Movie Review #889
“HALLOWEEN II” IS FAR FROM PERFECT (WILL SUCH SEQUELS EVER CEASE TO BE?), BUT STILL INTRIGUING AND VERY, VERY, VERY BLOODY.
By Alexander Diminiano
|Released August 28, 2009 (nationwide)|
|Rated R (contains frequent graphic violence, disturbing content, profanity, strong sexual content, nudity)|
Blood. Carnage. “F” words. Nudity. More “f” words. More nudity. Blood on the walls, on the carpets, and all over that guy’s body, this girl’s dress. Oh and don’t forget that other girl’s skirt. It’s soaked in blood, too. More nudity, more “f” words, more carnage…
Do I sound like I’m going crazy? It’s because I’m imitating Rob Zombie. He has a formula for “Halloween II”, as he did with his first “Halloween” remake. And unless it involves Michael Myers confronting his victims without his mask, it’s an enjoyable formula. Because beyond the blood, the carnage, the “f” words, the nudity, and yadda yadda yadda, there’s something more. There’s a psychological approach (as there was last time) and there’s a point (as there was last time). Though I’m sure that at face value, I still would have somewhat enjoyed “Halloween II”.
Why am I honoring such a grisly film? Mainly, because it’s proven that the series is more than just entertaining when rebooted. This sequel to Zombie’s 2007 “Halloween” reboot is better than the 1981 movie called “Halloween II”. And this “Halloween II” (2009) starts out as a remake of that one: Laurie is hospitalized on Halloween night, after receiving the massive injuries seen in the first film. But after she escapes from the hospital, so does Rob Zombie from the source material. Flash forward almost a year, to where PTSD is catching up on Laurie Strode. Yep, it’s Halloween again, and we can’t exactly say that Michael Myers is dead yet.
So he won’t die. We get that, but I can’t complain. “Halloween II” often asks us to look over the obvious in its plot, and boy, is there a lot of it. Keep in mind that none of these characters have ever heard of Murphy’s Law, and those that have don’t believe in it. Nobody in “Halloween II” seems aware that Michael Myers can stab you, he will stab you. So I guess they didn’t realize that it’s a pretty good rule of thumb not to stand within five inches of sketchy people wearing cloaks and strange masks.
Unless they’re harmless, like Tom Cruise in “Eyes Wide Shut”, but anyway.
The movie just wants to have fun, and so it does. Hell, there’s a “Weird Al” Yankovic cameo here. This is when Dr. Loomis is invited onto a talk show to talk about his recent book, The Devil Walks Among Us. He’s had at least two books by now (the other being The Devil’s Eyes, featured in the first movie), and it’s made him a superstar. Everybody hates him now. He’s used his time as a psychologist for Michael Myers, and the recent killings by Myers, to write down books that everybody wants signed. He’s not really a detective anymore, in case you were wondering. But as for the people who can’t stand him, I don’t blame them. He’s used the massacres to turn himself into a celebrity. So much of a celebrity that he walks around in shades that we first saw resting on the bridge of Marcello’s nose in “La Dolce Vita”.
There’s more of a motive in “Halloween II”. Except this time, it’s not introduced by back story. It’s introduced in dream sequences that heavily distort reality as we know it within the film. Michael is now haunted by visions of his deceased mother and himself as a child, wherein he is convinced that his killings are a service he owes to his mother, and that in finding Laurie Strode (his estranged younger sister), he will be able to reunite the family when the time comes.
Speaking of Laurie Strode. She’s two different characters here. I didn’t enjoy her in the first “Halloween”, but Scout Taylor-Compton’s performance here is far more convincing than it was that time. At least it starts that way. In the first half hour of the movie, she offers a likable character. But we soon discover that she’s been transformed. Remember Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode? Remember her being a punk rock fiend who wore black tank tops and too much makeup? Yeah, I didn’t think so. That’s the Laurie Strode that Scout Taylor-Compton plays, though. And that’s not the end of it. When she finally finds out that she was born Angel Myers, making her Michael’s sister, she decides she doesn’t care about her life anymore. She starts to drink and party. Now try associating that Laurie Strode with Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s impossible, so don’t try too hard.
While I watched “Halloween II”, I kept count of how many bodies went down, as I did with the first movie. I tallied 18 humans murdered by Michael Myers, 1 dog murdered by Myers (the act and aftermath are rather disturbing), 1 cow murdered by an oncoming van whose trunk contains Myers, and 2 more murders not executed by Myers. One of which is in a dream sequence, if it matters. The one thing that “Halloween II” has cut down on by now is the length of the murder scenes. At 22 murders, they don’t feel as constant as they did in the first movie, which featured 17 murders. But while they are quicker, they’re also considerably more graphic. “Halloween” was bloody. It tied the slasher genre effectively with psychological elements, but also brought the slashing to the very extremes. “Halloween II” subverts those extremes. It’s horribly, horribly violent, and in other areas quite shallow, but for those who enjoy a slasher movie now and then, it’s an enjoyable watch.