Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
It is Halloween night in Haddonfield Tennessee. And after twelve years of being locked away in an asylum for killing his sister Judith, Michael Myers escapes. He returns to... wait, I think you know this story.
Is it good movie?
There are a few key things that made John Carpenter’s Halloween one of the most important horror films ever made. Yes, I’m a fan in a big way. I was lucky enough to witness it in the theatre as a very young lad and I really shouldn’t have been there, but it was such a powerful experience that influenced me heavily. Some of those wonderful attributes of the original masterpiece include wonderful performances by all involved, a simple, yet strong script, one of the best film scores ever and of course, Mr. Carpenter’s groundbreaking direction. Now, we all know about Rob Zombie and his re-imagining of the classic. Some loved, some vilified it. Well, what would happen if you did a straight, by the numbers remake? Well, you would have Halloween 2000 which is a tribute of sorts to the original.
As for those key elements that made the original a classic, a couple of those show up here. This fan made homage to the original uses about 70 percent of the original script by Debra Hill and of course, Carpenter (give or take). They stick very close to it except occasionally adding a few more modern phrases like “My friend wants to blow you!” as the stranger in the station wagon drives away from the three babysitters. But I missed Lynda’s (P.J. Soles) constant use of “Totally!”. The biggest difference comes with the time and place. The film starts off in 1988 and continues 12 years later, in the year 2000. And it is also quite a few miles from Illinois. This here is Haddonfield, Tennessee. A few of these here folks have a little bit of an accent. So here we are, a story of a psycho slashing up young girls in a small suburban town. But I found, while watching an almost carbon copy, is that Hill and Carpenter made a damn good film which if you try and remake it as closely as they did here, it’s still better than a lot of horror films that come out.
I by no means feel that this is necessarily a great film. I find it odd to make a film, even if trying to make a tribute, that is basically a much cheaper version of a classic that is almost shot for shot without any rights. It’s not like you can sell it and get it to a large audience. I’m guessing that they didn’t have the thumbs up to use what was they did. I’m talking obviously about the franchise itself, the Carpenter score and use of the classic tune “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. In fact, they even show a few clips from one of John Carpenters other really cool flicks, the remake of The Thing. So it seems like it would be kind of sad to work your ass off and only have a few people maybe saying, ‘hey cool, that was a neat tribute’. But with that said, I think director Brad Ellis is able to make an entertaining flick. He ain’t Carpenter (yet?), but he was able to offer up a few neat shots and took advantage of shadows by way of pretty interesting lighting.
Yet sadly, it is mostly amateur night with his actors. The girls are all one-note and don’t really ring true (of course I wasn’t totally blown away with the girls in Zombie’s version either). I think one of the biggest problems as to why the girls aren’t as real or convincing as they were in the original is some of the terrific added dialogue written by Debra Hill (it broke my heart when she passed away, she will always be remembered). And the guy who plays Sam Loomis (Joey Watson) is hit or miss with the role. I think my biggest problem with him was that he was much too young to be believable. But occasionally, he gets it right. I wanted to like Lauren Chapman a little more as Laurie Strode. She didn’t have the depth or the acting chops to make me feel a whole lot for her. SPOILERIn fact, a few changes are made to keep the audience on their toes, I kind of was hoping for maybe Laurie’s character to suffer a different fate… you know, like die. I’m just saying, if you are going to make some of these changes, why not let the slut live?END SPOILER
Video / Audio
Video: The 1.78:1 widescreen format is tolerable. It looks like a decent student film.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.0 is fine, although at times it felt a little bit inconsistent. Again, this felt like a student film.
This 2-Disc set offers up a fun Commentary with Brad Ellis, John Moore, Joey Watson and Lauren Chapman. It sounds like this may have been one helluva fun time to make. They discuss the challenges of making the film. But I still kind of wondered why after watching this. But if they had a good time... more power to them.
More special features are included on the second disc, including a Halloween 2003 Documentary (42:28), an interesting look at the making of this fan film. The actors and directors talk about the project and, of course, director Brad Ellis and his first film… Halloween 1998. It wasn’t quite as good as 2000 apparently. And what the hell did Mr. Joey Watson get arrested for? Come on brother, you talk about it but you don’t want to say why? Killjoy.
We also have a trio of Deleted Scenes “Loomis Knows” (:56), “Trick-or-Treat” (1:17), “An Eerie Feeling” (1:05) which include too much dialogue. Hey, even the director seems to agree when you watch this with commentary. He really took out a whole lot of dialogue making this film almost twenty minutes shorter than the original.
Look kiddies, its an Outtake Reel (7:16) which is a semi-entertaining watch. But I wanted to see the director get pissed off like they talk about in the documentary.
There’s a Picture Slideshow (2:55) which is exactly what it sounds like it is. It’s a slideshow of movie stills with “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” entertaining your ears. Damn I love that song.
The Trailer (1:39) gives much too much away, okay… I know, it’s for the most part exactly the same as the original. But the changes they did make end up in the trailer. Less is more people.
While not a great film per say, Halloween 2000 is a nice tribute to the John Carpenter classic that is a fun hour and twelve minutes approximately. I dug the little homage to not only the original film, but also the cool, pretty blonde nurse murder in Halloween 2. The original script appears with some added dialogue, but I could have done without out all the added sexual overtones that lacked any subtlety. What have they done to Brackett, because in this version, he’s basically a pedophile. It’s just creepy I tell ya. But with all the complaints, the cast and crew put in a bunch of heart and soul to play tribute to this classic. The weak acting is forgivable since most of these folks are not actors, and Mr. Ellis recreates some of Carpenters groundbreaking work with flair. It seems like a lot of work to make a film that has been made already… twice… including a bunch of sequels. But these crazy kids seemed to be having the time of their life offering up tricks and treats… on Halloween… the night he came home.