche (Smith has Star Wars, Tarantino has chatty women, and Favreau has Vince Vaughn) Zombie’s niche is easily noticed as B-Movies. This film is a practical who’s who of B-Movie actors, much like his previous two films were. To name a few, we movie geeks get Danny Trejo, Brad Dourif, Malcolm McDowell, Sid Haig, William Forsythe, Udo Kier, Clint Howard, and of course Tyler Mane as our masked pro/antagonist. With a cast like this, topped off with Zombie’s frightening-yet-gorgeous wife, Sheri Moon, this film was meant for every fanboy in the theater to swoon with joy every time we get another cameo, much like this reviewer did. Though it probably isn’t necessary for me to reveal, each actor pulled off their creepy-yet-impressive roles to a tee.
Moving onto the technical aspect of this film, I was torn. Another one of Zombie’s trademarks is complete filth, and not in the sense of obligatory nudity (of which there was plenty in this film), but in the sense that the film and setting as a whole made me long for a shower once the credits rolled. From the very start, we’re treated to visuals of a completely rundown, white-trash home in which almost everything looks dirty and unpleasant, all the way to the end of the film where just about everything/one is covered in blood. Much like House of 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects, this film definitely adapted the feeling of grittiness that the horror movies of yesteryear prided themselves on.
One trait that Zombie seemed to pick up in this movie that was thankfully left out of his two previous pieces was the use of unnecessary camera shakiness. I’m not sure if its his way of falling in line with popular films like the Bourne trilogy and the use of shaky camera work, or if it was a cheap way to add tension to a scene that already displayed it, but it was not only unnecessary, but distracting. When a filmmaker prides himself for turning heads with the amount of gore and violence he uses in films, there is no need to strap the camera to a rabid dog every time he feels the need to add more tension to the scene. The close angles and fast cuts during action sequenced made it feel like a bad episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that’s not good, especially when the substance is far too good for any overuse of style.
Finally we move on to the pièce de résistance: in talking about the script/plot of the film. Going into a straight-up slasher film, my expectations never soar, in fact I usually leave my brain at the door. But when a movie is hyped as giving more substance to a horror movie that I practically grew up on, I wanted there to be substance and closure to a 30 year old story. Instead we get half-assed character development and dialogue that actually had me laughing out loud when it wasn’t exactly necessary. I’m proud of the fact that we took a snippet of Donald Pleasance’s dialogue from the 1978 film and turned it into an hour of film, but this should have been about what makes one of the greatest Monsters of American Cinema tick, rather than just explaining who he is and that he likes to stab things. I call him the pro/antagonist because if the character development was done properly, it would show that Michael Myers killed to protect his family, and hurt those who threatened that. Instead we barely touch on that subject, and spend more time watching Myers kill naked teens while they have drunken unprotected sex.
Overall, looking at this film as another slasher film with a great supporting cast, it exceeds almost all expectations. But this film had to potential of being the Batman Begins of a potentially dead horror franchise, and instead of turning this into a trend in the genre and possibly getting the chance to see Peter Berg’s Friday the 13th, we’ll more than likely be subjected to another ten years of Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash vs. Godzilla vs. Kramer.
I reluctantly give the film a 7/10, only because while it may be an American pastime and one of my favorite weekend activities, a movie needs to be more than an hour plus of killing naked drunken teens having unprotected sex.