August 28, 2009
Sheri Moon Zombie as Debra Myers
Chase Wright Vanek as Young Michael
Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode
Brad Dourif as Sherrif Lee Brackett
Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Samuel Loomis
Following a recent trend from character development and suspense build up to instant horror gratification, Rob Zombies Halloween IIis just another film that may raise your blood pressure, but that you completely forget as you pass through the theatre exit doors. I’m disappointed in Zombie, for even his 2007 film took us on a little trip into the psyche of Michael Myers, somewhere we hadn’t been before. Rob Zombies Halloween II didn’t take us anywhere.
Picking up where we left of at the end ofHalloween 2007, Michael after his murder spree has gone missing while wounded sister Laurie lies in the hospital, thinking she’s killed the murderer. Can you guess what surprise guest shows up for a visit? And let’s just say it’s not out of brotherly love… or is it? Hell bent on killing Laurie so the family can be together (per a few lame, overly dramatic dream sequences involving mom and a white horse), and taking out anyone who gets in his way, Michael begins yet another journey of evil – all mangy-headed, all seven plus feet of him.
Like other horror remakes we’ve seen in the new millennium (Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left…too many to count), Rob Zombies Halloween II lacks the (albeit brief) character development and suspense of the originals, and heads right for nonstop thrills and chills, packing in a little tongue and cheek humor along the way. Take for example the rednecks that team up to give Michael a lickin’. In fact the redneck theme throughout the entire film strays, and not in a good way, from the middle-class tone of the original Halloween. Even Laurie herself is pretty raunchy with wild hair, tattoos and a serious potty-mouth. Very different from Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie of yesteryear – likeable, preppie, proper and a bit more victim-y.
Personally I prefer having at least a little sympathy for those being pursued by the killer. Michael Myers is fierce enough to make the hair stand up on the back of our necks, yes. But how do we feel about Dr. Loomis? Laurie? Her friends? Do we care about them? Dr. Loomis supposedly treated Michael psychologically his whole life and we respected him back in the day. The new Dr. Loomis is nothing but a showcaser, exploiting his patient for his own celebrity gain. We can’t wait for him to die.
And gone are the days when a teenage girl’s simple walk down the block carrying books, accompanied by that menacing instrumental theme song was enough to scare the bejesus out of us. By the time Michael made his attacks we were so fearful of what was going to happen, it made the horror all the worse. The in-your-face horror of this Halloween II by contrast may be entertaining in the moment but lacks any lasting effect. Again the difference is in our sympathy, or lack thereof.
That being said, Scout Taylor-Compton again gives a solid performance as ‘the new’ Laurie. In fact, most performances in the film are decent, including that of Lois Lane Margot Kidder as Laurie’s psychiatrist whose acute perception allows her to point out to that Laurie may be experiencing increased anxiety due to the fact that it’s Halloween, the anniversary of the murders. Ya think? At least it was worth a chuckle.
If Rob Zombies Halloween II as the remake of Halloween II is any indication of the nextHalloween II, let’s certainly hope Michael is apprehended by the 2030’s.