As Bad As You Thought?: Halloween Resurrection
As I have previously discussed, in his purest form Michael Meyers is fear personified and easily one of the most frightening characters in the history of film, and unfortunately this week we will not be seeing that Michael Meyers. Instead the version we will be seeing is a shameless attempt to cash in on the resurgence in popularity that Teen Slashers experienced in the 1990’s thanks to movies like, Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. These films stuck to a nice formula much like their predecessors; cast popular teen idols from many times a music star or someone popular from a show on the WB, throw in an alternative rock soundtrack, and a bit of hipness and you have a 1990’s Teen Slasher flick congratulations. With this fad going in full force the caretakers of the Halloween franchise decided it was time to bring back the original teen stalker for a new generation. Dismissing the previous movies that followed Doctor Loomis and Jamie Llloyd and focused on the original Laurie Strode who had actually faked her death and was living under an assumed identity, and it was only a matter of time before her brother came looking for her in Halloween: H20 . The movie proved successful enough to warrant a sequel and thus Halloween Resurrection came to be; instead of the suspense and tension filled moments that made Halloween movies so much fun, it instead posed the question; what would you do if you were on a reality show being stalked by a serial killer? Personally I would throw a diva fit and storm off but no before collecting my appearance fee. Right as this beloved film series was regaining its footing with audiences this movie singlehandedly knocked it back down, and it would remain dormant until Rob Zombie came along (don’t worry, when the time is right his work on this franchise will be judged). Because I have already conquered one franchise destroyer, Batman & Robin, it is time to look at another in that category and ask if Halloween Resurrection is as bad as I thought.
The movie begins with the iconic theme, only this time with a funky bass beat to it, I guess so you can jam out while the atmosphere of suspense and dread is created. The cast rolls and I get to see names like; Busta Rhymes, and Tyra Banks, not exactly the scariest cast ever but what can you do? The camera then takes us through a mental hospital, while Jamie Lee Curtis waxes philosophically and oh crap not another one of those openings! In her room, Laurie Strode sits in a vegetative state with a nice window in her room, much better than the tree trunk and dirt I see out of my window. Two employees approach her room talking to each other and coincidentally helpfully recapping the previous movie for us, that’s nice. They discuss how it was not actually Michael Laurie killed in the previous movie, but a paramedic Meyers changed clothes with allowing him to escape, because nobody would notice the freakish looking EMT with a huge steak knife wandering off. After they leave we see that Laurie has been throwing out her meds and patiently waiting for her brother to come after her. Because combat with a sociopathic killer is best in a confined area where many others are put at risk.
On the grounds a security guard finds a broken gate and goes to investigate but someone is lurking behind him, but because I don’t hear no music i know he’s in no danger. And in fact his stalker is an escaped patient in the same clown mask young Michael wore in the original. The patient is named
Howard and apparently he’s obsessed with serial killers and frequently escapes, I feel safe about this mental hospital already. Down in the boiler room of the hospital two security guards go down to investigate strange goings ons and eat a Twinky from the vending machine, because an out of place vending machine in a dark damp creepy boiler room of a mental hospital is the perfect place to snack I guess. And would you believe it these two expendable security guards are actually killed by Michael!? The first one is decapitated and his head thrown into a dryer a la’ My Bloody Valentine, and upon this grizzly discovery Meyers lowers himself down from a pipe on the ceiling, (yeah you didn’t know he picked up some mad hide-n-seek skills from Dr. Loomis) and finishes off the other guard. Now with all two of the security personnel of the insane asylum out of the way (geez that explains the break out problem) Meyers makes his way to the hospital looking for his sister.
