The Rob Zombie aesthetic can be grating for some viewers. While his House of 1000 Corpses franchise remains a highlight, there are genuine peaks and valleys in his career. At the height of his power, Zombie sought to revive Halloween from its hiatus. In many ways, horror fans should be thankful to Zombie. The brutal slasher fit the mood of the 2000s studio horror pic, and the last time Michael had been on screen was genuinely offensive. The reminder of Myers’ potential as a box office draw helped introduce Myers to a new generation of fans. Zombie’s first entry in the Halloween franchise features some genuine frights, but its uneven first half makes it a tough sit.
A young boy named Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) finds himself bullied by his family and peers. He struggles to fit in, and his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) cannot figure out how to raise him. After Michael commits a brutal series of murders, he finds himself in the care of Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell). More than seventeen years later, Michael escapes confinement and returns to Haddonfield to hunt Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton).
Zombie’s personal flare will turn off some viewers from the jump. The “Hellbilly” aesthetic that ran through his House of a Thousand Corpses returns in Halloween, especially in the first half of the film. Where John Carpenter‘s original masterpiece provides a single sequence of young Michael, Zombie’s features more than forty minutes with the young killer. Zombie also seeks to provide more backstory for Michael, framing him as something closer to a true-crime serial killer like Jeffrey Dahmer or Danny Rolling.
This background provides a visceral nature to Michael that feels far more upsetting than even the Carpenter films. This is not just due to the excessive blood soaked sequences throughout the film. There’s a level of nudity, profanity, and sexuality that far exceeds the original series. While some took lessons from Halloween that sex was sin visualized on screen, Zombie makes the act far more heinous than other slashers.
Zombie’s brooding monster version of Myers displays far more physicality and brute strength than other interpretations of the character. This iteration, played by Tyler Mane, frightens with his 6’9″ frame. The former professional wrestler moves with more anger than the cold calculating Michael of old. The rage that infects him is palpable through the screen adding to his frightening nature.
Equipped with mid-2000s cursing, literal pornography, and extreme nudity in its kills, it very much feels like a product of Zombie’s style in this era. In many ways, it feels like the best Friday the 13th film we never got. Yet at the same time, he contextualizes scenes from the original film with unique visuals. The last hour of the film maintains a pace that sells the slasher as something unique, despite clearly cribbing from one of the most famous horror franchises of all time. Ultimately, the first half sinks this one, and leaves the Halloween from 2007 a step below the average horror flick.