Monday, October 21, 2013

Film Review: HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2002, Rick Rosenthal)


Stars: 1 of 5.
Running Time: 94 minutes.
Notable Cast and Crew: Jamie Lee Curtis (HALLOWEEN, PERFECT, PROM NIGHT, TERROR TRAIN), Busta Rhymes (SHAFT '00, NARC), Tyra Banks (THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, COYOTE UGLY), Ryan Merriman (FINAL DESTINATION 3, THE RING TWO), Sean Patrick Thomas (THE FOUNTAIN, CRUEL INTENTIONS), Bianca Kajlich (10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, BRING IT ON), and Brad Loree (X2, THE X-FILES). Archival footage of Donald Pleasence. Based on characters by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Screenplay by Larry Brand (BACKFIRE, OVEREXPOSED) and Sean Hood (the new CONAN THE BARBARIAN, CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE). Directed by Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II).
Tag-line: "The night HE came back!"
Best one-liner: "Trick or treat, motherfucker!" or maybe it's the poetry of "Let the dangertainment begin.... up in this motherfucker." Or perhaps "You want some of this? Huh? You want to try and fucking kill me? Huh? You like sushi, motherfucker?!"

Oh, goodness gracious me.  Hoo boy, and the whole kit and kaboodle. Talk about Poor Man's Carpy–  HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION is a pile of hilarious post-SCREAM trash, bundled in embarrassment, smothered in cliché, and repackaged for the era of reality TV.  In comparison, this thing almost makes HALLOWEEN: H20 look like HALLOWEEN.  Hell, even the poster feels the weight of this shame and would rather fool you into thinking you're looking at Ghostface instead of the tattered legacy of Michael Myers.  

The plot involves a company called "Dangertainment" that's working on a Haddonfield reality series when Michael Myers himself crashes their party.  Subsequent attempts at SCREAM-style self-awareness are cringeworthy. The less said the better, so I'll keep it brief:  here are three things that I absolutely never could have conceived of happening in a HALLOWEEN flick:

#1.  Jamie Lee Curtis re-imagined as Sarah Connor in TERMINATOR 2.
They don't even try to disguise it– she's a stringy-haired, crazy-eyed badass mental patient who warns her captors in vain about an unstoppable killing machine (she's defeated before) who may now be on the prowl again.  Michael Myers, predictably, shows up to kill her and Laurie Strode is given a rather ignominious send-off before the movie even begins.
I realize it's a hackneyed "badass" one-liner, but why would Laurie Strode think she's going to hell?


Well... she gave it her best shot.  And, dammit, if anyone deserves $3 million for an extended cameo, it's Jamie Lee Curtis!

#2.  This one is so bizarre, it defies easy description.  What we have here is Michael Myers stabbing one of his victims with a sharpened tripod, a clear homage to one of the great-grandaddies of the slasher movie, Michael Powell's PEEPING TOM.
1960's PEEPING TOM.

 
2002's HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION.

Anyway, this in and of itself wouldn't necessarily be worthy of mention,  but here it's only a crosscut backdrop to another, inexplicable scene:  that of Tyra Banks making a whipped cream latte and 
rocking out with a spazzified solo dance like in that SAVED BY THE BELL episode where Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkeley) gets addicted to caffeine pills and performs "I'm So Excited."  In short, while it sure as hell doesn't belong in a HALLOWEEN movie, it's certainly deserving of a slow clap.

#3.  In the original HALLOWEEN (which J.D. over at Radiator Heaven recently did an excellent write-up on), there's a brilliant Donald Pleasence monologue which attempts to tackle the true nature of Michael Myers in just a few brief, ominous lines:
"I met him, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes.  ...I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil."
In HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION, Busta Rhymes is tasked with transcending Donald Pleasence's assessment, and while the monologue he's been given is certainly more succinct, I think we all must admit that it doesn't exude the proper... atmosphere.

So, apparently Doctor Loomis spent eight years trying to reach Michael, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because he realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... a killer shark in baggy-ass overalls.

