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