Halloween (2007 Film) - Release - Reception - Critical Response

Critical Response

Based on 109 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Halloween received an average 24% overall approval rating, with the consensus "Rob Zombie doesn't bring many new ideas to the table in Halloween, making it another bloody disappointment for fans of the franchise." By comparison, Metacritic calculated a normalized score of 47 out of 100 from the 18 reviews it collected. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was "B-minus" on an A+ to F scale; it also reported that 62% of the audience was male, with 57% being 25 years or older.

Peter Hartlaub, of the San Francisco Chronicle, felt Zombie was successful in both " his own spin on Halloween, while at the same time paying tribute to Carpenter's film"; he thought Zombie managed to make Michael Myers almost "sympathetic" as a child, but that the last third of the film felt more like a montage of scenes with Halloween slipping into "slasher-film logic". Nathan Lee of The Village Voice disagreed in part with Harlaub, feeling that Halloween may have placed too much emphasis on providing sympathy for Michael Myers, but that it succeeded in " Carpenter's vision without rooting out its fear". The View London film critic Matthew Turner believed the first half of the film, which featured the prequel elements of Michael as a child, were better played than the remake elements of the second half. In short, Turner stated that performances from the cast were "superb", with Malcolm McDowell being perfectly cast as Dr. Loomis, but that the film lacked the scare value of Carpenter’s original. Jamie Russell from the BBC agreed that the first half of the film worked better than the last half; she stated that Zombie’s expanded backstory on Michael was "surprisingly effective"—also agreeing that McDowell was perfectly cast as Loomis—but that Zombie failed to deliver the "supernatural dread" that Carpenter created for Michael in his 1978 original.

New York Daily News critic Jack Matthews believed the film lacked tension, and went more for cheap shocks—focusing more on enhancing the "imagery of violence"—than real attempts to scare the audience; he gave the film one and a half stars out of five. Dennis Harvey, from Variety magazine, echoed Matthew's opinion that the film failed to deliver on the suspense; he also felt that you could not tell one teenage character from the next, whereas in Carpenter's original each teenager had real personalities. In contrast, Rossiter Drake of The Examiner applauded Michael's backstory, feeling that it was a "compelling take on the mythology" that managed to be "unique" and "shocking" at the same time. In agreement with other critics, Empire magazine's Kim Newman felt that, because Zombie seemed less focused on the teenagers being stalked and killed by Michael, the film " flat" when it came to delivering suspense or anything "remotely scary"; Newman did praise McDowell for his portrayal of the "dogged psychiatrist". Ben Walter, of Time Out London, felt Zombie added "surprising realism" to the development of Michael Myers’ psychopathic actions, but agreed with Newman that the director replaced the original film’s "suspense and playfulness" with a convincing display of "black-blooded brutality".

Frank Scheck, of the Hollywood Reporter, believed that even though Zombie's remake of Carpenter's Halloween was better than getting another sequel in the long running franchise it still was not comparable to the 1978 original. For Scheck, Zombie replaced Carpenter's building suspense, which made it so "brilliant", with graphic violence and extended scenes of nudity; he also criticized McDowell for lacking the intensity that Donald Pleasence brought to the Loomis character. By contrast, TV Guide's Ken Fox felt that Zombie did deliver a "scary horror movie", not by copying Carpenter, but by making the film his own. Fox noted that Zombie seemed to follow more in the footsteps of Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper's "savage, greasy-haired '70s" films, which allowed him to bring Michael back to his roots and successfully terrify an audience which has grown accustomed to the recent "torture porn" horror films. Bill Gibron, of PopMatters, believes that audiences and critics cannot compare Carpenter's film to Zombie's remake; where Carpenter focused more on the citizens of Haddonfield—with Michael acting as a true "boogeyman"—Zombie focuses more on Michael himself, successfully forcing the audience to experience all of the elements that Michael went through that would result in his "desire for death".

Halloween won the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best Film of 2007, drawing in 550 votes, the most ever in the history of the award. The film also won the 'Best Remake Award' at the 2008 Spike TV Scream Awards. Dan Mathews, vice president of PETA, sent Rob Zombie a thank-you letter for what he perceived as Zombie sending a message to audiences when he depicted the young Michael Myers torturing animals, something he felt demonstrated that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals are likely to move on to humans. Mathews went on to say, "Hopefully, with the attention focused by your movie on the link between cruelty to animals and human violence, more people will recognize the warning signs among people they know and deal with them more forcefully. We wish you continued success!"

Read more about this topic:  Halloween (2007 Film), Release, Reception

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