Halloween Resurrection

Movie Information

Genre: Horror
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Starring: Busta Rhymes, Tyra Banks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bianca Kajlich
Rated: R

It’s so easy to pick a movie like this to pieces. It’s formula rubbish — especially by the time you’ve sliced and diced your way to the eighth series installment — and even at that, the formula isn’t an especially good or creative one. Halloween Resurrection is no exception. It’s addle-brained, obvious, unfocused, predictable, and never really scary. In this case, it’s a series that probably ought to have called it a day after the death of Donald Pleasence, whose hammy presence kept the films afloat with lines like, “He’s evil — evil on two legs!” (I always liked that bit — “evil on two legs” as opposed to what? Evil on a bicycle? Evil on a pogo stick? Evil on roller skates — not to mention the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical the latter would inevitably spawn?) And, believe me, rapper-turned-“actor” Busta Rhymes (nee Trevor Smith, Jr.), who seems to have trouble just remembering his lines (“Trick or treat … muthaf***er”), is no replacement for Pleasence. Director Rick Rosenthal — who helmed what might have been the most horrific in the series, Halloween II, before producer John Carpenter recut his film and inserted utterly gratuitous gore effects — doesn’t really do anything to raise the film out of the ordinary. In fact, he seems to take a pretty haphazard approach to it all. He completely ignores the fact that the script sets up a number of obvious — and often quite workable — devices and then doesn’t follow up on them. For example, in the film’s pre-credit sequence — which mostly features Jamie Lee Curtis sitting in a nuthouse, apparently wondering when the filmmakers are going to present her check — it’s very carefully built up that Michael Myers has a bad reaction that stops him in his tracks when confronted with high-pitched squeals. Then, it’s just as carefully built up that the only moderately normal (read: the one who will live) meat-on-the-hoof teenager (Bianca Kajlich) boasts a scream that can shatter glass. And then … well, the idea never resurfaces. This may be the result of a changed ending. At least, I hope that’s the case. Otherwise, the film — as scripted and shot — wants us to believe that dot.com entrepreneur Freddie Harris (Rhymes) can receive multiple fatal stab wounds and then just get all better. I’m more inclined to the theory that the ending was deemed too weak in test screenings and was reworked — but without the director bothering to change anything leading up to it. Even so, I have to admit that I had a good time with this brain-dead slasher flick — not in spite of its myriad stupidities, but because of them. It’s the sort of incredibly dumb horror flick that you can laugh at and exchange rude remarks with your moviegoing partner and in general have fun, all the while realizing that there’s virtually nothing in the picture that can actually be called “good.” Well, the premise isn’t entirely bad: Put a handful of stock slasher-movie teens in Michael Myers’ old homestead (a domicile that has suffered more changes from movie to movie than Dr. Frankenstein’s house in the old Universal horrors) as part of an exploitation show on the Internet. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Just how Freddie Harris is making a nickel off an Internet show that anyone can access for free is never addressed. The premise is workable enough though, even if the Internet-show theme has the downside of affording the film innumerable opportunities to indulge in shaky, ill-lit, grainy ersatz Blair Witch images. From there, the movie’s a raft of the usual cliches, improbabilities, and an assortment of rip-offs from other movies: a murder straight out of Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, a denouement that owes more than a little to Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World, and so on. It’s all very silly and overstated. No knife ever appears in the entire film without exaggerated sound effects that suggest nothing so much as dinner being prepared at your table in a Japanese restaurant. It’s fun, if you’re in the mood and in the right company. I admit I was disappointed by an apparent plot point involving the discovery of fresh spices (don’t ask why anyone would examine them) in the Myers kitchen, despite the fact that the house hadn’t been lived in for 30 plus years. What could it mean? Could it possibly be a plot development? Are we settling in for Michael Myers: Master Chef? Alas, this was not to be — at least not this round. But there’s always hope for Part Nine!

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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