Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween II (2009)

Well, here we are, with the final film of the whole Halloweenfranchise, which seems like it ended it with this one movie.  Yes, Halloween II, the sequel that Rob Zombie said he would never do after working on the reboot a scant two years before, brought him back to put more of his style into it, a style that not too many fans enjoyed.

Though you may read my piece on the 2007 remake and come away thinking I had hated it, you’d be wrong because I thought it was quite good.  However, I felt it was unneeded and just a way for Dimension—as well as all involved—to make money.  To really impress me, and most of the fans, they’d have to do what was done in 1998 and make a sequel to what was done prior.  Although they had cheated and ignored a few sequels that had been made, at least the continuity was kept in place and we were given an original story with a poignant theme.  But Dimension had shot themselves in the foot by giving the green light to the following sequel, 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, which gave them no choice but to reboot the whole thing. 

So after the mildly successful reboot, the logical thing to do was to get a sequel on the fast track.  But what would they call it?  They weren’t just going to give it the same name as the original’s sequel, were they?  That’d be too confusing when looking up these titles.  On top of that, who was going to direct it?  Zombie said he was burnt out and definitely wasn’t going to return for a sequel.  In fact, he announced a project that he was working on that would take precedence over anything else.  He even indicated that he’s an artist, implying that working on a sequel was beneath him.

Not too long after that, guess who was back in the director’s chair to take on the sequel?  That’s right…Rob Zombie.  And guess what title they gave the sequel?  Yes…Halloween II.  Wow…these guys are such visionaries.

Well, Zombie tried to save face by letting everyone know he was going to make this sequel his own, that he wasn’t tied into making a remake of the original part two, but to make his own part two.  So that was sort of promising.  Scout Taylor-Compton and Malcolm MacDowell were both set to reprise their roles, as well as a few other actors, so it looked like we might be getting something special.

Anyway, before I get much further, let me give you the synopsis of Halloween II.

The film opens shortly after Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) shoots Michael Myers (Tyler
Mane).  The story progresses a year with Laurie going through therapy to deal with what happened, whereas Dr. Loomis (Malcolm MacDowell) is using the tragedy to sell another book.  Meanwhile, Michael is seeing visions of his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) as he makes his way to find Laurie.

The whole story is convoluted and has a lot more to it than that, but for the sake of shortening the breakdown and not giving too much away, I gave just the least amount of details possible.  For one, the whole beginning of the film will piss some of you off for reasons I can’t give without spoiling it.  Also, I don’t want to give away how certain aspects came to be.

So, where do I start?

Let’s talk about the character of Laurie and how her personality has developed since we’d seen her in the 2007 film.  Of course, it’s understandable that she went through a lot of grief as she lost her parents and some of her friends because of a deranged killer and it doesn’t help much that she had to fight for her life on top of all that.  But Rob Zombie wrote and directed her character to be such an ugly and detestable person, she comes across as someone you really can’t care about as the movie goes along.  Even as shallow as she becomes throughout the story, she’s given hateful friends as well.  I’m thinking that we’re supposed to see her as a person who is losing her sanity, but it just doesn’t seem that way.  One of the biggest problems I’d seen in this film, for instance, is when she finds out some information that makes her very upset to the point where she’s violently sobbing.  What does she do?  She goes with her friends to a big Halloween costume party and is suddenly giddy and partying.  I don’t know…overall, I just don’t find myself caring about her character.

Thankfully, the movie is grounded by her friend, Annie (Danielle Harris), and Annie’s father, Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif).  But their performances aren’t enough to save this film.

I do like the travelling Michael Myers, getting back to finding Laurie, as he grew a beard and has become more feral and living off the land.  But, I always question this…where was he travelling from?  When he’s being taken away from Haddonfield, the ambulance didn’t get far before he stopped it.  Laurie moved in with the Bracketts not far from town, seemingly on the outskirts.  Why is Zombie making it look like Michael has been walking for miles and miles, as if he’s been travelling across country?  Although it’s pretty cool, it just doesn’t make sense in the scheme of things.
Malcolm MacDowell as Loomis is wasted in this film.  All we see is Loomis acting like a dick, only hungry for the fame and money, not caring about anything else.  Although it may have been believable to make him have a change of heart later in the film, the story takes too much time showing what he’s doing which has no bearing on the story.

Finally, the one thing that really pissed off fans was the concept of having Michael see the ghost of his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie).  I thought it was done well at first, thinking it was a nice original touch by Zombie to include this facet in the movie, but after a while it became tiring.  At the climax, however, the appearance of the apparition was a bit confusing.  Was she just a figment of Michael’s imagination?  Was she a real ghost?  This part of the film has its pros and cons, I guess.

Zombie was right when he said he was going to make this his own, as the formula went away from a masked man stalking the town of Haddonfield.  Instead, he focused on the turmoil Laurie is going through, adding a bit more to send her over the edge until she finally does.  As a whole, this film is not about a disturbing killer, wanting to continue his murderous ways, but about what happens to Laurie psyche.

Well…my final “bit” on Halloween II?

Rob Zombie gives us a logical sequel to his 2007 remake, but injects a lot of his ugliness he tends to put into his films.  Instead of a place where we can connect and associate with, he gives us nightmarish backgrounds and spiteful themes.  These themes work in his original films, but seeing that this is still a remake of the original series, I think he should’ve made it a bit more mainstream so that it would be accepted by a broader audience.  All in all, the film missed the mark, but it still made money…that’s all that matters to the studio and producers, right?  And speaking of the film being a success…where’s part three?  It’s been five years now and no confirmed sequel?  Come on, Dimension…or Weinsteins…or Akkad…let’s get it together!

Thanks for reading and have a Happy Halloween!

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Well, this is—more than likely—the last “bit” you’ll read on here.  It’s been fun, writing these reviews of films old and new, and I hope it helped anyone out there who’s never seen them.  The writing and editing of this blog really took up a lot of my time, sometimes even taking up some from work—which was a risky habit in which I had partook.  I’ll still be posting news and short reviews on my Twitter page, so keep an eye out for those tweets.  For the few of you who’ve checked out my blog and the scarce amount of you who’ve even added a comment here and there, thank you for your patronage and readership.  Cinema Bits may evolve into a podcast sometime in the near future, and perhaps you’ll still see a review pop up now and again right here, but for now I’m just going to enjoy watching movies without taking notes or remembering certain scenes and themes to write down into a review shortly thereafter.

Thank you and keep on watching those movies!

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