We did it! We made it to the end of the original run of Halloween films! Everybody come get drunk with me and celebrate one great movie, a couple okay ones, and a whole slew of shit. I don’t have much else to say in my preamble here, I’m just excited to move away from an old, dated slasher franchise and start working my way through an old, dated, rebooted slasher franchise.
Halloween: Resurrection is the eighth film in the Halloween franchise and the first before Rob Zombie infamously took the reigns. It’s directed by Rick Rosenthal, the director of Halloween II, one of the better in the series and stars Jamie Lee Curtis (!), Katie Sackhoff (!), Tyra Banks (?) and Busta Rhymes (!). Regardless of the quality of this entry into the Halloween series, you’ve got to be interested in how a cast like that would work in a slasher film.
Halloween: Resurrection takes place a few years after the events of the tragically titled Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later. Michael Myers is hunting down his sister Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) before returning to his childhood house to terrify a group of young actors participating in Dangertainment, an awful early 2000s reality TV show.
Resurrection is considered by many to be the worst entry in the franchise, so much so that the IMDb score for it is lower than that of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. This is considered to be the Jason X of the Halloween series, a slasher that plays up the campy and ridiculous aspects of slashers and throws in a bunch of self-aware and goofy sequences to try and elevate it into horror-comedy territory. Both Jason X and Halloween: Resurrection are incredibly divisive (I for one think Jason X is a masterwork of cinema, but I digress), but seem to be lauded by the crowd of people who like so-bad-they’re-good movies.
Similar to H20 before it, Resurrection is passable. Just passable. Not great, not good, not awful, just pretty okay if you’re not paying too much attention. The entire premise is pretty dumb to be honest, and I’m surprised at how many parts I actually enjoyed. I think my expectations were so low going in that anything decent was a nice surprise for me.
The best part of Halloween: Resurrection by far was Busta Rhymes. The man is an awful actor, but he’s so out of place in a horror movie that just the juxtaposition of Busta Rhymes screaming and throwing out kung fu poses against the stark, dead silent Michael Myers is funny to me. At the beginning of the film you can tell he was just reading his lines off the script as they went, but when the action started happening and he got a bit more freedom, he really helps the movie out. Hearing Busta Rhymes scream, “Trick or treat, mutha fucka!“ at the height of the final confrontation is worth the price of admission alone. After Mr. Rhymes, though, the remaining cast of characters is much less exciting.
The characters in a slasher film are of almost equal importance to the slasher themselves. Having an awesome looking, creative, well written slasher villain is key, but the movie is going to fall flat on its face if the characters being hunted down are all unlikable idiots that the audience can’t relate to. Sure there’s the age-old slasher theory behind a character having their comeuppance after committing a sinful act (i.e.: they “deserve” to die), but aside from that, you need good, fun characters in the film to keep the audience engaged. For the first 45 minutes of any old slasher, the characters are carrying the movie, and if they’re all vain, narcissistic, preachy assholes like in Halloween: Resurrection, we hate them every time they’re the only ones on screen. The fact that we don’t relate to them, let alone like them, also makes their inevitable deaths that much less tragic. We’re not invested, so when they kick the bucket, we don’t care.
I’m just going to jump back to being salty about the whole reality TV aspect of this movie for a second. One of the reasons I really thought this film failed was not only because of the premise, but also in its execution. When the characters are exploring the Myers’ household, they’re given head-mounted cameras and other small cameras have been hidden in the house. As our intrepid group of unlikables explore the creepy old house, we’re intercut footage from the Dangertainment cameras. Remember The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug? Remember the barrels-down-the-river chase scene? Remember how among the super high def camera footage, they cut in jarring, first person view 720p GoPro footage? Remember how awkward and awful it looked? Halloween Resurrection is the same thing, except the video quality is scaled back to that of 2002. The Dangertainment cameras look atrocious. You can’t see anything. It also doesn’t help that when things start ramping up, they include quick, fraction of a second long shots of Michael Myers even when he isn’t even there. Look, I get it Horror Producers In 2002. Blair Witch Project came out three years ago and made a ton of money and everybody loved it. Found footage was still a fresh and exciting subgenre in 2002. I guess some of my hate for the POV shots in Halloween: Resurrection come from my experience as a horror movie fan in
2016 2017, where a majority of found footage films are just pure, lazy, trash film-making. So while this movie was relatively early to the found footage game, it doesn’t age well because of it.
Also, because I can’t figure out a good way to fit this into a paragraph and I think you deserve to know: there’s a scene where Busta Rhymes electrocutes Michael Myers in the dick. So, if that sells Halloween: Resurrection to you, so be it.
Eight movies into the franchise, and they manage to crank out something okay. Beyond Busta Rhymes, Halloween: Resurrection isn’t much better than any of the movies in the middle trilogy slump. The poorly written characters and bad direction more than outweigh the half decent (the other half are boring and predictable) kills and Jamie Lee Curtis’ brief but solid performance. This movie doesn’t have the charm or the appropriate amount of self-awareness that something like Jason X has, and instead straddles the awkward line between horror and horror-comedy. It isn’t scary or suspenseful enough to be a horror flick, and isn’t funny enough to be a horror-comedy. I want to reiterate that. Halloween: Resurrection isn’t funny enough to be included in a genre that is only half comedy. This is another throw-it-on-in-the-background-while-you-do-something-else kind of movie. Sorry, Busta Rhymes.