|31 Days of Horror|
Halloween II (2009) picks up right where the last film left off. The police have arrived at the scene, and they are packing everybody up in ambulances. Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is a hot mess of blood and tears, but she is alive and she has shot Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) in the goddamned face. And chest. And she's stabbed him a bunch. Laurie is sent to the hospital to recover and Michael is sent off to the morgue. But a funny thing happens on the way to the morgue --- the car crashes into a cow! And, as the legends foretold, yonder bovine sacrifice will once again raise up he that is eeeveeel!!! Or, in English, Michael wakes up and heads to the hospital to share a little stabby-stabby with Laurie and whoever else wants to share.
|Okay, now it's your turn to stab someone. Yay, sharing!|
|Whoa! Those rebels got to pose for a picture with the lead singer of Soul Asylum?|
|THIS is why homeless people are frightening|
The acting in Halloween II isn't as good as the last film. A big part of that is because Chase Wright Vanek replaced Daeg Faerch as Lil' Michael; replacing your best actor with a better-looking but less menacing one is not a winning choice. I'm sure the change was made because Faerch literally outgrew his role, but that was still disappointing. Vanek was okay, I guess, but his character's presence in this movie was waaay overplayed and nowhere near as clever as the script believed. I was impressed by the more emotive performance from Tyler Mane, though; his furious grunts definitely disturbed me. Sheri Moon Zombie was very...ethereal, I guess. Her character didn't require much acting, and she didn't throw in any extra.
|Kill, darling. And shake the snow globe.|
|Just look at that handlebar and tell me he can't handle more!|
|Note: it is very difficult to find this when Google Image searching "Halloween II Rocky Horror"|
|"So...this is a scene from a Rob Zombie movie? Gritty!"|
Rob Zombie once again wrote and directed Halloween II (2009), this time without the burden of recreating a classic. He did do a bit of an homage to Halloween II (1981), but that was limited to the dream sequence. In all fairness, it was a pretty brutal and impressive homage, even if it was cheapened by the dream. Zombie's direction is still nasty and grimy, so no real change there. He also wrote almost all of the characters as unsympathetic assholes, but his handling of Sheriff Brackett and his daughter was surprisingly good. Actually, I was impressed by some of the ideas Zombie brought up in this film. This is the first time I have seen realistic fallout from a slasher movie, whether it be physical injuries or mental scars.
|This is what happens after the credits? Gross.|
|Anyone who spends this much time ruining their bathroom is an interior designer, not a rebel|
Zombie also fails to focus in this movie. The side plot with Dr. Loomis was uninteresting and unnecessary to the main story; all it did was take the decently interesting Loomis from the last film and make him completely despicable. Also completely worthless was every single scene showing Lil' Michael and his mom. Cut that crap out and you have a movie that is at least 40% better, 30 minutes shorter, and 100% less pretentious.
The violence was plentiful in Halloween II, so I don't have any complaints about that. There isn't as much gore or uniqueness in the kills as you might expect --- aside from a head-smashing and a dog murder --- but Michael grunted and moaned while he killed in this movie, and that was unsettling. The final scene with Annie was also pretty brutal, and --- I may be mistaken on this --- I think it's implied that Michael raped her to death/after death. His weird "mommy vision" told him to "have fun" and the next time we see Annie is with her blood ALL OVER the room, and minus her panties. I don't know why that disturbs me more than the other seventeen or so murders in this film, but it does.
Where Halloween II falls off the rails is in its portrayal of Michael. It's that fundamental. The emotionless, faceless killer with unknown motivations now has emotions, a face, and explicit motivations. I'm no Halloween purist, but that's just...not Michael Myers. Even if you give Zombie the benefit of the doubt to recreate MM however he sees fit, the things we learn about Michael by seeing things through his eyes are stupid and boring. Do you like vaguely defined dream imagery?
|"If I say yes, can it pop up every ten minutes for no goddamned reason?"|
There are other weaknesses in the film, too, of course. Rob Zombie's inability to make you care about anyone on the screen is a big one. He doubles down on Michael and Laurie, but the things he adds --- dreams and unexplained shared visions --- are just awful. The complete lack of suspense was another miss. Explaining that Michael is just after Laurie, and yet he makes several pit stops along the way to murder people --- that doesn't make any sense and doesn't fit the character.
|Laurie doesn't even know most of the victims, so it can't be to get priceless reaction shots like this|
Overall, this was just an unpleasant experience with a few moments that gave me hope that something cool would happen. The concept of emotional fallout from the first film was one highlight, and the Rocky Horror costumes were another. I'm very happy that this movie did not try to recreate Halloween II (1981), but the fact of the matter is that the scenes that pay homage to that movie are some of the most brutal and fast-paced in the film. If some of your best scenes come from a fake-out, you have a problem. There is just so much that goes wrong in Halloween II (2009). It wants to be smart, but comes off idiotic. It wants to be disturbing, but instead becomes grating. I think it is supposed to be scary, but without any suspense or characters to care about, that's a tall order. As I watched it, I felt like Halloween II (2009) was trying to punish me for wanting to learn more about Michael Myers. This is a movie that put a lot of effort in to make me hate it. If it wasn't for those few, scattered moments of potential, I would rank this as one of my most hated movies.