Sunday, September 6, 2009

Halloween 2 (2009)

Fear 1/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 1/5
Creepiness 0/5

I’m rooting for Rob Zombie. I really am. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews of his films, he seems like a good guy. But his band was terrible and his films have been, so far, really poorly written and executed. That is, until his “reboot” of the Halloween franchise which was surprisingly not-sucky. “Good” would be stretching it, but I’m not afraid to say I dug it. So I approached Halloween 2 with some hesitation, but a little bit of hope as well. In fact, shortly before heading over to the theater, my lovely wife and I read a review that made the film sound like his best yet. Something along the line of how House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects were awful and that Halloween was a substantial improvement. He then went on in great detail explaining all the little things that made this such a good horror film – it was described as “dark” and “disturbing” and something that would appeal to hardcore horror fans as opposed to general slasher film fans. "Sign me up" I said.

It started well. The first 15 / 20 minutes are pretty awesome. . . predictable, maybe, but tense and filled with jolts (not quite ‘scares’), creepy images and some really violent killing scenes – not the kind you watch and laugh or cheer at, but mean, brutal and nasty death scenes. Here Zombie succeeded in capturing that gritty, grimy early 70’s feel that he’s been striving for since House of 1,000 Corpses.

Ah, but guess what? This entire sequence, all 20 minutes is just a dream. That’s right – it was all just a dream. From this point on, the film takes a nosedive, devolving back into the kind of filmmaking that Zombie is comfortable with: slow-mo shots galore, flashy 90’s video-shoot strobe imagery and dopey, inane and just plain lame dialogue. And while the level of violence is high, the gore is top-notch and there are a number of jolting scenes (again, not scary – you’re just surprised) – it’s all much too cartoony and ridiculous. At one point, Michael Myers flips a car over with his bare hands. I mean, come on, he’s a slasher, not one of the X-Men. . . which I suppose he is since he's played by Tyler Mane.

The characters, unlikable and annoying as they are, also difficult to swallow – especially if you are a 38 year old punk rocker who is, admittedly, a bit of a music snob. The Laurie Strode character sports a Government Issue shirt, hangs out in coffee shops that crank out MC5 and Motorhead tunes, lives in a house plastered with Kiss and Alice Cooper posters – agh, it’s too much. And what year is it supposed to be anyway?

Maybe to mainstream, middle America, this is just background that further illustrates how “damaged” she is, but I just find it distracting and stupid. At one point, a farmer decked out in flannel shirt and everything else you’d expect comes driving along the road and rescues Laurie. In his car, roaring out of his speakers is legendary DC hardcore legends Void. Fucking Void for Christ’s sake! I want to know where these girls were when I was their age? In my day, members of that subculture were almost exclusively male, and the few girls in the scene were most definitely not these air-heady cheerleader types, slumming it in Black Flag shirts. They were rockin' Whitesnake and Crue shirts at best. Maybe things were different for Rob Zombie.

Now get off my lawn you rotten kids!

Then there is this confusing, muddled psychological thread that weaves its way through the entire movie where Myers’ mother, played by the always wooden Sherri Moon Zombie, is portrayed as a glowing white queen with an enormous white horse – think Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings. It’s supposed to symbolize some sort of psychological mumbo jumbo. It’s pointlessly “artistic” in a film that’s about a maniac that hunts teenage girls with a big-ass knife. Unnecessary.

Overall, a disappointment that only gets worse as the film moves forward, building to an insipid and uninspired end. Blech, I should have listened to my gut on this one.

- Complaint Dept

1 comment:

Lily Strange said...

I haven't seen it yet. It sounds just peculiar enough that I might find something to like about it. I actually like Rob Zombie as a musician. I couldn't find much to get into with his films, though.