|Halloween - Resurrection|
|Written by Abbie Bernstein|
|Tuesday, 10 December 2002|
While this may come as news to people who hate slasher films on principle, all knife-wielding boogeyman movies are not created equal. As in any genre, there are great ones, terrible ones, and ones that fall somewhere in between. “Halloween: Resurrection” isn’t exactly terrible – it’s too proficient for that – but this eighth installment in the “Halloween” series is neither good nor original. To be specific, it doesn’t look good compared to its immediate predecessor, “Halloween H2O.”
Following a prologue that illustrates how the implacable silent masked killer Michael Myers can still be walking around after being apparently decapitated by his sister Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) last time around, the storyline zooms in on DangerTainment, an enterprise concocted by Freddie (Busta Rhymes) and Nora (Tyra Banks). The duo are setting up a pay-per-view Internet webcast featuring six college student recruits from Michael’s home town of Haddonfield. The idea is to equip each of the volunteers with their own digital video feed and have them spend Halloween night in the house where Michael was born, raised and committed his first murder. Freddie and Nora have rigged the place to provide all sorts of little surprises for their guests to keep it entertaining, without realizing that the real Michael is still around to crash the party.
“Halloween: Resurrection” does have a lot of potent horror movie atmosphere, courtesy of Rick Rosenthal (who also directed “Halloween 2” way back when) and his production team, which get the creepy old house look down to a scabrous fare-thee-well. Even so, to a large extent, the action doesn’t work. The script by Larry Brand and Sean Hood, based on Brand’s story from characters created by original “Halloween” producer Deborah Hill and director John Carpenter, is populated by generic characters with generic goals. Worse, many of the jump scares aren’t as startling as they ought to be, which all adds up to a movie that’s generically watchable but almost entirely unmemorable. Rhymes does invest the proceedings with a bit of flair and charm as the tireless showman on the job, but even his lively performance can’t make the premise jell. The filmmakers seem to want to say something about the nature of seeking quick fame, but they never make it seem organically frightening and/or tie it in effectively with anything unique to the “Halloween” mythology.
The 5.1 sound mix is good if low on discrete effects – in Chapter 8, when Michael bursts through a two-way mirror to grab a victim, the glass shattering is realistic but located primarily in the center and mains. The swish/zing sounds made by slashing knives – humorously pointed out on the audio commentary track – come across respectably every time and a lot of care has been put into making the very loud screams count. The sonic highlight, as might be expected, is Carpenter’s uber-recognizable “Halloween” theme, still one of the best musical horror movie riffs ever.
“Halloween: Resurrection” is unquestionably a film that benefits from DVD, because the supplements go a long way to explaining what the filmmakers aimed to achieve. Of course, a good movie would speak for itself, but the extras here at least allow us to appreciate the effort.
The two-channel audio commentary by director Rosenthal and editor Robert A. Ferretti demonstrates a reasonable concern with details and has a lot to say about “Halloween: Resurrection”’s most interesting aspect – all the different video feeds that provide differing perspectives on the action along with the 35mm footage.
In fact, the video feeds surface as their own 40-minute special feature, dubbed “WebCam Special,” which amounts to virtually an alternate cut of the film, utilizing footage shot by cast members toting their digital video cameras around during scenes while in character. The video quality on the digital footage ranges from clean to very grainy, with two-channel sound that goes from very crisp to very faint. A decision to give the footage a full score is a mistake, undercutting the unpredictable creepiness that shows up more distinctly here than in the regular feature. This comes with an optional commentary track from Rosenthal.
Other features include a “head cam” featurette, which features much discussion of shooting the video feeds, and a making-of featurette heavily slanted toward actress Curtis, who has some articulate (if debatable) observations about Laurie’s role this time out. The featurette also includes some non-blooper but nonetheless amusing footage of the stunt team relaxing on set between takes.
Carpenter’s ideas behind “Halloween” – both narrative and musical – still stand up to the test of time. “Halloween: Resurrection” doesn’t wreck either, but neither does it make best use of them.