8.29.2009

Halloween 2 (2009): A jumbled mess of every Halloween sequel, mixed in with Rob Zombie’s craziness.


A spoiler-free review (mostly, see warning).

First things first, I’ll unload my paradigms. The original Halloween (1978) is my favorite film, but I’ve been open-minded towards Zombie’s reimagining of the franchise. I wouldn’t expect Zombie’s films to be all that similar to Carpenter’s vision. If they are the same, then what’s the point? That said, I wasn’t hostile toward the changes he brought to the 2007 Halloween. All in all, I thought the film was “okay.” I didn’t share the hatred that so many fans held, nor the love of others. Going into the sequel, I would like to think that I was neutral, for lack of a better word.

I’m trying to keep this review relatively free of spoilers, so I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details, but I will say that I slowly turned myself away from the film as the runtime progressed. Oddly enough, my frustration came to a climax at the film’s conclusion. It’s almost as if any goodwill towards the movie was put on a constant fade, as I was enjoying the beginning of the film and simply enduring the last moments.

One of the most annoying features of the film was the characters. Laurie has turned into an anarchist punk (that’s still a good girl) over the course of a rough year. During the film, I jokingly mentioned to my husband that Scout Taylor Compton turned into Rob Zombie (that hair!). This new attitude that Laurie adopts is painfully cliché and laughable at times. She actually has an anarchy symbol and “666” spray-painted on her bathroom door (which isn’t really her bathroom either). What kind of ankle-biter does that (especially in someone else’s house that she is lucky enough to be staying in)? Unfortunately, she’s annoying as a punk rock chick (chirping with her punk friends in that high-pitched voice) and as a broken-up survivor (screaming in that high-pitched voice). Annie and Sherriff Brackett, who have basically adopted Laurie, are the film’s highlights and they are not in it enough. Instead, we get a lot of useless scenes with Dr. Sam Loomis, who has turned into a complete asshole (and you thought he was mean in Halloween 5). As other reviewers have mentioned, why was he in the film at all? He could have just died in the first Halloween, as it appeared in the theatrical cut.

She's sooo punk.

THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH MAY CONTAIN VAGUE SPOILERS, BUT I DON’T REALLY CONSIDER THEM SPOILERS SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK:

Why do I say it’s a mess of other Halloween sequels (excluding H3 of course), even though it’s an entirely different type of film for the franchise? Well, let’s just look at the film on a basic, superficial level: You got the hospital action from H2 (which had a very similar feel in the way the stalking scenes played out), the weird ending like H4, the psycho-connection nonsense from H5, the overall strange feeling of H6 (which also turned the series in a bizarre direction), the brother-sister connection that plays out in the end of H20, and the psychological breakdown of Laurie as seen in the beginning of Resurrection. My main problem with the film is that I couldn’t buy the fantastical elements because they were anticlimactic, trite, unnecessary, and completely inconsistent with Zombie’s first run at Halloween. I’m all for doing new things, but for whatever reason, I found the new style/sub-plot to be unrewarding.

YOU’RE SAFE NOW.


Why is the film totally different from these movies? Well, because it’s Rob Zombie. He brings the handheld camera, long lenses, and 16mm grit from The Devil’s Rejects and the weirdness of House of 1000 Corpses into Halloween 2. I can’t say that I’m always a fan of his style. It sometimes feels as if shots are composed with out-of-focus foreground elements as an afterthought, because they end up being distracting despite any apparent visual symbolism they might have. Sometimes I just wish the camera would back off for a minute, slow down, allow us to really see what’s going on. When the editor does cut to relatively stable wides, especially when it’s of Michael Myers, it’s pretty effective. In tandem, the editing and cinematography, were not working for me.

I’ll conclude this review by saying some things I did like about the film:

-Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif
-The Hospital Sequence (aside from it’s disappointing…ummm…conclusion?)
-The sparse wide shots during action scenes that played up Michael’s brutality
-The score has improved since the first film, with less unintentionally comical music cues
-Some good moments of gore (when it’s onscreen)
-A scarier Michael Myers than in 2007

11 comments:

  1. I'll be sure to leave feedback once I see the movie but for now I'll say that I've always had pretty "meh" expectations going into this. It really sucks because I think Rob Zombie is a great guy because he's a horror fan, first and foremost, but at the same time there's never been a director who I've been so AGAINST when it comes to spending my money on and wanting him to succeed. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm gonna spend my hard-earned money on another more well-deserving movie with the intentions of sneaking into this one. I know there aren't a lot of people who feel as strongly as I do when it comes to speaking with my wallet and I know my measly nine or ten dollars won't make a difference, but I seriously hope this movie fucking FAILS(!!!!!) at the box office this weekend. Ugh. Sorry, just had to vent there, Becky. :)

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  2. Not looking forward to it at all.. ugh.. Just your description of the new Laurie kinda makes me want to throw up

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  3. Yup. the cinematography sucked through the entire things the only cools shot was a high contrast helicopter shot of Hobo Meyers walking through a field. Strode was pretty annoying also. *whine and cry in a high pitched manner*? Then there is the visions of the meyers mother IE any way to get moon zombie back into the film. Give me a break, they should have just made her a stripper again. She could have played that one who runs into the wall (best part of movie).

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  4. I went and saw this last night as well and I was only a little bit disappointed. I guess I just wish it wasn't so crazy. And I, like you, very much love Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif. They made the movie for me. I love listening to Sheriff Brackett and thinking, "You sound just like Chucky. Oh wait."
    check out my horror movie blog for the latest horror news and the occasional creepy treasure!
    http://atomicfox.blogspot.com
    thank you! :)

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  5. Aaron- It's cool. I understand the desire to vent. I wrote this post a 2:47 AM...that's some pretty desperate venting right there. :)

    Carl- Sorry man, maybe Rob should see SLC Punk! Haha

    Nick- Yeah, I was gonna mention that about Sheri Moon. It's like he made up the flashy visions just so she could be in his movie.

    atomicfox- Thanks for dropping in. I'll check out your blog. :)

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  6. Halloween 3 sans Zombie supposedly to be another 3D 'spectacular'.

    Lordy lord.

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  7. Yeah I heard about that.....sigh....

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  8. After slogging through more than enough negative reviews of H2 on Rotten Tomatoes, and then seeing for myself and liking the movie, I've been really interested in the widely varying reception among us all re: varying points of HALLOWEEN II. Yours is another fine entry into that canon of carefully considered opinions, and you thoughtfully give it props where deserved without just tearing it down on general principle. That's the best sorta review to read: a fair one! That said, while I definitely share everyone's low opinion of the new Laurie, I'd still urge those who haven't seen HALLOWEEN II to go in with an open mind if at all possible... perhaps not completely rejecting it before it begins will help. I too was all against it at first, but I gave it a shot, and it paid off. I'm normally a cynical prick, but it won me over, in the long run.

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  9. J,

    I can definitely see where people are coming from on the both sides--or those who are somewhere in the middle, but people are getting so angry about it and it's a little frustrating. I know we all love film to death, but damn, it's still just a movie.

    It's good to hear that you liked it! I was pretty open to this film and wanted to like it; I had no negative feeling going in (other than the concerns I had from the film's trailer which left me uncertain as to the new plot direction).

    And thanks for the nice things you said about the review. :)

    Becky

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  10. Gamer, Pandorum and Whiteout will clear our tainted pallets in September, I hope! :)~

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  11. I'm not holding my breath over The Thing rip off--I mean Whiteout, but I'm so excited for Pandorum and Gamer will be deliciously fun action. :D

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