Retrospective: Halloween: Resurrection

This should not have happened! However, it did, and viewers are left with the results. As a response to Halloween: H20’s (1998) reception (a hit financially, and better than normal with the critics) the “brain trust” just could not let Michael Myers die, despite the finality of H20’s ending. It’s hard to come back from a decapitation, but “when there is a will there is a way”; or better yet “when there is money involved, why the hell not?” The series godfather at this point, Mustapha Akkad, had a saying in relation to the continuing future of Michael Myers: “I’ll stop at number 22.” If the tragic events of his death had not occurred, then that could have very possibly been the case. Towards the end of 2005, Akkad and his daughter were the victims of a terrorist bombing, which cut both of their lives short. As it stands, Halloween: Resurrection (2002) is Akkad’s curtain call with the series, which is unfortunate because of… actually, there are many reasons for this.

Halloween: Resurrection. Dir. Rick Rosenthal.

The plot of this “thing” occurs three years after H20: Michael Myers kills his sister, finally finishing off a long game of “murder chase” that would make Wile. E Coyote blush. Meanwhile, an internet reality show, Dangertainment, plans to take advantage of Michael Myers’s fame by setting up a show where the participants stay one night in the old Myers place on Halloween night. The final girl in the movie, Sarah, is hesitant to do so. She has a somewhat romance with a guy on the internet named Deckard, whom she hasn’t met in person yet; he kind of agrees with her. Dangertainment, though, has other problems when another guest is set to arrive at the Myers house, and he’s familiar with it because he’s lived there.

It would be difficult to describe Halloween: Resurrection in one word. “Soulless” comes to mind, but “parody” isn’t that far off either. It is a film utterly devoid of substance, like the cinematic equivalent of eating pistachios, except when the shell is cracked there is no nut. It carries no sense of identity, and the only reason this movie exists is for financial gain, piggybacking off the success of Halloween: H20. Of course, many installments of the franchise were made with that intent; the difference is they at least tried to deliver a product that would satisfy fans. Often times, the tone of Resurrection is close to being a self-referential parody; if the decision-makers had gone full-tilt with that aspect they may have produced a film that actually worked. As the film stands, though, it’s just awful.

This all starts with the opening, which actively retcons the events at the end of Halloween: H20. Apparently, at some point, after Laurie had incapacitated her brother, a paramedic had entered the school grounds and somehow homed exactly to where Michael was lying supposedly unconscious. Of course, Michael was playing possum, and he stood up and choked the poor guy, taking away his ability to speak in the process. Then, Michael switched clothes with the paramedic, including putting his mask on him. From that point on, the Michael that Laurie thought she was taking the fight-to was actually the paramedic. This probably makes sense in some alternate universe, one where every person has the same type of mannerisms that Michael Myers does and even has the same eyes that Michael Myers does, the same body type, etc. Just don’t ask about why this person acted the way he did at the end of the film. Ahhh, this kind of stuff is bad for the brain.

She killed that guy.  Of course, it all makes sense now!

Truthfully, this idea was cooked up (coked up?) while shooting H20. Akkad kept a clause for writers/directors stipulating that Michael Myers could not be killed indefinitely. The only way Jamie Lee Curtis was allowed to have her ending, which provided closure for that interpretation of the character, was to come up with a work-around so that Michael could come back. The previous paragraph is what was thought up. It’s apparent that whoever this idea belonged to did not have his heart in it and was just trying to satisfy Akkad, which it did. Unfortunately for Curtis, there was a clause in her contract for H20 which required a return for Halloween 8 should there be one, though just in a limited capacity. As far as Curtis was concerned, she was satisfied with her H20 send-off, but she agreed to show up for its sequel anyway.

Her fate, and the retcon, are the focus of Resurrection’s first twenty minutes or so. Once Laurie finds out she killed the wrong guy, her mind snaps, and she’s locked up as a result in a catatonic state. This is all a ruse, though, as she is just waiting for Michael to return. She even hides her pills in a teddy bear she keeps close by her bed. Inevitably, years later, Michael does show up. However, she’s set a trap for him. In their final, final showdown Michael gets the upper hand by directly referencing the movements of the paramedic before Laurie chopped off his head. He stabs her in the back while they both hang from a roof cable off the side of the sanitarium. Laurie gives Michael a kiss goodbye and says, “I’ll see you in hell.” With that, Laurie Strode says her goodbyes to the second continuity (third or fourth depending on who is asked) of the Halloween series. It’s so contrived and fan fiction-y that any sort of analysis isn’t needed. The events speak for themselves.

Halloween: Resurrection. Dir. Rick Rosenthal.

