Halloween II (2009)
Reviewed by Andrew Kasch
Starring Scout Taylor Compton, Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowell, Danielle Harris
Directed by Rob Zombie
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”
That’s an average line spoken in Halloween II, sometimes – and I’m not kidding – for minutes at a time. From the overuse of profanity, trailer trash stereotypes, gratuitous use of cameos and angelic images of Sheri Moon, it's as though Rob Zombie listened to every complaint about his remake and amped it up for this badly self-indulgent sequel. Is it out of spite for his critics, or is it because the man just can’t do anything else? Regardless, Halloween II is every bit as pointless a sequel to the first as that film was a pointless remake of the John Carpenter classic.
It’s pretty clear in the first twenty minutes that Zombie has already run out of story ideas and is simply stringing his characters along just for the sake of making a sequel. Things start off okay enough with a near-catatonic Laurie Strode rushed to Haddonfield Hospital in the bloody aftermath of Michael Myers’ rampage. Unfortunately the coroners didn’t think to remove the “dead” Myers’ mask and check for a pulse, and he quickly rises to go after his kid sister. There’s an abridged version of the original Halloween II hospital rampage as Myers stalks Laurie that’s well shot and ratchets up some decent tension. But it’s all for naught because Zombie decides to make the first act an elaborate dream sequence. So much for stakes.
We catch up with Laurie a year later. She’s traumatized, morphed into a grunge chick and Margot Kidder is her therapist (so you know she’s really fucked). She lives in the secluded backwoods with surviving pal Annie (Danielle Harris) and even has slutty replacement friends to fill out the body count portion. But Michael Myers, now dressed head-to-toe in homeless rags and sporting a ZZ Top beard, has spent the past year living in the wild somewhere far away and decides it's time to go after his sister once again. Tis the season…
The maskless Hobo Myers spends about half the film walking through barren fields like we’re watching some Werner Herzog nature documentary. He randomly kills any cameo actor who crosses his path and dons a tattered version of The Shape mask whenever he gets really pissed. In the second half Myers finally shows back up in town and begins systematically knocking off Laurie’s friends all over again. How does he know where she’s hiding? And why does he continue to stealthily bump off everyone around her when he can just go straight for the prize kill? I have no idea.
Meanwhile, Dr, Loomis (a returning Malcolm McDowell) has reached celebrity status with his latest tell-all Myers book and has turned into a cartoonish ego-maniac who hurls insults at journalists and throws diva tantrums (“I’m the NEW Loomis!” he screams when he sees an old photo of himself dressed in Donald Pleasence’s signature trenchcoat). The return of Loomis really serves no purpose other than to vocalize Zombie’s anger towards fans and critics, but McDowell is clearly having fun with the character, and his scenery chewing is the only thing that breaks up the boredom of the Laurie/Michael storyline.
It's no surprise the most embarrassing moments belong to Sheri Moon Zombie, who appears alongside a giant white horse (!) in several bad David Lynch-wannabe dream sequences. For reasons unknown both Michael and Laurie are having the same dreams and even witness visions of Young Michael, horrendously played by a new kid actor (Zombie would’ve been better off re-casting an older Daeg Faerch). These rapid-fire music video sequences are so mind-scathingly awful, they border on unintentional hilarity. Everything else in this film is a bloody bore of ancient slasher cliches. Every kill is painfully telegraphed and executed in Zombie’s typical shaky-cam fashion.
The high point of Halloween II is Brad Dourif, who is the only cast member delivering something beyond a two-dimensional performance. He gives a genuinely likable, sympathetic portrayal of Sherriff Brackett, and every time he’s on screen, you can’t help but dream of a better film where a gun-toting Dourif leads a Michael Myers manhunt without the rest of these annoying hick characters.
Of all the films in the Michael Myers franchise, this Halloween II may be the most plodding and thin entry to date. It should also be noted that the classic Halloween theme doesn’t appear once in this film except during the end credits where it is paired with a reprisal of “Love Hurts”. Thanks, Rob.
2 out of 5