Mark Reviews Movies


2 Stars (out of 4)

Director: Rick Rosenthal

Cast: Bianca Kajlich, Brad Loree, Busta Rhymes, Sean Patrick Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Katee Sackhoff, Daisy McCrackin, Luke Kirby, Tyra Banks, Jamie Lee Curtis

MPAA Rating: R (for strong violence, language, some sexuality and brief drug use)

Running Time: 1:34

Release Date: 7/12/02

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Review by Mark Dujsik

Well, it could have been worse. After so many years and sequels, a series is bound to get pretty tired, find that ideas are in short supply, and suffer because the original movie has set a certain standard that can’t be met. All of these apply to Halloween: Resurrection, the eighth but, based on the final seconds of the movie, not final installment in an almost quarter-century-long franchise. Not much has happened in the world of the movies since then—lots of blood, gore, gratuitous nudity, and an array of silly masks that never had the effect of Michael Myers’ mask in the original—but, based on this and the previous entry Halloween: H20, a lot has been forgotten—namely every sequel between Halloween II and H20. Maybe that’s for the best, but the fact still remains that Resurrection cannot revive a franchise that has been worn out since its first sequel.

Remember the final, climactic battle between Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in H20? Turns out that the man in the mask that was chasing and trying to kill her and refused to die until he was beheaded was actually a paramedic that Michael dressed up to throw Laurie off. Just count that giant logical misstep as the necessary excuse to justify another sequel, and accept that the incident landed Laurie in an insane asylum. There Laurie withers away, hiding pills and looking out the window. Michael (this time played by stuntman Brad Loree) comes back to finish off his sister (when was this shaky biological connection revealed again?), and let’s just say that by the end of the opening sequence, Jamie Lee Curtis’ agent can start finding her real work again. Cut to Haddonfield University (the little suburb has apparently been doing pretty well for itself) where a group of students have just been accepted to be part of Freddie Harris’ (Busta Rhymes) live Internet broadcast that will place six people inside the home of Michael Myers and try to discover what went wrong with him.

The main attempt at an original idea comes from the inclusion of cameras placed throughout the house and worn by the soon-to-be victims. One element that eventually comes into play is the inclusion of an outside party helping what’s left of the party through the use of an electronic messaging device (although a regularity with the messages may have saved them some scares). The whole gimmick could have worked—perhaps if the movie were shot solely using these cameras—but it only turns out to be a missed opportunity. Instead the movie immediately dates itself by wallowing in the reality television fad. While the screenplay by Larry Brand could easily be entirely tongue-in-cheek, director Rick Rosenthal may have missed the point altogether. Discussions of Michael Myers’ psychological makeup are treated as though they have some significance. Shots and setups are generously borrowed from the original film, but they’re treated with homage not parody (and for anyone interested, an allusion to Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom is also included). The end result is a curious mixture that luckily avoids self-awareness but stumbles in the silliness of doing a straightforward, clichéd horror movie in an age of irony.

Don’t ask me to recognize or remember most of the cast, which is full of virtual unknowns and a few slightly noticeable actors. There is a method to the murders; thankfully Michael starts off with the blandest actors and moves up (that Tyra Banks lives so long is a noteworthy paradox). Taking over the lead damsel in distress role is Bianca Kajlich who has a pretty good scream and is convincing enough until an extended sequence near the finale places her running through the house voicing some of the most unconvincing cries of distress I’ve heard in a while. Busta Rhymes has more fun than someone in a horror movie should, and the rest of the cast is so contrastingly somber and serious that they might as well be in a shoddy community theater production of Chekhov. A notable exception is Sean Patrick Thomas who keeps his performance so levelheaded throughout the movie that we know he belongs in something better.

The most unexpected part of Halloween: Resurrection is that for the first time, that I am aware of at least, a victim comes back to life—that’s how low this genre has gotten. The movie is paced well enough, and the camera gimmick holds some interest, but the scare moments are obvious and the killings predictably gruesome. Next year, the original Halloween will turn twenty-five, and it still holds up. No horror movie since has had the ability to genuinely frighten and disturb as skillfully. For the twenty-fifth anniversary, I can only hope for a theatrical re-release of the landmark slasher. Save us another sequel.

Copyright © 2002 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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