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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.91%
Worth A Look36.36%
Average: 11.36%
Pretty Bad: 6.82%
Total Crap: 29.55%

2 reviews, 32 user ratings

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Halloween II (2009)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Better than the first one. Uh, the remake, I mean."
4 stars

I'm not a Rob Zombie hater. I like his music, I've liked most of his movies, and I like that deep down he's just a horror/exploitation fan. He seems to have devoted every waking moment of his life to worshiping at the shrine of lovable drive-in trash (and I don't use "trash" as a pejorative in this context). Zombie's 2007 remake of John Carpenter's classic "Halloween" was, I felt, a huge misstep. His sequel is a whole different animal; it's as if he made the remake so that he could make the sequel.

I'd still prefer to see Zombie truly doing his own thing instead of trying to do his own thing within someone else's thing. But Halloween II is a marked advance for him. He's discovered beauty, for one thing he seems to have realized that an entire movie of grunge and sticky blood is visually numbing. So he has introduced various dreams and visions into the picture: the unstoppable killer Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) confronts his spectral mother (Sheri Moon Zombie), along with his younger self and a white horse (which, according to the opening text, signifies rage). Meanwhile, Michael's target, his long-lost sister Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), has the same visions, plus nightmares of being laid out at some sort of mad Halloween party presided over by figures in rotting pumpkin masks. Zombie, at least, is trying to work in some psychological and imagistic depth.

Unfolding almost entirely at night, and with a bare minimum of flashbacks to The Sorrows of Young Michael, Halloween II is the movie most of us hoped Zombie's Halloween would be. There's an extended sequence of carnage that's an it-was-only-a-dream cheat, but for the most part Zombie has found the mood he wants to strike. The white horse, it turns out, could stand in for everyone in the film the prevailing emotion is rage. Zombie takes the once-heroic Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) and turns him into a money-chasing publicity hound, pimping his book about Michael everywhere. I don't know about the hypocrisy of the dialogue calling Loomis a ghoul for profiting off Michael's murders when Zombie is doing the same thing, but there's a hint or two that Loomis has been spiritually deformed by his contact with Michael, trying to wrest some kind of meaning out of the whole affair by recasting himself as a lauded scholar making lucrative appearances on his serial-killer tour.

Laurie, too, is significantly damaged; a year later, she's in therapy (with Margot Kidder in an odd bit as her shrink) and living with Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and her sheriff dad (Brad Dourif). She can't sleep, she's working at a cafe with two snarky girls, she's apparently gone vegan and gotten a tattoo and turned her living space into a wreck of graffiti. Scout Taylor-Compton didn't impress me much in the first film, but here she has more to chew on, and she bites down hard. The acting in general here is on a higher level than you'd expect Dourif in particular shines, creating a warmly idiosyncratic human being out of Sheriff Brackett and Zombie recruits old-timers like Kidder, Howard Hesseman (dude, where have you been?), and Daniel Roebuck, not to mention an impish cameo by Weird Al Yankovic.

The key thing here is that, to Zombie, Michael Myers seems the least interesting thing on the screen, unlike the 2007 film, which was All Michael All the Time, to the detriment of the rest of the movie. Here, Michael is a grunting ogre who just brute-strengths his prey to death. Every so often, Zombie brings him on so he can break someone and moves on. The focus is much more on Laurie and her anguish, especially after she discovers the connection between her and Michael. The kills aren't meant to thrill us; they're ugly, pounding encounters (the poor guy who gets his face stomped into jelly is probably the worst). Michael himself wears his tattered mask over a long hillbilly beard and looks like a hobo; there's nothing remotely "cool" about him, nothing this film's target audience can hook into or enjoy. He's not smart, not funny, not stylishly diabolical. He looks like he probably smells terrible. He's not "purely and simply evil"; he's purely and simply rage.

Give Zombie some credit: handed the keys to this franchise, he's turned it into a statement on the ugliness of death and the toxic legacy of bad upbringing. That wasn't what John Carpenter's original was about, but it's a damn sight more interesting than any of the original sequels including 1981's "Halloween 2," which had its moments but was essentially same shit, different location. There are bits and images in this film that would ensure praise from the horror-fan crowd if they weren't in a "Halloween" movie directed by Rob Zombie.

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originally posted: 08/31/09 06:09:05
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User Comments

8/07/14 David Hollingsworth unneccessary sequel remake 1 stars
11/18/11 cody a cool follow up to the remake , but has a bad ending with a sad song 3 stars
5/30/11 art ROB ZOMBIE sure knows how to put together a GREAT HALLOWEEN FILM! 5 stars
5/26/11 Glenn Laurence Hardy Junior i absolutely love Sarah's opinion!!!!!!!! (friend me on facebook!) 5 stars
10/12/10 art i agree to what MR.MIKE SAID! 1 stars
10/10/10 mr.mike I recommend it only to horror junkies. 3 stars
9/11/10 art IF YOU HAVE seen ONE HOLIDAY THEMED slasher MOVIE,you've SEEN THEM ALL! 1 stars
9/03/10 Charles Tatum The paranormal back story just never catches on 3 stars
7/04/10 art A FINE sequal. 3 stars
6/21/10 Sarah Friday the 13th is shit. 5 stars
4/07/10 art FRIDAY THE 13TH is a hundred times better! 1 stars
3/03/10 Stanley Thai After watching this film, it's apparent everything was rushed to make the movie. 1 stars
2/17/10 Danny B Zombie's films are works of art - from Dvls Rjcts to Hallwn - awsome filmaking 5 stars
1/13/10 art THOSE halloween movies all look a like TO ME! 1 stars
1/10/10 randy todger excellent zombie is the man 4 stars
12/31/09 Ralf The best Halloween I have seen since the orginal, BY FAR. 5 stars
10/26/09 Crazy65 Mitchell Cahn Founder of Unionwear, union made in America custom logo hats, shirts, and b 4 stars
10/26/09 Alex27 They were put to great trouble to fit the new garment on me and to even greater trouble b 2 stars
10/24/09 Settor27 Auto Train uses enclosed car carriers and their rates are fairly high, starting at around $ 3 stars
10/24/09 Barbara98 Simone Simon had already attempted to forge a Hollywood career in the mid-thirties, and had 2 stars
10/23/09 Wolf78 This personalized approach points students in the right direction by introducing them t 2 stars
10/22/09 Daddy76 Online instructors need to set clear expectations and guidelines for course and discussio 5 stars
9/21/09 Aaron Best film with the word Halloween in the title to come in a long time. 5 stars
9/05/09 Obi Wan Horrible. Uncomprehensible disturbing violence, lead actress is garbage! Watch original! 1 stars
9/05/09 ravenmad interesting interpretation, brutal violence, lots of eek!! moments. Not a first date flick. 4 stars
9/02/09 wenjon Pile of fuckin shite - not that i expected anything else! 1 stars
9/02/09 irbear Amysmal! Shaking the camera does not create tension!! 1 stars
9/01/09 Pastafarian Rob Zombie stop making movies NOW! 1 stars
8/31/09 Byron_th_BrainSurgeon Its good. 4 stars
8/30/09 Stephen Guthery Not just the worst halloween film ever, the worst HORROR film I've ever seen 1 stars
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  28-Aug-2009 (R)
  DVD: 12-Jan-2010


  DVD: 12-Jan-2010

Directed by
  Rob Zombie

Written by
  Rob Zombie

  Tyler Mane

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