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Halloween II (2009) Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 August 2009
ImageI've spent a lot of time defending Rob Zombie. His first picture, House of 1,000 Corpses, while not entirely original, showed a man who was passionate and stuck to his guns, crafting a horror flick that didn't shy away from gore, nudity, and the things that make the more extreme genre exercises fun. Its follow-up, The Devil's Rejects, refined the ideas of the first, and was buoyed by sharper storytelling and bleak, pitch-black humor. However, Zombie's movies are very divisive, with just as many people (if not more) hating his work as those that love it. When Zombie was tapped to remake John Carpenter's 1978 genre-defining classic Halloween, the horror community rose a deafening clamor. Everyone was worried he'd turn the masterpiece of suspense and mood into a cheap thrill ride, with nothing to distinguish it from the forgettable everyday horror fare that studios like Lionsgate loves to churn out. Personally, having enjoyed Zombie's first two movies, I was interested to see where he would take Halloween. And, much to my surprise, I discovered that Zombie had crafted a film with restraint and respect, using mood and atmosphere to evoke memories of the original, while updating the story for a new century. It seemed like Zombie was able to adhere to Hitchcockian principles in addition to his grimier tendencies

Well, turns out I was wrong. I'm guessing someone behind the scenes made Zombie play it safe the first time around, because now, with Halloween II, the reins are firmly in Zombie's hands, and he drives the series right off a cliff. Before I continue with a plot synopsis, I won't leave you guessing: I hated this stupid, pointless, insultingly bad movie. And you will, too. You really don't need to read any more than that, but if you insist... The film opens right on the heels of its predecessor. Serial killer Michael Myers has been shot, and the police have arrived. The sheriff (Brad Dourif), is adamant that Myers' body be safely transported to the morgue. A stray cow prevents this from happening (I'm serious), and Myers, oh so shockingly not dead, escapes, only to meet his own mother (Sheri Moon Zombie), dressed in white and leading a white horse (I'm still serious) just a ways up the road. Cut to a year later, and Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton), Michael's sister and assault survivor, has been taken in by the sheriff and his daughter, Annie (Danielle Harris), who also survived that night's attacks. Apparently Annie has recuperated just fine, because she spends most of the movie harping on her dad's eating choices (yep, serious again). Laurie has had a harder time adjusting, and has lashed out against the world in the most cliche possible depiction of teenage rebellion, including getting a tramp stamp and putting Alice Cooper posters on her walls (the seriousness has not yet abated). She's also being plagued by dreams of her mother and Michael coming to claim her (including a pointless homage to the original Halloween II). These dreams are apparently part of a psychic connection to Michael (serious? you bet!), because he's seeing visions, too, and hones in on Laurie, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

If that didn't spell it out for you, let me do so now, using an altered version of a line from the movie itself: Halloween II is stupid. S-T-U-P-I-D STUPID. It's so bad that it's insulting that Zombie would think anyone would want to watch this uninspired, uninteresting, unoriginal excuse for a movie. It's the worst movie of the year, and I beg you not to forget that past months of 2009 have brought us such gems as My Bloody Valentine 3-D and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Zombie manages to betray the essence of every character (except Brad Dourif as the sheriff), turning Laurie into a petulant schizophrenic and Samuel Loomis (a completely wasted Malcolm McDowell) into a money-grubbing asshole, willing to do anything for a buck. I guess Zombie got inspired by the latter Halloween sequels, where Michael is being controlled by an evil cult, because that's how silly and utterly obnoxious this movie is. No, it's worse. It's the worst film to ever bear the Halloween name, and when you've got a movie in your series where Michael Myers kung fu fights Busta Rhymes, that's saying something,

Zombie must have made this movie by throwing darts at a board filled with every horror cliche he could think of, because they're all here. Big slasher sequence that turns out to be a nightmare? Check. Quick-cut, close-up kills? Check. Characters who move unnaturally fast because someone once thought that might be scary? Check. Guy who goes out to take a leak in the woods and gets killed for it? Check. It's all here, and it doesn't even make sense. Myers spends half the movie killing people that have nothing to do with Laurie, have never heard of Laurie, and have nothing to do with the plot. There is a scene in the film where three redneck hicks (because you really can never have enough redneck hicks in your horror movies) come upon Michael in a field and beat the crap out of him, only to get brutally murdered. The dialogue sort of suggests that maybe Myers was living on their land, but it's not made clear, and it really just seems like a bunch of people looking for a bum in a field so they can hit said bum with a bat repeatedly.

There's no point to anything that happens in the movie. Laurie's "transformation" is poorly played, with her being fine one minute and then hysterical the next, then fine again right afterwards. Loomis' third act revelation is just as abrupt and poorly handled. The kills aren't even that interesting, and the nudity is crap. Even the worst slasher can be redeemed with some decent nudity, and Zombie manages to botch that up, too. Honestly, if I didn't have to watch the whole movie in order to review it, I would have left long before the third act reared its ugly head.

The fact that the Weinstein brothers spent the last of their company's money funding and marketing this piece of crap (and then, in true Weinstein fashion, released the movie on the same day as the heavily advertised crowd-pleaser Final Destination in 3-D) just goes to prove why their film studio is in such dire straits at this point. Despite the fact that they co-financed the best movie of Quentin Tarantino's career (Inglourious Basterds), Halloween II and the other string of continuous flops Weinstein has released shows that their association with Tarantino is an utter fluke, a success that they absolutely cannot replicate or even capitalize on due to the unending succession of bad decisions. It's very likely that Halloween II will bankrupt the Weinstein Company, and it will be the one killing that this pathetic sham of a movie gets right.

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