Halloween II (2009)

Halloween II (2009)
Very bad

With his Halloween II, Rob Zombie has effectively transformed himself into the Michael Bay of horror. I know people think that the mainstream 90s slashers were shallow and plastic, but at least they had some wit, and once in a while some creative thinking had gone into them. I don’t think that there was one scene in this movie that didn’t include at least one bafflingly old and predictable cliché. This movie is flipping mirrors, chasing red herrings, muting the soundtrack at sad moments, leaves the girls alone in the house, uses characters who repeatedly say “I’ll be right back” and has got the most tedious and boring chase sequence ever, going on for something like 20 minutes – only for it to turn out to be, yep, a dream sequence! It’s like a perfected cliché feast. The tiniest little coincidence in a suspense situation, or unlucky turn in the plot, is strangely convenient, when the screenplay simply isn’t ignoring the lack of coherence (this is a movie where a car driving down a highway will crash into a cow as if it’s a brick wall). When people are not getting killed they are talking “cliche filler chow”. It could be an anecdote. Could be a joke. Doesn’t really matter.

Apparently, this sequel to his superior – and still very bad – 2007 remake takes place two years after that one. That would make it 1980, but in here that’s just four numbers that the movie forgets about instantly. Everything, from the clothes, to the post-ironic dialog, to the excessive costume parties to the mobile indoor phones (right!) feels more 2009 than 2009. But our kids can’t use cell phones when Michael Myers shows up, now can they? Once again, convenient.

Ah yes, Michael Myers has returned. From where I don’t know. With the exception of walking around talking to the ghost of his dead mother and a white horse (…..utter, baffled silence……) he’s basically the same, save for some aggression problems. I always thought that it was a stupid idea to try to tell the back story of this character, in an attempt (at least seemingly) to make him more human. First of all it’s sacrilegious to the point of the character, and second it doesn’t do anything for how we look at Michael Myers. This time around it’s even more confusing. He’s taking orders from a ghost! So what’s so real about him? He still awakens from the dead and can’t be stopped! The only real difference from this and any other Halloween entry is the ugliness of his killing spree. By now, any horror devotee knows about the gore galore, it’s as if the violence has been directed by an autistic person. Michael starts the movie out by cutting off a head. Then we get him stabbing a poor nurse for something like a minute. He’s very angry! Now, you may wonder, what has this got to do with John Carpenter’s original creation? How many stabs did it take for him originally, just to nail a guy to the wall? Right. One. I don’t even feel comfortable calling him Michael Myers here. As a kid, he looks like one of the members of the 90′s kiddie pop trio Hanson. And fifteen years later he looks like a member of Slipknot. All this makes demographic sense, of course, but this is not Michael Myers. It’s Marilyn Hanson.

Marilyn Hanson is in this movie chasing Laurie Strode. No, that’s not it either. He’s chasing Avril Lavigne. And, well, Laurie/Avril deserves to die. No, sorry, I didn’t mean to say that, she’s just a troubled emo teen. It’s not her fault nothing she says makes any sense, and I guess a kinder soul would feel sympathy towards her egomaniac lack of perspective to herself or the world. I wished that her psychiatrist (played, oddly enough, by Margot Kidder) would just smack her up. This is a kid who points at a Rorscharq test and wonders whatever that could be. I guess they are the target audience for this movie. That’s just disturbing. Malcolm McDowell seems to be thinking the same thing in his inexplicable portrait of a Dr. Loomis gone sellout deluxe a-hole, cashing in with crap books on the famous events. He is enjoyable enough, he’s doing this “Sean Connery in Highlander II” thing as I like to call it, but it is only because you realise that he also knows what a pointless piece of crap movie he’s in.

As I hinted at earlier, the original Halloween was far away from Rob Zombie’s idea of horror. It was built on tension, suspense and psychology. Not blood, guts and random shiny, white horses. I love horror films but I don’t believe in gore as an ideal. There was a time when gore filled horror films were both needed and understandable. Some of the greatest exploitation horror movies from the 70′s and 80′s had both chock and schlock value, and at times they even made sense out of the violence. Rob Zombie himself even did similar tricks in The Devils Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses. But, in general, this trick is old by now, and Zombie’s strange obsession with lackluster gore and excessive sadistic violence will not help a franchise that already boiled a girl alive, almost thirty years ago in another movie that is already called Halloween II.

16/4 2010