Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2008-10-28 23:27

Written by: Larry Brand and Sean Hood
Directed by: Rick Rosenthal
Produced by: Moustapha Akkad

Reviewed by: Brett G.

"Michael Myers is a killer shark in baggy ass overalls who gets his kicks from killing
everyone and everything he comes across."

Of all the long-running slasher franchises, the Halloween series has taken the more bizarre twists and turns in terms of continuity. Michael Myers’s exploits began with Carpenter’s slasher opus, Halloween in 1978 and continued his carnage in 1981’s worthy follow-up, Halloween II. Myers then disappeared for 7 years before returning in 1988’s Halloween 4, which launched a new story arc that concluded in 1995’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. After this, the series was very much in danger of going direct-to-video before Jamie Lee Curtis decided she needed a hit and “rescued” the franchise from this fate in Halloween H20, a film that opted to ignore the previous three films and served as a direct sequel to Halloween II. Despite that film’s major flaws, H20 seemed to wrap up the series and the character of Michael Myers quite nicely, until the film went on to make a huge profit at the box office. Thus, Halloween 8 was inevitable, eventually landing in theaters in 2002, five years after H20’s release.

Originally dubbed Halloween: Homecoming, Resurrection picks up after the events of H20, which means the storyline established in Halloween 4-6 continues to be ignored. The film doesn’t take long before it rewrites history again when we learn that not everything was quite as it seemed at the end of H20. Remember when Laurie chopped off Michael’s head to put him down for good? Not so fast. As it turns out, that wasn’t Michael at all; instead, The Shape managed to switch clothes with a paramedic and crushed his larynx, meaning Laurie killed the wrong guy (nevermind how stupid the end of H20 seems now with this knowledge--the dude couldn't just pull off the mask?). Anyway, Laurie has been committed to a sanitarium for the last few years, where she has been waiting for her brother to return to finish what he started 25 years ago. Sure enough, Michael shows up for a climactic confrontation with his sister that represents the film’s apex…and it only comes about fifteen minutes in. Uh oh.

After that bit of business is resolved, the film shifts to its main storyline, which involves a group of college students investigating the Myers house under the supervision of Busta Rhymes, who is broadcasting the investigation on the internet. Yep, you read that correctly, and you know where the film goes from here: Michael doesn’t take kindly to all the loitering and breaking and entering and systematically picks off the kids. It’s not terribly deep, but there is a sub-plot that develops that attempts to give a method to Michael’s madness, and let’s just say it doesn’t involve Celtic rituals and Thorn cults. Rob Zombie obviously dug the idea presented here though, and lifted it for his remake. At this point in the series, it’s all about seeing Myers off kids, though, and that’s clearly the focus, and the series is at its most generic here as a result.

Basically, this means you’re getting exactly what you expect from an eighth entry in a slasher series. The kids are pretty much forgettable, and the main heroine Sara is the least interesting protagonist in the series. The deaths themselves are okay, with one involving a knife to the skull that’s particularly brutal. There’s also various stabbings, impalements, and even a decapitation. Stylistically, the film is nothing special, which is a surprise coming from Rick Rosenthal, who (allegedly) helmed Halloween 2. Clearly attempting to capitalize on the success of reality television and The Blair Witch Project, the film often switches to DV cam footage to simulate the internet broadcast within the film. While it’s interesting at first, it grows tiresome quickly, and doesn’t do anything to salvage a film that’s generically shot in the first place. If anything, this film might be further evidence that John Carpenter was in fact the force that made Halloween 2 work so effectively.

The film also features some of the lowest moments in the entire series. Some might cite Michael’s crying in Halloween 5, but Resurrection features at least three moments that are far more cringe worthy in my eyes, and two of them feature Busta Rhymes, who otherwise does a decent job. I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Busta, but his character is serviceable up until these two scenes, which involve Busta cursing out Michael and using karate on him. The film does get a couple of things right, however. For example, Brad Loree’s Myers is among the best in the series, and he gets a lot of great moments to show off. In many ways, Michael is at his peak as an anti-hero here, as the previous entries at least had one good protagonist with which a viewer could side. Also, Danny Lux’s score is very effective and features an interesting arrangement of the classic Halloween theme. Also, the opening sequence is one of the better sequences in the entire franchise—it’s just too bad the film couldn’t keep its momentum from there.

Incidentally, with the advent Zombie’s aforementioned remake, Halloween Resurrection serves as the conclusion to the formal Halloween series. While the film as a whole is a pretty poor way for the original Michael Myers to go out, the film’s last shot is an appropriate way to bid farewell to the character, as it harks back to the conclusion of the original film in some ways. If I had to place it in the series, I’d rank it above H20, and it feels more like a Halloween film than the remake. If you’re going to seek this one out (and you should for completion’s sake), the DVD is packed with special features. There’s a director’s commentary, deleted and alternate scenes, and a host of other featurettes. There’s also a feature that allows you to watch the film from the “web-cam” perspective, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to. The presentation is adequate enough, but the soundtrack is a bit unnecessarily loud because, as one of my pals puts it, “loud” is the equivalent of “scary” these days. If you’re looking for a decent way to kill some time, this one represents one of the few big-budget Hollywood slashers that has been released in recent years. It’s certainly mediocre, but it's not a bad way to spend an evening. Rent it!

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