Michael Myers has returned, again! But this time it’s personal. Halloween II is the brainchild of Rob Zombie who directed the remake of the 1978 John Carpenter original.
However, in this, the first sequel of the rebooted slasher series, Zombie has been able to splash his creative wisdom all over the celluloid with somewhat successful results. Unfortunately, in some parts, the phrase somewhat successful seems even more appropriate.
By now, we all know that having Sheri Moon in a Rob Zombie film is a given, but her role here is perhaps slightly too implausible for even the most hardened fans to appreciate, playing what seems like a schizophrenic Michael’s dead mother. Unfortunately, the idea, whilst being excellent at the pre-production stages of the movie, is badly executed on screen and what we’re left with, is a mess of a storyline that doesn’t ever know which way it is going; supernatural thriller one-minute and slasher flick the next.
Regrettably, Zombie has made some horrific choices concerning Michael’s character. Of course we have to give him credit for taking on a Halloween sequel without any prior experience. The inexperience shows in Michael, who has been turned into a Jason Voorhees rip off; grunting as he kills and not using the typical kitchen knife as the primary weapon. Here, Zombie also decides to remove Michael’s iconic mask, which should in theory become an iconic cinema moment; unfortunately it does not and is forgotten in a mass of blood and gore.
Negativity aside, the story is pretty much the same as last time around, though Zombie has focused in on Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor Compton) and the way her character changes from the events of Halloween night. As with giving the characters a back-story in the 2007 Halloween, this storyline change really does work and gives the film something which isn’t usually necessary for the horror genre; depth.
The acting is surprisingly superb; Compton is much better this time around and really brings a whole new grungy side to her character and most of the other returning characters are given much more room to grown and develop, probably due to the film’s long running time. On the other hand, Malcolm McDowell’s portrayal of the iconic Sam Loomis has been shoddily remastered into a greedy, fame-obsessed man whose objectives are simply to make as much money as possible. This doesn’t suit the role and leaves the usually excellent McDowell wanting.
Overall, Halloween II is a decent stab at recreating the old franchise; Zombie has made it work on so many levels and it certainly moves the game on. Unfortunately, he has tried to pack too many elements into the film and the pay off for that is a messy looking cinema encounter. Enjoyable as a film, yes, but the jury is still out on whether this deserves a spot on the Halloween collector’s shelf.