Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween: Resurrection

Part of my month-long goal of watching/reviewing nothing but horror movies was to delve a little deeper into the Halloween series.  I love the first film (who doesn't?) and thought the second was not-quite mediocre.  I opted to skip the next four in the series, partly because I preferred seeing the direct sequels to Halloween II and partly because Netflix was streaming Halloween H20 and Halloween: Resurrection, the seventh and eighth in the franchise, respectively.  I watched these two movies back-to-back, and while I found a lot of stupidity in H20, I was still entertained.  Will that trend continue with Resurrection?
It depends.  Is Michael singing along to "Hip-Hop Hooray"?

Three years after the events in H20, we catch up with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).  The past few years have not been kind to Laurie.  It seems that the person she decapitated at the end of the last film was not, in fact, Michael Myers.  Apparently, Michael managed to find an EMT worker with a similar build, crushed his larynx, swapped clothes (and mask) with the worker, and scampered off into the night, leaving poor innocent EMT guy to get his head chopped off by Laurie.  Aside from going against twenty years of Michael Myers logic --- this is the Timex of slasher villains, the man who won't stop ticking --- and having Michael resort to trickery, like any normal wuss, this also means that Laurie has been committed to a psychiatric institute, which may or may not be for the criminally insane.
Well, she has the "crazy eyes" part down pat
I'm not exactly sure, since Laurie has resorted to faking a comatose state to avoid medication and treatment, but it sure seems like she's there against her will.  Oh, and there's a patient who is celebrating Halloween by wearing a clown mask (a la John Wayne Gacy) and reciting his favorite serial killer statistics.  Side note: Gacy, Dahmer, and Myers all came from the greater Chicago losing sports teams contribute to serial killing?  Anyway, Laurie is faking the degree of her craziness because she knows Michael will come for her someday.  And he does.  This time, he kills her when she stops to do something absolutely, ludicrously stupid.  They could have stretched this into an entire movie (Halloween II, anyone?), but the filmmakers opted to squeeze all that into the first fifteen minutes or so.

Huh.  The last film went to great lengths, completely ignoring the continuity of the previous three films, to bring Michael back to his family-hating roots, and Resurrection has him finally kill his little sister in the beginning of the film.  What the hell is this film going to be about, then?  A reality television-styled webcast, naturally.  Freddie (Busta Rhymes, who seriously got top billing in the movie) and his business partner (Tyra Banks) are filming a webcast, because that is how you make money in the 2000s, right?  Um, sure.  The pair select a group (that happen to mostly know each other) to spend the night in Michael Myers' childhood home in Haddenfield, Illinois.  The idea is for Freddie to dress up like Michael and scare the crap out of the group as they discovered "clues," planted by Freddie, that explained Michael's behavior.  Think Ghost Hunters, but with a prankster involved.  There is only one problem...Michael Myers is actually living in the sewers beneath his old home, and he doesn't like visitors.
Michael, about to kiss a man to death

At this point, I would like to point out that two of Halloween: Resurrection's most famous cast members are African-American.  Why does that matter?  Really, it doesn't.  It just reminded me of Eddie Murphy's classic stand-up:

So, just in case Haunted Mansion hadn't convinced you already, Eddie Murphy is not always right.

The acting in Halloween: Resurrection is fairly shitty, across the board.  When Busta Rhymes is the top-billed actor in the film, you know there is a problem.  It's not that Busta is terrible (although he is), it's just that he's not good enough to headline a major film.  I thought he was alternately ridiculous (like when he laughed like Muttley)...
...and just plain annoying (when he tried to act), but I wasn't expecting a whole lot from him, as an actor or a character.  The main girl, Sara (Bianca Kajlich) was practically void of personality, which is usually enough to survive a slasher flick.  American Pie alum Thomas Ian Nicholas and Save the Last Dance-r Sean Patrick Thomas were similarly underwhelming.  The only supporting cast members that stuck out were Katee Sackhoff (for being a fame whore), Daisy McCrackin (for showing intellectual boobies), and Luke Kirby (for being obnoxious and unrealistic). 
Katee Sackhoff, in her best scene
Jamie Lee Curtis was fine, but her character dies before the opening credits, so that's not much of a help.  Look, I don't normally care how good the acting is in slasher films, but the quality here is such a huge drop from H20 that it distracted me.  Aside from Kajlich's good girl --- who has no motivation to be in this plot --- everyone character was ridiculously one-note.  Everything Sean Patrick Thomas said involved food, Katee Sackhoff spent her entire time trying to act like a wannabe actress, and Kirby and McCrackin jettisoned logic as soon as they entered the Myers house.  As for Busta...well, he occasionally narrates his thoughts aloud.  I would have been fine with stereotypes (they're all going to die, anyhow) but these characters were just obnoxious.

This isn't director Rick Rosenthal's first experience with Michael Myers.  He also directed Halloween II; this time, though, John Carpenter wasn't around to ratchet up the effectiveness of the gore.  While I am willing to blame the awful acting on Rosenthal (somebody had to tell the actors to keep it up), I do get the distinct impression that his directorial intent was overridden a few times in this film.  The first clue comes from the alternate promo poster, which was used for the DVD cover:
Someone took the original poster and photoshopped-in the supporting cast.  That's not a crime, of course, but it was done incompetently.  Aside from the odd and unnatural position of the knife, Jamie Lee Curtis is shown as she appeared in H20, with short hair.  It is also worth noting that the end of the film throws an unexpected twist in; the entire film seems to be building up to having Sara rescued by her internet buddy, but at the last minute somebody else --- who should have died from multiple stab wounds --- comes in and saves the day.  That was unexpected and also makes the internet buddy subplot fairly worthless.  That is because the theatrical ending wasn't the original one; through terrible editing, Monster Crap has still-frame proof that internet buddy was supposed to save the day, but the ending got changed --- they were just too lazy to completely re-shoot the sequence.  So how much of this mess is Rosenthal's doing, and how much was due to the interference of the producers?  It's hard to say, but I think both failed to make this movie entertaining, suspenseful, or horrifying.
Case in point: Michael politely waits for their conversation to end

Halloween: Resurrection is not completely without value.  Tyra Banks was killed off-camera, so audiences were spared her "acting."  There are ten kills and some ridiculously inappropriate nudity.  The actions of the characters are frequently idiotic enough to evoke laughter from any thinking person.  Michael Myers gets electrocuted in the testicles, an area that I don't think anyone has thought to attack before.  Even when you add all that up, there isn't much going for this movie.  When you factor in the fact that Michael isn't being creepy, he is just killing trespassers in his own home, it becomes obvious that Resurrection has lost sight of what makes Michael Myers cool.  He needs to kill for unknown reasons, and he shouldn't ever resort to trickery.  What a mess; no wonder they let Rob Zombie reboot the series after this piece of crap.

The entire time I spent writing this review, I had this song stuck in my head.  Mister Busta Rhymes, tell 'em what I did:

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