Friday, August 31, 2007

HALLOWEEN (2007) review

When I heard that someone was re-making/re-imagining/version 2.0ing John Carpenter's 1978 classic my first reaction was a predictable *groan/eye-roll*. But then the fact that Rob Zombie was tackling the writing/directing movies gave me a glimmer of hope. I wasn't a fan of HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, but it showed his love of the genre, and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS had a gritty 70's aesthetic and a mean streak a mile wide that I appreciated. However, I must give Zombie's third film the stink-eye.

First off, Zombie caught a lot of flack from the fans when they found out he was going to give Michael Myers a back story. The theory being that what made the original film frightening was the fact that you had no idea what Michael was, and thus he's credited as "The Shape". Sound reasoning. But I actually didn't take issue with Zombie giving us the story of young Michael, and what made him the silent killer we all know and fear. Turns out it was this first half of the film held promise.
For the most part I think sequels and remakes are the territory of a bankrupt imagination, so go ahead, change it up, cuz at the end of the day, it's a different movie, and in no way deteriorates the original.
That being said, Michael's origin turns out to be rather textbook, though I suppose the atypical abusive male authority figure and a propensity for animal abuse is better than the "Cult of Thorn" nonsense that the worst of the previous sequels threw up on us. Another issue I take with the life of young Michael is what appears to be a Zombie trademark, which after only 3 films may be a sign of a real shortness of reach. Michael's family are the sleaziest, most foul-mouthed trailer trash you can imagine, and it comes off as caricature.

Now onto the second half, with our little Michael all grown up into the monsterously huge ex-wrestler (Tyler Mane) who's incredibly strong, spry, and silent. Here's where it all goes downhill fast. It's clear to see that Zombie loves the monsters, and it shows in his inability or disinterest in writing the heroes. Not that there are heroes in this film, just victims. Michael's psychiatrist and eventual nemesis Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) comes across arrogant and completely inept in battling Michael, but at least he has his moments, unintentionally comedic as they are. Even worse off is our survivor girl Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) who's ridiculous portrayal as the 'good girl' is utterly annoying and unbelievable. Then again, considering the paper thin character she had to work with I'm weary to chalk this up to her ability as an actor.
I won't get into the mobius strip of a plot that would have us believe Michael can recognize his teenage sister from a baby photo, or the inconsistency of Michael's behaviour after spending so much time establishing that Michael only lashed out in retaliation. I won't even discuss the obvious 'dumb' factor here, where the bodycount hinges on all the victims making moronic decisions that lead them onto Michael's knife.
I must, however, strongly question the choice of the last set piece, having Michael stalk Laurie through his old dilapidated house. It was too dark to tell where the hell anyone was, and it turned into a bad home demolition.
Ultimately I'd label this a moderate failure, and yet another reason to shun the onslaught of remakes that we just don't need.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Confusion in her eyes that says it all..."

CONTROL, the story of the life and death of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis is playing as part of the Vanguard programme at this years TIFF. Joy Division's UNKNOWN PLEASURES is one of only 3 cassette tapes I couldn't part with, even though I don't currently own a cassette player.

Poster Crush