Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Halloween: Resurrection

2002
Dir. Rick Rosenthal

Four years after mistakenly killing a man she thought to be her brother (really, Dimension Films? Desperation?), long-suffering Laurie Strode is eventually hunted down by her not really dead actual brother, crazier-than-bat-shit Michael Myers, and murderlised. Making his way back home to Haddonfield, Myers discovers the crew of an online reality show has taken over his house to broadcast a Halloween special featuring a group of dumb-fuck teenagers who must spend the night in the house of ill-repute. Naturally he goes on yet another killing spree. And its all caught on camera and broadcast online for other dumb-fuck teenagers to watch.

Yes, it really is as shite as it sounds.

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later did not warrant a sequel. It was intended not only as a twentieth anniversary celebration of John Carpenter's classic chiller, but as a way to draw the series to a close, with its original heroine finally confronting her demons and emerging victorious. With the return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the role of Laurie Strode and the story’s back to basics approach, everything was in place for a bravura denouement. Its show-stopping final moments feature Laurie deciding to stop running and actively face up to her deranged brother, putting an end to his life and his hold over her with one blow of an axe. Had the Halloween franchise ended here (as it should have in this writer’s humble opinion) it would have been a great finale and went out on such a high. A sense of cathartic resolution was reached that made sense not only in terms of the story it featured, but also the direction the series had been heading. However, as the film had been so successful, both critically and commercially, Dimension Films began to ponder how they could recreate the success. Four years later, with a budget of $15 million and a measly explanation for why Myers isn’t really dead, Halloween Resurrection went into production and any hope of seeing the series put to rest in a respectful, distinguished way was quashed quicker than you could scream “Look out behind you!”



From the start, Resurrection just feels like a cheat. The undignified treatment of Laurie (though to be fair to Curtis, she probably just wanted out - and who could blame her) and the explanation of how Myers is still alive, spat out in a clumsy expositionary way no less, is cringe-worthy, indicative of the embarrassing mess of a film to follow and pretty much undoes all the good H20 did in reigning the series in and providing it with a decent sense of closure.

The premise, while possibly interesting in other films, just doesn’t have any context within the Halloween series. Mockumentaries had become a popular format for horror films after the success of The Blair Witch Project. Halloween really doesn’t seem a likely series to adapt this approach, but this again highlights how little thought has gone into this instalment and just showcases how desperate the studio was to move with the times and capitalise on what was popular. To hell with whether or not it fits the series’ spirit. The producers saw something that was popular and pounced on it. The idea of dumb teenagers watching a reality TV show in which other dumb teenagers are trapped in a house, their every move and subsequent violent death recorded for entertainment purposes a la Big Brother had been attempted in horror before, and to much more creepy effect, as in the likes of My Little Eye, Man Bites Dog and The Last Broadcast. Fuck, even Kolobos has more redeeming qualities than Resurrection. Yes I went there. Because it’s TRUE. While some postmodern, reflexive fun could have been had and some interesting points about horror audiences considered, Halloween Resurrection doesn’t even bother trying. The only time it comes remotely close to self-examination is the moment when the crowd at the party watching the show online cheer when one of the characters is dispatched as they think it’s a hoax. They’re suitably enthused and when they realise what’s going on and begin rooting for Sara, they scream senselessly at the screen with instructions for her to get out or runaway – like horror fans are sometimes prone to do when watching a dumb slasher flick.We've all been there. Haven't we? Don't lie.



The POV camera stuff feels like an afterthought – it doesn’t add anything to proceedings at all, when what it should do is thrust us into suspenseful build ups and bloody mayhem. Characters just wander around in the dark and gloomy house with no objective, while the intercutting of their static-charged camcorder POV footage is supposed to make us feel like we’re there with them. It doesn’t. It feels tacked on instead of integral to the storytelling. That they are such utterly redundant characters – some of which are so boring and pointless (yes Tara Banks I’m looking at you, coz frankly, just constantly shakin’ yo thang ain’t no actin’, bitch), Rosenthal can’t even be bothered filming their deaths. Not that this would enhance the film in any way – the violence is so generic and clich├ęd it has little effect. Much like he did when directing Halloween II, Rosenthal neglects to realise that it is the anticipation of violence that’s scary – not violence itself. The scene in which Freddie (Busta Rhymes) is dressed as Myers creeping through the house while actually being followed by the real Myers could have been quite creepy. Instead the moment is wasted on a dumb attempt at a humorous payoff. Freddie essentially sasses Myers thinking he’s someone else and the killer just slinks off. Perhaps feeling as embarrassed as the audience.


