‘Halloween: Resurrection’ Marked Tragic Low for Beloved Franchise


Rick Rosenthal’s “Halloween: Resurrection” (2002) has no opening credits that harken back to the jack-o-lantern themed introductions of the prior films.

We just get orange letters but no proper opening, an indication from the get-go that something is off.

An introduction with two chatty hospital nurses douses the viewer in exposition and quickly erases one of the best shocks of the previous “Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later” (1998), which definitively concluded the entire series.

Not so, explains a nurse, who hits us with “Oh my God, she killed the wrong guy!”

It turns out Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode didn’t actually terminate Michael Myers. More of this last-scene-of-“Scooby-Doo”-like dialog insists that Strode killed the wrong guy in a Myers-planted swithcheroo, because the wrong guy’s “larynx had been crushed.”

Okay, but then why did the guy act like Myers? If it was the wrong guy, then the unintended victim was awfully convincing doing everything you never want to do in order to stop someone from killing you.

In other words, what a croc.

The nurses simply should have said, “Michael Myers is still alive…because ‘Halloween H20’ made $55 million.” No further explanation needed.

We also learn that Strode is in this very hospital, which also houses a chatty inmate who is quick with lists of real serial killers. Thank goodness for all these talkative, exposition-filled side characters!

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Strode’s POV of picking up a knife is a nice nod to the opening of the original film. Curtis’ participation was what made me see this opening weekend in theaters (with a rowdy audience that was all-too-happy to yell out their favorite lines from “Scary Movie” during certain moments).

The big confrontation between Strode and Myers is oddly front-loaded, the top of the first act, pre-credit stinger, like how a James Bond movie opens. It’s the film’s best scene, though “best” is a word I’d use loosely, since what transpires is hard to get worked up over.

It seems Strode set a trap for Myers and the device in question wouldn’t be out of place in a “Home Alone” sequel.” I won’t give away what happens, but it’s not great.

Also, Strode kisses Myers before she falls out of frame (and the movie) why?! Myers then gives the deranged inmate his knife like a gift at a family gathering (another big Why Did That Just Happen?).

After the prologue, which was enough to lure me and most of the fans who thought they had said goodbye to this franchise back in ’98, “Halloween: Resurrection” becomes a new movie.

We’re now in a peppy, very-MTV Total Request Live feeling movie, in which a group of young people are being recruited to take part in a new Reality TV concoction deemed “Dangertainment.”

The gist is that the group of young adults (which includes Katee Sackhoff in her second film role, Thomas Ian Nicholas of “American Pie” and Sean Patrick Thomas of “Save the Last Dance”) have to survive a night in Myers’ home, which has been outfitted with dozens of cameras that will record the live event.

The entrepreneurs overseeing the special (Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks) are unaware that Myers is at large and really unhappy about camera being put in childhood bedroom.

From the introductory moments, the concept doesn’t work: Myers isn’t scary to watch over surveillance footage.

“Dangertainment” came before the age of laptops, cameras on phones and YouTube. Someone says “We’re gonna be bigger than the Osbornes,” an indication of how old this is.

Funny, how a movie from 2002 can feel much older and far more dated than the 1978 original.

Although this movie was slightly ahead of the “Ghost Hunters” craze, even “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) looked much better than this. Dangertainment is more like anti-tainment. The scenes of this operation are mind-numbingly bad, as the footage is ugly and the kids and producers are obnoxious.

There’s the C-plot, set at a Halloween party, with two dorks dressed like the leads of “Pulp Fiction” (guess Rosenthal wanted to make his producers happy). There’s also an internet user who watches the Dangertainment broadcast and goes by the username of “Deckard.”

Lots of hip references but not a single scene, line or character to match anything in Wes Craven’s “Scream” (which, at this point, was a trilogy).

The dialogue is wretched, the screenplay is flush with bad choices and the jump scares come with soundtrack blasts. The more seriously the movie takes itself, the sillier it gets.

There’s also cheap and nonsensical flashes of Myers on the Dangertainment feed, which is ultimately as pointless and insistent as the “esrever” gimmick on the “Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows” DVD.

Speaking of unwise decisions, the movie keeps cutting back and forth between the Dangertainment shenanigans and the Halloween party watching the live feed, with teens laughing and stating, “This is so fake!”

As this and “Shaft” (2000) proved, Busta Rhymes is a talented performer but not an actor. Meanwhile, Banks dances while she makes cocoa with whipped cream. Otherwise, what is she doing in this?

Rhymes and Banks keep missing the murders that are taking place, which is either a suggestion of how foolish their characters are or further proof that the dimly lit, blurry Dangertainment feed is unwatchable.

“Halloween: Resurrection” was filmed as “Halloween: The Homecoming” and famously went through a reshoot and recutting period that mirrors many genre films that fell victim to Dimension Films releases.

Rosenthal made the 1981 “Halloween II,” which worked and, unfortunately, got roped back to make this one, which doesn’t.

Even today, “Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later” remains the best “Halloween” sequel, while this one is at the opposite side of that spectrum. No, even “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995) is better, ambitious and made interesting choices, especially if you can see its fuller, quieter and nuttier “Producer’s Cut.”

The scene with two Michael Myers entering a room sums up the entire film: it’s initially intriguing, until it becomes embarrassing.

The film’s ultimate legacy isn’t the misuse of Curtis at the starter but the spectacle of Rhymes doing impromptu faux kung fu moves on Myers and uttering the immortal “Trick or treat, mother—–r.”

If “Halloween” reflected Alfred Hitchcock, then this is Alfred E. Newman.



Originally published at www.hollywoodintoto.com

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