Lauries is waiting for him and gives chase, because security in this place is a joke, and gets to the roof where she goes for the climactic showdown. She springs a trap for the killer and rather than finishing him off while she has the chance, Laurie once again waxes philosophically, I don’t remember her character ever doing this before. Her newfound stupidity leads to her brother getting the better of her, and after a sweet (disturbing) kiss she goes falling to her death. Meyers then stalks through the dark corridors of the hospital releasing the serial killer obsessed guy from earlier and giving him a knife; he starts reciting Meyer’s wiki article (except for the whole Jamie Lloyd bit) as Mikey walks off. As far as dramatic climaxes go this was…..oh wait the final confrontation between the series’ main protagonist who has finally been broken after years of battle with a formidable adversary is not the gripping climax but instead the opening? It was just thrown in to put Jamie Lee Curtis’ name on the ad campaign? Why even put this part in to begin with if it has no relevance to anything? Oh crap, this can’t be good.
At Haddonfield University a psychology professor lectures about Freud’s theories to a bored class, well bored except for one girl named, Sarah, sitting all the way in the back, not where the students paying attention in classes normally sit but whatever. After class the gloomy Sarah meets up with her bubbly friend played by geek idol Katee Sackhoff, but before you get excited, no her character here is not even remotely as cool as Starbuck, sorry. Before I can wonder what a gloomy serious girl is doing being BFF’s with a bubbly attention whore, we are introduced to their other friend, a chef who they have to tell they have been accepted into something big. It is a reality show that Sarah seems none to excited about, (then why did she sign up for it?) for the show they will be spending a night in the haunted house that Michael Meyers grew up in, as a random guy who shows up in their dorm room informs us, seriously who just leaves their door open so random people can wander in at will?
It is revealed Sarah has an internet pal, who views himself as quite the chivalrous gentleman, I wonder if he’ll be important later on? At a hotel, the prospective cast members for this reality show meet with Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes who give them a tutorial on the internet show they’ll be participating in the following night and interviews them about it, and we get to meet the standard teen fodder for movie killers like; the alpha male, the attention whore, and my personal favorite, the geeky braniac who is actually gorgeous but because it’s Hollywood, she’s the Velma of the posse. Naturally bland, Sarah has exactly the qualities they are looking for which are….well I dunno aside from the fact that Busta Rhymes is smugly happy about her.
That night in their respective rooms Busta (if I may call him that, I’m not big on formal titles) is engrossed in his Kung Fu flick when Sarah knocks on his door looking to talk to him. Naturally, being the average ordinary girl she wants to drop out, but the renowned wisdom of the great Mr. Rhymes she is convinced to stay onboard. At her internet friend’s house he plans to go to a Halloween party but still watching the podcast. In the Meyers house the crew is rigging up the the cameras and fear traps, and I can’t help but wonder what happened to the nice suburban neighborhood the house was at in the first flick, did a haunted house where a murderer lived really cause property values to plummet that badly? Meyers shows up in the house and kills the camera guy, but nobody notices of course. Once the cast and crew shows up the nice neighborhood from the previous flicks miraculously reappears, which kind of ruins the creepiness of the dilapidated overgrown property from the previous scene. They set about exploring the dark….er brightly lit house where Meyers is lurking, no doubt as happy as a fat kid on Halloween, no more hunting for him, this new breed of victim actually comes to him!
Cyberfriend (yeah I don;t care if he has a name or not) and his buddy show up at their Halloween party dressed in Pulp Fiction, great now I’m reminded of another movie I’d rather be watching. At the party he sets up shop and proceeds to watch the events at the house unfold. Sackhoff and the guy who keeps hitting on her from American Pie, explore Judith Meyers’ old room as Michael watches from the crawl space, I wish he would hurry up and kill them already, but slow and steady wins the race and he’s happy to just cut the camera feed. Meyers finally claims American Pie guy as his first victim by coming through a mirror at him, which makes me wonder how Meyers went through a wall AND a mirror with little effort at the exact right moment to get the guy? Down in the basement Velma and the punk stoner of the group participate in the age old horror movie tradition of thinking they’re safe in a dangerous location and start having sex, I have a good feeling about their chances of survival in this flick. As they partake in coitus, the wall crumbles and prop body parts fall onto them scaring them and it would have scared the audience, if not for the fact that the camera immediately goes to Busta and Tyra who are yukking it up.