It’s from there that the film’s set of teens get introduced. Resurrection continues the downward descent of the Halloween series’ set of murder fodder. Some say these characters were played by actual actors; it’s even been rumored that some have names. Recollection is kind of an issue here, so aside from Sarah they can be referred to as Generic Teen Horror Caricature #1, and so on. That’s not to say that Sarah is exempt from that description, she’s the same kind of character that has been populating this genre since Friday the 13th: Part 3’s (1982) Chris, and most likely even before that. These characters all have the same kind of role here. They each have an individual trait in an effort to make them stand out. One of them likes food…FOOD! Aside from that, they all spout out pop references, sex references, and lame jokes.

Who are these people?

Brad Loree as Michael, or metrosexual Myers as I prefer to call him in this (what is up with that mask?), follows previous interpretations in that he does nothing to stand out in the role. At risk of repeating previous reviews of the series, he’s just another killer in a mask running down a checklist of moments from the original Halloween (1978). There is one aspect that is probably unintentional and more of a personal anecdote.

It’s revealed partway through the movie that Dangertainment has set up the Myers house to make it look like it has been recently inhabited. I bring this up because there is a spice rack hanging in the kitchen that is loaded with spices. The guy who loves food, or “Food Guy”, as I like to call him, takes a sniff of a particular spice and realizes it’s still good to use. Then, a bit further on, it is shown that Michael actually has a dungeon area where he sleeps underneath the basement. In that dungeon there are quite a few half-eaten rats on the floor. I know the takeaway from all of this should be that Dangertainment planted the spice rack to throw off the teenagers, however, there is nothing sinister about a spice rack, so this doesn’t seem plausible. Can anybody guess where this is leading to? I believe I have finally found the answer to “What does Michael Myers do the other 364 days of the year?” Part boogeyman/part culinary-master, you decide. This is a film that begs the important questions to be asked.

I’ve got nothing.

There’s the love story too, in which Sarah is in an IM relationship with some guy. The guy is at a party and chooses to watch the reality show instead of socializing, which happens to draw a crowd. This guy mostly sends advice and tips to Sarah while he watches her run from Michael. This could be the place that the film actually displays some sort of message or actually have something to say. There’s an easy commentary on how people absorb violence and live vicariously through the pain of others. That did not happen, though. These scenes are here roughly to pad the runtime because even with Laurie’s death taking up a good portion of the first act, there just isn’t enough material for the teenagers to occupy a 90-minute film.

If there is one unintentional redeeming aspect to this movie it is the casting of Busta Rhymes as Freddie, the Dangertainment guy. Many fans would probably become sick at this proclamation, but the scenes with him are when the parody aspects are displayed and the movie almost becomes fun. Freddie is a guy who loves kung-fu movies, doing kung-fu, talking about kung-fu, and does reality-TV stuff. The absurdity reaches an all-time high when Freddie is on-screen, specifically when those scenes are shared with Michael. There is just something special about Freddie giving Michael a scolding talk, or Michael giving that cocked head look to Freddie right before he karate kicks the slasher icon out of a window. It’s too bad that 90-minutes of “trick or treat, motherfucker!” weren’t the aspirations with Halloween: Resurrection.

If there was ever a gif that was reflective of Halloween: Resurrection as a whole.

Rick Rosenthal, director of the majority of Halloween II (1981), returns to helm this installment. This seems purely like a studio-based decision for the primary purpose of igniting the excitement of the fan base. Aside from that, this film could have been directed by anyone and still be exactly the same. Resurrection is also a “quasi” found-footage film, where the teenagers have cameras strapped to them at all times to provide the feed for the internet stream. It’s possibly one of the earliest takes of mixing the found-footage subgenre with the slasher. This is largely just a gimmick and results in many takes that should have been shot with a professional film camera. The standard shot moments are incredibly overlit with blue lighting, which seems to be another bone thrown to Halloween fans since it was put to use there. The blue lighting here is just thrown around with no particular care or thought, which is reflective of most other elements. The music is compiled of standard late-90s horror fare with some covers of the “Halloween Main Theme”.

Overall, this film serves no real purpose and is completely lifeless and vapid. This franchise is no stranger to awful entries by this point, but at least those installments attempted to push the story along or added some new mythology. These movies tried to appease fans by keeping things interesting; despite how many of them failed in this department, the intent is there. The only purpose Halloween: Resurrection serves is for Dimension Films and Miramax. That’s exactly why this movie was produced, why this particular direction was chosen, why Curtis was a focus point of the marketing despite only having a cameo, etc. The only end-goal is to make a few bucks because the people in charge had done enough to ensure that at least some Halloween: H20 fans would make it to theater. It’s just enough to make anyone wish that the boogeyman would go ahead and die already.

“Trick or Treat, Motherfucker!”

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