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Halloween II (2009)
Movie Review by The Insane Old One

Halloween II (2009) You know kiddies, I often ask myself why I keep watching "re-imaginings", as much as I typically don't like them. I guess it's that horror-fan philosophy that you have to watch a lot of crap for those rare diamonds that sometimes filter through. I am not a fan of remakes...but I do run across one occasionally that takes me down a new path or makes me think of old faves in a way that I didn't before...and I'm thankful for those bright spots.

Rob Zombie's "Halloween 2" took me down an unfamiliar path all right, but instead of finding new thoughts or wrinkles, I instead wound up lost and disappointed.

That said, I realize that there's a whole new generation of horror fans that DIDN'T grow up watching what I consider classics, and for that reason they see these "imaginings" with fresh eyes and minds grown in a different time...so I'm going to try to give my opinion of this film bearing those facts in mind, and be objective and honest.

No promises except for the honesty, though.

Trying to maintain my policy of staying spoiler-free, I can only say that I neither felt I knew (since these are time-honored roles) nor cared about any character in this film other than Annie Brackett, her father the sheriff, and the father of Lynda at a book-signing scene. Everyone else depicted was rather loathsome, morally-decrepit, and just plain sickening. Sure, there was the occasional 'voice-of-reason' amidst the entropic nihilism, but overall every person is a deplorable example of humanity, at least the way my old, old-fashioned senses like to think it is.

The most glaring thing that put me off this little film was that the characters were so TOTALLY different than we are used to; certainly, in any remake, there will be updates and tweaks to draw a new audience, but must it be done in such a fashion as to alienate fans of the series?

Be advised, the following COULD give some things away...impossible to review this without pointing some things out:

Would it have been wrong to have a real hero in this film? Are the original concepts of Dr. Loomis and Laurie Strode so outdated as it's important for us to see them as respectively a greedy, morally-ambiguous opportunist or a prescription drug addled, foul-mouthed, semi-goth burnout?

Maybe so. The possibility exists that I just don't get it.

I can understand the illustration of how her experiences might have royally screwed Laurie up psychologically...I can take that. I can see the realism depicted in Loomis...but sometimes, I think what a lot of us like in a horror film is to see good actually standing up to evil...at least in the "Halloween" mythology. I've read the theory that this whole film is merely a psychotic delusion of Laurie as she sits institutionalized after her experience...that would explain much, although this is never really clear...it would at least give us a reason as to how Michael took a magnum round to the face from a foot away at the end of Zombie's first "Halloween" and survived...but overall the depiction, whether this theory is true or not, is confusing on the screen.

Perhaps Zombie wants to show the world as full of amoral, misanthropic, low-life rednecks who can't see beyond the end of their noses, and have only the f-bomb and a short assortment of nouns in their vocabularies...maybe he is trying to get us to recognize this; that the REAL horror is US...but for me, give me SOME light in the darkness, even if it loses in the end. For me to have found some merit in his original crack at the "Halloween" story, Rob has really left me scratching my head over this defeatist and hopeless flick.

As for the film itself, taking out the thematic elements, it was well done. The cinematography was excellent, the imagery and editing was otherworldly and fearsome in it's presentation, and the acting, for the material they had to work with, was very good. Brad Dourif was emotional and excellent, Malcolm MacDowell was his usual pristine self, and Danielle Harris was wonderful. It was also good to see some old favorites on the screen again...Margot Kidder and Caroline Williams, albeit in small parts, as well as a plethora of familiar character actors. The special effects were brutal and raw, and hat's off to the artists who created them.

I can't really say I didn't like the movie; it had all of the things that I've mentioned that to me make a good film; I guess since it treads so heavily on a mythos I'm a huge fan of, I'm just not willing to buy into the bleak view it reflects as to how times have changed.

Had this been a stand-alone, original film, I'm sure I would have thought more highly of it; but riding the coattails of what is horror-movie legend, this revisionist take just left me feeling depressed.

Enjoy the night, children!

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