Halloween is an oddity, because not even horror fanatics were clamoring for this franchise to be re-launched, yet here it is. We now have what amounts to a launching pad for another decade of mediocrity from the slasher genre's perennial bronze medalist. The Shape hasn't been endowed with any new qualities in this film that might potentially help him vault over Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger -- he's still going to be low man on the totem pole. Occupying that humbling position over the years hasn't necessarily meant that the Halloween series suffered any more discontinuity or shameless retcons than the competition, but there's always been a sense of dogged sameness and an aura of low expectations to each new episode of the saga, starting immediately after Carpenter's original film and going all the way through to the most recent film, which, if memory serves, had Myers chasing after Busta Rhymes in some reality show. That's why it's so perplexing that Zombie's remake recreates the same Michael we've always known -- it's almost as if he wants history to repeat itself.

In fact, all that really separates this Halloween from the 1978 version is the origin story -- it's been expanded by some 30 minutes, so that we now see young Michael (Daeg Faerch) being tortured by school bullies and living hand-to-mouth in a white-trash hellhole with a stripper mom (Sheri Moon Zombie) and a scuzzy stepfather, played by William Forsythe. Those elements combine in Michael's mind to produce a perfect storm of craziness, and he begins to talk less and less, while becoming more violent. Before you know it, he's being carted off to Smith's Grove to become the plaything of the child psychiatrist Dr. Loomis, played repeatedly by Donald Pleasance in the original series and now portrayed by Malcolm McDowell, who recently revealed that he's already signed for three films, if this one goes. What comes next anyone can guess -- Michael breaks out of his confinement and starts killing people, all in the service of some ill-defined mission to find his baby sister, who he hasn't seen since he was a little boy but has a connection to.