Early on in “Halloween,” a doctor tells a young Michael Myers that black is not actually a color, but that it is the absence of color. It’s an apt interaction for the movie, which is devoid of meaning and purpose.
Instead of making an eighth sequel to John Carpenter’s iconic original, the “Halloween” franchise has gone down the well-trodden path of the remake. Director Rob Zombie’s effort tries to breathe new life into a worn-out premise at times, but eventually gives up and fizzles into a chaotic mess.
Zombie deserves some credit for giving insight into Michael’s childhood and his budding desire to kill. The remake’s first half shows the Myers’ family, which ends up being properly dysfunctional but painfully dull. Once this deviation concludes, the remake becomes a dead ringer of the original, sometimes using identical shots. However, because Zombie wastes an underdeveloped hour on how the killer came to be, Michael’s stalking of the babysitters feels like it’s being summarized in order to fit into a two-hour movie. Whereas Carpenter’s original hinged on mounting suspense and moody atmosphere, Zombie’s clumsy remake bludgeons the viewer without any regard for tone or the allure of what we can’t see.
The film’s rushed pace makes it almost like an action movie, and, because we get the CliffsNotes version of the story, Laurie Strode is relegated to a secondary character, taking away any hope for a protagonist.
Worst of all, “Halloween” is not scary. This film is yet another abysmal entry into what is being passed off as “horror” nowadays, and it signifies the death of a genre. So, in the big picture, it’s not just unpleasant to watch, it’s depressing.
Gabe Habash may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org