In general, sequels and remakes are not a good idea. More often that not, they are just pointless continuations of something that did not need tampered with to begin with and should be forgotten about completely. However, on rare occasions, a sequel or remake can be just as good as the original, if not better.
A franchise like the juggernaut that is Halloween could do with a good sequel, given that there have been seven so far and most of them have been awful. Rob Zombie's remake - or reimagining as he prefers to call it - is excellent.
The first thirty minutes of the film do something that John Carpenter's original film neglected to do. They tell Michael's story. Rather than beginning with the murder of his sister, Zombie's Halloween shows what Michael's life is like. He is bullied at school by older boys, lives with his Mother - played by Rob Zombie's wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, who also starred in House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects - who is a stripper - something which Michael is bullied for - as well as his horrible sister and his Mother's abusive boyfriend and his baby sister.
After he gets into a fight with two other boys at his school, it is discovered that he has been killing animals. A child psychologist, Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) is called in to help. However, it is too late, as Michael leaves the school and gets a bloody revenge on one of the bullies who attacked him.
This in turn leads to the fateful Halloween night where Michael loses his mind and goes on a killing spree. Whereas in the original, he only murdered his sister, this time he goes all out. He kills her, her boyfriend and his Mother's boyfriend. The violence is incredibly brutal which again contrasts the original as it was relatively free of any on-screen violence and instead left everything to your imagination.
When it comes to leaving things to your imagination though, Zombie is not the right man to ask. The film is filled with hideous gore - which will satisfy any gorehound - and a lot of nudity. The cast is made up of Zombie's regulars as well as some Halloween series alumni, the most notable of these being Danielle Harris, who played Michael's niece in the fourth and fifth installments of the franchise.
Michael's imprisonment and subsequent bouts of insanity and violence play out until a vicious attack on a nurse leads his Mother to make a terrible choice. Years later, as in the original, he escapes from the mental hospital which has become his home and goes out in search of his sister, the baby girl he has not seen since the night he murdered his family.
The story plays out pretty much as it did in the original with a few changes - there is a much bigger body count and some twists and turns in the story which were not present in the original, as well as a brutal climax - and is thrilling to watch. While there are fewer scares than in the original, Zombie seems to go for the thrills instead, with extended chase sequences and inventive editing.
If you are a fan of the Halloween franchise, then you'll love this as will any Rob Zombie fan. While some of the film may be too strange for some people's - Zombie's films tend to be less mainstream than others - tastes, it is still a great horror film and he should be commended for his treatment of a remake which could have gone dramatically wrong.