I was wrong about Halloween 5 being the absolute nadir of the Halloween series. When Busta Rhymes uses kung-fu to defend himself against Myers and exclaims “Trick or treat, muthafucka!” I just knew that this marked the absolute nadir of the series. What can I say, I’m that intuitive. Resurrection’s attempts at humour are severely misjudged, the performances are non-descript, and people spout juvenile, MTV-styled dialogue like “You want some of this? Huh? You want to try and fucking kill me? Huh? You like sushi, muthafucka?”, “Cameras are so... phallic” and “Looking a little crispy over there, Mikey. Like some chicken-fried muthafucka.” *groans*

Dumb, crass and representative of everything that that is bad about sequels – Halloween Resurrection is nothing but an obvious and shallow attempt by producers to cash in on the success of H20. It is utterly devoid of artistic merit and solely designed as a cold, hard cash-cow.

Avoid, avoid, avoid.

9 comments:

kelvingreen said...

as it should have in this writer’s humble opinion

Me too. It was a perfect way to draw a line under the series, only for them to bring it back with this useless slasher, a film so generic that it could have featured any masked killer and didn't need to be Myers. The online reality show premise is almost an embarrassment in its limp half-heartedness, and Busta Rhymes, ye gods.

Caffeinated Joe said...

Totally agree. The scene where Rhymes character berates who he thinks is his assistant in Michael costume is horrible. Michael stands there and takes it and then just walks away! What?

I agree it should've ended with H20, but had this film had to exist, I have a different idea of how it could have worked, at least so it wasn't such a horrible bitter, horrible final film in the series. Read my thoughts here: Halloween: Resurrection - My Cut.

Tell me what you think.

Jayme said...

I have seen some awful films, but I haven't seen this. I love Halloween 5, especially in comparison with the trailer for this movie. I will never, ever watch this. It's too much.

Aaron said...

Ugh... just awful. However, I do like the closure with Laurie and Michael, and the Busta Rhymes "Trick or treat" scene is pretty hilarious. But I'll never watch this movie again if I can help it.

James Gracey said...

Ye gods indeed, Kelvin! Ye gods!!

I have to say Joe, I much prefer your version of Resurrection. As it is, I was very disappointed, nay, DISGUSTED, with Laurie's treatment in this one. And for it to end so brazenly with a set up for yet another fucking sequel was just the last straw. Gaaaah!! Angry now.

Jayme there really is no reason to watch this. I consider myself to be a huge fan of the series (and also someone who will pretty much watch ANYTHING), but there really are no redeeming qualities in this one, whatsoever.

Aaron I much preferred the closure with Laurie and Michael in H20. Check out Caffeinated Joe’s take on how Resurrection could have been improved (the link is above). And yeah, in a weird way, the moment when Busta Rhymes exclaims “Trick or Treat, muthafucka!” I found myself thinking “This must surely be the best worst moment in any film ever!” Well, in the Halloween series anyway. ;)

Caffeinated Joe said...

James: Thanks, glad you like it. And yeah, Resurrection has such a messed up story. First, the focus on the Laurie/Michael story and finalize it, in their way. Then Michael's purpose is what? To go back home and just become a hermit? Had the reality kids never shown up, would he have just stayed in the basement and scared kids away who came to close? Bleh!

James Gracey said...

Joe, something tells me that Halloween Resurrection is not a film that can withstand close scrutiny. I don't know what it is - hey, maybe I'm just THAT intuitive!? ;)

Such a bloody waste of a film - and that THIS entry then became the last one of the series, and not - as it should have been - H20, is just pathetic. Talk about going out with a whimper. :/

christine said...

(I kinda love this movie in a totally ironic, snapshot of the time way...)

Resurrection is a ridiculous waste of time. The pacing is awful and any build up is nonexistent. My least favorite scene is when Myers gives his knife to the wacko in the hospital.
That being said, I've seen this more times than I should've. I love how much you revile this film!

James Gracey said...

Christine, I guess in terms of my hatred for this film - you could say it holds a special place in my heart... ;)
First time I watched it was in a basement in Wales (under the house I lived in during my third year at uni). Even this failed to make it scary or even remotely interesting. HATE IT!