Remaking a movie is a tough thing to pull off. If you do it right then you get a movie like "The Departed" (which is a remake of "Infernal Affairs" from Hong Kong), but if you do it wrong you get a movie like "Psycho" (the Gus Van Sant remake). Luckily, with "Halloween", we get the former.
The story pretty much follows the original. You get Michael Myers killing his sister when he is only a kid. You get the babysitters being killed off one by one on halloween. And you get the open ending, leaving room for the inevitable sequel. But with this movie writer-director Rob Zombie has given us a back story as to why Myers is the way he is.
In this movie Myers comes from a broken home. His mother is a stripper and his mom's boyfriend is an alcholholic. On halloween night Myers wants to go trick r treating, but no one will take him. His mother has to work and his sister has better things to do, like getting laid. This is all done with the usual Zombie touch and for me it works. For a lot of people, though, it does not.
Michael has problems at school too. He has a bully who picks on him and calls his mother a whore. After waiting outside for the bully after school, Michael kills him in the woods with a branch. This is one of the most brutal scenes in the movie, but one hell of a way to start out this movie.
With this scene Zombie is showing us that his version of "Halloween" is going to be drastically different from the original. Whereas the original was more of a visceral in scaring us, Zombie's version is going to be more visual. This is not a bad thing. I think that in the context of the way this movie play it works.
After Michael kills his sister and his mom's boyfriend, he is sent to Smith's Grove Sanitarium. This is where a bulk of the differences between the two versions come into play. In the original we are told nothing about Myers except that he is "pure evil". Here we get to see Michael being interview by Dr. Loomis. We get to see inside the head of Myers. In the interviews he comes off as a normal little boy, but when things don't go his way he snaps.
The Dr. Loomis in this movie is very different from the Loomis in the original. In the original, Loomis was scared of Myers and when Myers escapes he feels obligated to stop Myers before he kills again. In this movie, Loomis is interested in the way Myers is and why.
After years in the sanitarium, Myers escapes. This is a given. He makes his way back home to continue his reign of terror. This is where the movie begins to become more like a standard slasher movie. We are introduced to Laurie Strode and her friends. They will, of course, become the ones terrorized by Michael Myers. These characters are not really fleshed out as much as they could be, but that is because Zombie fleshed out all of the other characters and simply had no tine for these characters. Nothing is missed, though, because these characters are walking, talking horror movie cliches.
Rob Zombie's version of "Halloween" is different enough where he can call it his own. I liked the way he fleshed out the Myers character. I also liked the movie's look and feel. Zombie really knows how to make. creepy atmosphere and we get some good scare out of it.
John Carpenter's "Halloween" will always be referred to as "one of the greatest horror movies of all time", and while Zombie's version will never stack up to the original it does provide us a different look at a horror icon. For that I am grateful.