Sunday, August 30, 2009
Movie Review - Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 (2009)
Really, Rob. Really?
Look, I gave you the benefit of the doubt when you re-did the original Halloween. I expected that I found it so underwhelming because you tried too hard to please too many people. Whether it was the fans, or the producers, or the MPAA, or your own vision; the simple truth is that you couldn't please everyone.
And the fact is - you've shown some actual aptitude and some truly unique talent in your earlier movies. As I wrote a week or so ago, I had my concerns about your second visit to Haddonfield, and I hoped that my trepidation was unfounded.
I now see that I was deluding myself.
Halloween 2 is a terrible, terrible movie and you've squandered any goodwill I might have felt for the brilliance of House of a 1000 Corpses or The Devil's Rejects.
This movie was just awful. It was disjointed and had very little continuity. Which is laughable when one considers that most slasher flicks - the original Halloweens included - had plot holes you could drive trucks through.
All this movie was was a vehicle for Zombie to, once again, showcase the easy-on-the-eyes, but unable-to-act, Sherri Moon Zombie. It was exactly what I feared.
The story, of course, takes place one year after the events of the first film. It starts out promising enough... but quickly devolves into a blurred and indistinct mess punctuated by images of Sherri Zombie in a white dress, or talking in her stupid baby voice, or wandering around with a white horse and surrounded by an eerie and ethereal light.
Scout Taylor-Compton resumes her role as Laurie Strode and now lives with Sheriff Brackett and his daughter Annie (the only other survivor of Michael Meyers first attack). She's now living in a room decorated in a style that can only be described as nouveau crack house. She's changed from the preppy, cute, fashioable teen she was in the first movie to a stringy haired, white trash pastiche wearing clothes that one would see on a homeless bag lady. She is haunted by nightmares of Michael Meyers and, of course, is plagued by the feeling that he just might be alive.
And of course Michael is.
He has been apparently living as a hobo and has gone unnoticed in Illinois. Funny really, considering every law enforcement agent in the state has been looking for him. Right. That makes sense... because seven foot tall, massive, psychotic hobos blend in to the scenery in your average, local farm community.
It's not a spoiler to say that Michael returns, causes havoc, and kills a lot of people. What's missing is a good story line or an attempt to make it engaging.
Sherri Zombie returns as Michael's mother, but is now a ghostly apparition that encourages Michael to kill lots of people and find his younger sister. And this is the part that makes me the most angry about wasting my time on this movie. The story line with the ghostly Momma Meyers did not, in any way, add to the film. You could have just as easily left it out and, in fact, it may have helped to do so. But we can't do that because, you know, then Sherrie Zombie wouldn't have had a job and wouldn't have felt like she contributed to the family finances. It must be hard living off of all Rob's record, movie, and art money. Poor Sherri! Hell, this was like charity.
Too bad I hate charity.
And the Mamma Meyers story made less sense in the grand scheme of things because - in addition to Michael seeing her - so does Laurie. Which makes no sense. The only way I could see explaining it is that Rob is alluding to the supposed psychic link that existed between Michael Meyers and his niece Jamie in Halloween 4 and 5. Cool points if he did, and nice allusion to Danielle Harris' role in the earlier films -- but I truthfully don't think Rob intended to do that. I may just be giving him too much credit.
Additionally, there were some small cameos that did little to add to the film. Malcolm McDowell's Dr. Loomis is wandering around doing a book tour and only comes to Haddonfield in the last 5 minutes of the film. The only bright spots were Danielle Harris and the incomparable Brad Dourif... but neither of them could do much with the shit they were given.
Overlooking the glaringly awful story and nepotism that gave Sherri Zombie another shot at movie money -- the actual horror was minimal at best. Instead of giving a moody, dark, horror film (which Rob has shown he can do)... we're left with a movie that assaults the senses with violence that has little to no value in the overall story. And - in contrast to the puerile story and writing - this is the only area in which Zombie excels. I've said before that Rob has a way of filming death that makes it seem real and visceral, and that's still true. There is a brutality and veracity to the murders that Zombie captures, and it makes this a movie not for the squeamish. For gore-hounds like Doctor Z, though, it's like mana from heaven. Too bad it doesn't redeem the other inadequacies. When you look at the excellent carnage when compared to the myriad other deficencies,it's just not enough. You are left with brutal scenes that I would normally love, if I weren't so angry about the poor story and acting.
On another positive note, kudos to the Foley artists. They more than earned their pay. Every kills sounded awesome -- if only it wasn't the same thing over and over again. Namely, Michael standing over the victim and stabbing them repeatedly off screen.
What other travesties does this film deliver? Oh, where to begin...
How about the fact that Michael Meyers spends most of the movie without his mask on. Or that he makes sound everytime he kills someone. We here him grunting and growling as he viciously stabs the 15 or 20 people he randomly kills. So much for the mythology, Rob. Way to go.
I am so disappointed with this movie, and on so many levels.
The sad thing is that Rob's first pass at the Halloween franchise was a better film than this... and that movie was mediocre at best.
As I told a friend earlier - watching this movie was like spending two hours having my brain stem and the ancillary reasoning centers of my brain assaulted over and over with a shit covered stick. How can someone - who is such a fan of horror and all associated spookiness - get it so wrong? I don't know which is worse... that Rob felt it was necessary to expose us once again to the sing-songy awfulness that is his wife, or that he's so sullied the legacy of what is arguably the greatest horror movie series of all time.
If I were John Carpenter, I'd sue Rob Zombie for gross negligence, total lack of respect, and general jackassery.
DOCTOR ZOMBIE'S RATING: 1 out of 5 Chomped Brains