Meyers wanders around until he finds an actor dressed in a Michael costume who thinks he’s an actor and irritates the serial killer into leaving, instead of leaving he could have I dunno, stabbed the guy to death, I think he has a bit of practice in that field. Back in the basement, Velma is surprisingly sent to meet St. Peter or whoever has his job…in hell (thank you Captain Hammer). It’s surprising because the previous scene showed Michael leaving the house in disgust, being just as annoyed with these people as I am.
Elsewhere in the house Sackhoff and her pal. are busy partaking in another cliche, of doing drugs while
the protagonist does competent stuff. One of the elements of the 90’s slasher flicks was the fact that the movies knew that the audience knew the standard cliches of these kind of movies and poked fun at it, but Resurrection has thus far embraced the cliches like a long lost parent. They discover that Mr. Rhymes is creeping around dressed in a Meyer’s suit trying to scare people, and failing horribly at it, because he does not scare them as bad as the discovery of American Pie guy’s body…oh and the real Meyers who decapitates Katie Sackhoff. Now, after far too long of a run time we get to see Michael, doing what he does best. You know the guy is living the movie killer’s dream; obnoxious teens ripe for the killing show up at his house and may as well be wearing bullseyes on their shirts and he’s waited this long to star stabbing, maybe he was shocked in disbelief and their stupidity and actually wanted to give them a chance. When one of
his intended victims actually utters the phrase “you like sushi muther….” trying to be threatening, it’s rather hard to not feel sorry for them. After Sarah survives the attack and pleads to those watching to help them, the people watching at the Halloween party remark that she’s a talented performer, what movie are they watching? Her and cyberfriend begin communicating with each other trying to help her survive and are met with moderate success until she is rescued by Busta.
Meyers of course finds them and begins to tussle with Rhymes, but it becomes a one sided fight, because Mr. Rhymes knows the one weakness of a merciless and unstoppable murderer which is of course, Kung Fu he learned from movies! Man if Laurie had watched some Sonny Chiba flicks every now and again she’d still be alive. While Rhymes engages in combat with Mikey, Sarah jumps on him from behind and tries to choke him, this horror movie is starting to remind me of a Three Stooges bit. In the end of it all Meyers is sent flying out the second floor window to his “death”. The two survivors try to discreetly get out of the house (about time!) but Mikey pops up behind them and stabs Busta to death in his…shoulder? Young Sarah runs off and like a T-Rex who sees you move, Michael is right behind. She’s tries to fight him off with a randomly found chainsaw (seriously where did that thing come from?) but it’s the fire she accidentally sets that does the trick. Fortunately for her, Busta survived his tragic shoulder-knifing and takes her to safety.
Afterwards they are greeted by the press, I guess they’ve been there all along but didn’t bother calling the police or anything. A seriously pissed off Busta chastises them for treating the events and Michael like a hot topic to exploited for entertainment, you know the kind of stuff he’s been doing the entire movie, but he’s doing it for an internet crowd so it’s different. I get that the filmmakers are trying to show us that his character has changed after actually dealing with Michael and all, but we saw no sign of this change any where else in the entire movie, in fact he treated Meyers as a ploy for entertainment all the way up to his epic martial arts duel, and even when Meyer’s is wheeled out in a body bag, he feels the need to trash talk the murderer. The body is taken to the morgue where of course he is shown to still be alive, because he’s Michael Freakin Meyers and dignity alone will not allow him to die at the hands of Busta Rhymes and some generic teen girl.
Was this movie as bad as I thought? Unsurprisingly yes it was. Every franchise in horror history with few exceptions has taken that downward spiral in quality, but the Halloween franchise is unique because it’s done it so many time during it’s run, and this is just one of those low points for it. The series of protagonists Meyers has faced throughout his career is legendary in the horror genre; Laurie Strode, Jamie Lloyd, Dr. Loomis; and who does he face in this flick? Busta Rhymes and some girl named Sarah who has all the likability and charisma of a refrigerator; I know they say a hero is defined by the villains they face, but that does go the other way too, cool villains have to face formidable good guys to build a solid reputation. Overall the movie is incredibly bland with absolutely no surprises or scare we haven’t seen before, no cool character, no amazing kills, this movie is worse than bad, it’s completely forgettable.