And that's about all there is to say about that, ladies and gentlemen!

–Sean Gill

4 comments:

Mike B. said...

Thanks for giving this one the lack of respect that it deserves. I wish I had some fun jokes or good riffs to add to this, but I'm just gonna have to go standard-angry-movie-fan comment style on this one. For all of "H20's" faults, I at least still have to respect the IDEA of what they were trying to do, i.e., getting back to the "roots," pretending the other sequels didn't happen, etc. It was no classic, nor even an almost-great reprisal such as "New Nightmare," but despite the cloying Kevin Williamson- and Josh Hartnett-driven late 90's-ness of it all, it wasn't ALL that bad. "Halloween Resurrection," however, WAS that bad. It's hard to figure out who to blame though, as all parties here basically do what they can with the material they've been given, and I'll give Rick Rosenthal a pass since "Halloween 2," while no great shakes, was essentially still better than 98% of all 80's slasher movies. The person at fault has to be whomever initially came up with the idea for this crapola. Whoever walked into Moustapha Akkad's office and said, "So, you know how we made some slight, incremental progress towards restoring the Halloween franchise to some semblance of respectability last time out? I've got a great plan: Let's throw all of that right out the window, and just make the most perfectly cliched, couldn't be more '2002' if it tried, dated literally moments after release, straight-to-DVD quality, third-rate slasher nonsense instead." To which Akkad must have said, "But that sounds awful!" "But wait," continues the pitchman, "We'll also give Jamie Lee Curtis perhaps the most ignominious send-off in cinematic history! And we'll get Busta Rhymes! And one of the kids from American Pie! Did I mention how painfully dated and crappy this film is going to appear to people even moments after they sit down in the theater?" Ahh, I can't even keep up this bit anymore. Let me just say that this is easily THE most depressing of the Halloween series, and hell, maybe even the whole genre. Here's the worst thing I can say about it: I've probably seen Halloweens 4 and 5 a good dozen times each, and those basically stink on ice. I've seen Resurrection exactly once. I still don't understand how something with the Halloween name on it came out this bad. I mean, I can hardly go a day without humming the Silver Shamrock theme at least once, but I've never even THOUGHT about giving this one a second chance. For taking the time to review it, you're a better man than me!

Sean Gill said...

Mike,

Agreed on H20- it ain't great, but it's still fairly enjoyable; and you nail all the points about RESURRECTION that make it so depressing.

And yeah, the poor quality of HALLOWEEN 4 & 5 is NOTHING like this– at least there, we have Donald Pleasence and 80s charm and that inappropriate circus music that follows the zany cops around. Here, we've got what?– this Tyra Banks spazzy solo dance? Hoo boy.

AnonyMike said...

I take your Halloween Resurrection and raise you Hellraiser Hellworld, their attempt at going all self-referential, post-Scream, meta trash.

The only difference was it was made for about $10 in Eastern Europe and written on the plane flight over. So I guarantee it's even worse.

Unfortunately for Hellraiser, that franchise never received the lifeline that Halloween did for a big budget attempt at a return to form, it just got cheaper and more dreadful with each passing film (though 5 was alright actually). By the time they tried to be all clever and self-referential by combining a poor man's Scream with the meta stylings of Wes Craven's New Nightmare (in fact how does one define these sequels that actually acknowledge the predecessors in the series as fictional films in their own universe? Eg. New Nightmare, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, Human Centipede 2, Hellraiser Hellworld - there must be a handy phrase for that?) there wasn't any money or talent there to make any kind of attempt at a proper film. It's cheap and nasty and you can see the pennies drying up with each passing scene.

How a very young Henry Cavill managed to have a career thereafter is nothing short of a miracle.

Sean Gill said...

AnonyMike,

Thanks for stopping by– I've never seen HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD, and it certainly sounds like that's for the best. I don't know who we blame exactly for this whole metafiction "films exist in their own universe" horror sub-sub genre. I'd say NEW NIGHTMARE popularized it, but Fulci's CAT IN THE BRAIN is exploring similar territory a few years prior.