After the release of the Halloween reboot/re-make/re-envisioning, things didn’t look that great for the franchise making a comeback. Somehow, Dimension Films gave Rob Zombie the chance to make a sequel, with confusing results.
Movie: Halloween 2 (2009)
Plot: One year (or two, if you watch the Director’s Cut,) Laurie Strode is trying to live a normal life, and Dr. Loomis is trying to live a profitable life, after dealing with Michael Myers. But Michael is back from being shot in the head and having his body misplaced by local authorities, inspired by his mother, his childhood, and a white horse to find his sister and “bring her home.”
Killer: Michael Myers, with more rage than ever.
Critique: I have to give Rob Zombie some credit: he was able to inject a new spin into the Halloween franchise with his adaptations while still looking like a die-hard fan of the originals. But “participation trophies” are rarely as exciting as a championship belt, and the merits of these Halloween films, specifically Halloween 2 this time, fall short of inspiring.
In Halloween 2, the graphic violence is given more intensity, from the beginning with the details of Annie’s surgery and continuing through with the rage that Michael Myers portrays in his murders. It hits hard, like most of the horror films of the new millennium. Suffice to say, it’s not new to the genre, but it is new to the Halloween franchise and a breath of fresh air after films like H20 and Resurrection. That intensity is also showcased in a subliminal sense with the mental deterioration of Laurie Strode, which continually highlight the film.
But then Halloween 2 tries to be too on-the-nose when it comes to psychological horror theme by having the physical manifestation of Michael’s psychosis manifested as Sheri Moon Zombie with a white horse and his childhood form, leading to an even more ludicrous use of this psychosis by having it shared with his sister, Laurie. Instead of giving the film an artistic flair, it just muddles the story.
To be honest, I started to think that Rob Zombie was going to go in the direction of the French horror film, Haute Tension, and have Laurie be the killer dues to a psychological break. It could have worked, and could have even left the idea open to interpretation (Laurie’s wearing Michael’s mask in the end) if not for a scene where an officer tells Sheriff Brackett that a witness saw a man carrying a woman into a shack. So there are two people, and this idea is finally shut down at the climax of the film. Maybe this was the original intention, but Rob Zombie knew that he’d be heckled for ripping off a recent horror film, so we’re left with the nonsense that is Halloween 2.
Scene of Awesomeness: The opening of the film at the hospital after the last film’s attacks is fantastic. The violence and insanity portrayed with “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues being constantly found playing on tv sets created an amazing tone. Unfortunately, it was a dream, and the tone is lost for the rest of the film.
Scene of Ridiculousness: Any scene with Michael seeing his mother, the white horse, and an actor subbing in for him as a child. I’m all for adding a psychological element to movies (I’m a big fan of Brad Anderson’s films like Session 9 and The Machinist,) but this feels lazy and just a reason to get Sheri Moon Zombie on the screen.
Body Count: 19 (4 in a dream, allegedly) and 1 dog
1 by car accident
1 drawn-out decapitation with a piece of glass
1 axe to the back
1 impalement on deer antlers
1 dog vivisected for food
1 throat slit
1 skull stomped
1 beaten and slashed
1 face repeatedly bashed into a mirror
1 vague neck-snapping (guess)
1 thrown through a car windshield and then probably mangled when the car was tipped off the road
4 pairs of breasts
Actors/Actresses of Note: Just about everyone worth mentioning from the first film is back except for Bill Moseley and Sid Haig, with the addition of cameos by Richard Riehle, Chris Hardwick, and Weird Al Yankovic.
Quote: “I’m a chick who’s dressed up as a dude who wants to be a chick.” – Harley David