Once again, Rob Zombie's promise of a "visionary re-imagining" of a John Carpenter original is overblown, but the filmmaker does at least break away from totally disposable characters and those cheap gotcha scares that dissipate so quickly.

Once again, Rob Zombie's promise of a "visionary re-imagining" of a John Carpenter original is overblown, but the filmmaker does at least break away from totally disposable characters and those cheap gotcha scares that dissipate so quickly.

His remake of the 1981 Halloween sequel mostly dispenses with that film's plot in an opening dream sequence. Though at times, the story Zombie replaces it with seems little more than an excuse for wife Sheri Moon Zombie to roam around in goth makeup and white satin, it gives Scout Taylor-Compton's Laurie Strode the opportunity to do more than scream and bleed. And ultimately, this one's more effectively unsettling than the original Halloween sequel.

The difference is in what Zombie emphasizes. Visually, it's jarring close-ups. In the sound mix, he lays on squishing viscera and the grunts of Michael Myers stabbing really hard. Thematically, he finds evil all around, and in a much more common form than a supernatural killing machine.