Film Review: Halloween 2 (2009)

Let me begin by saying that I consider myself among the legion of Rob Zombie fans that can trace his career to Gods on the Voodoo Moon. With that in mind I must admit that I have tried to approach his film career with the same enthusiasm (if not slight trepidation) and was rewarded with two great Zombie productions: House of 1,000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects. Zombie seems to be at his best when he lets his imagination run a few laps in the labyrinth of his mind before bringing lightning to the beast. Unfortunately, in Halloween 2, it seems he let it loose a little too soon.

As with his original Halloween "reinvention," Zombie's H2 provides the viewer with a disparate mind trip that, while filled with a bare bones realism all its own, is split by its own brutality. The 15 minutes or so that form the film's introduction prove to be the truest testimonial of Zombie's powerfully sinister vision, giving the viewer a bleak game of cat and mouse that culminates in pulse-pounding crescendo of bloody screams.

And then... the seams begin to unravel. What follows for the duration of the movie are snippets of artistic filmmaking and editing seemingly stiched together rather forcibly by a lack of time, inexperience or exhaustion. It is very true that Zombie makes H2 his own film, breaking so far away from the previous series of films that really all that remains is the name Myers and while it can be inherently entertaining to watch the result is a heroine that lacks any sense of redemption and a [hollow] killer who's chasing ghosts. Myers is neither a monster or a man, but a shuffling automaton whose motive is too obscured by dispensable metaphor and dream sequences. While I'm not objecting to Zombie's creative interpretation, it would have perhaps been better served by insidious misinformation.

The film does succeeds in achieving a sense of realism that can become quite unsettling. Full of intense, hyper-violent kills (note: not torture porn) and moments of unwavering akward silence H2 is not for the squeamish. In fact, I was quite uncomfortable during the rather long stabbing squences where Myers proceeds to repeatedly bludgeon his victims (bones pop and flesh becomes swollen, pulpy smears). Its in this regards that Zombie begins to inject his sinister brand of brutality that first appeared in House of 1,000 Corpses and where I fully embrace the world in which these characters exist.

Overall its a film that will take time to gestate before it can be fully enjoyed among the ranks of its predecessors, but should prove to be an excellent learning experience for Zombie in preparation for whatever his next project may be. And as Zombie said back in Rue Morgue Issue 70 regarding his first effort: "I think the only reason to get upset about a remake was if there was some kind of law that dictated that, 'Okay, if a movie gets remade, then all copies of the original must now be destroyed!' Then get upset." So if you're a fan of Zombie, enjoy the film for what it is. And if not? Then there's always Carpenter's 1978 classic.


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