Tis the season to be scary. So what can be nothing scarier then Busta Rhymes in the "final" Halloween film, Halloween Resurrection (2002)?
Ok, I'll just state this flat out. I am not a fan of the recent revamp done by Rob Zombie. I've had no compulsion to see it, and probably won't for a long while. Why? I'm too true to the old style of horror. I understand it's a revision, but I know if I ever saw those two films, they would be nothing like the original series of films. Down the line, I might fold and watch it. Nevertheless, to me, there's just something more alluring to Halloween series from 1976 to 2002 than the recent Rob Zombie versions. All I know going into Zombie's version is that Michael doesn't have that allure and mystery to him as he does here in these films. So now that I got that out of my system onto why I never watched this film until now.
Again, it has to do much with what my intro states. Busta Rhymes is the actual lead in this film? Even more revolting he uses frigging kung fu on Michael Myers? The last dude who tried that to a slasher icon got his friggin head punched off (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan). To know Mikey doesn't deliver that sort of slasher justice going in? Though truly that wasn't my primary reason for putting this film off for so long. It's premise just didn't sit with me well. Right before this particular movie came out, I had read a Halloween comic from Chaos dealing with Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) fallout. It had an actual neat little premise that I hear Zombie uses in his series, though was started in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. To summarize, some fools looking for Mikey find him but at the end, we find that it's really Laurie Strode wearing the mask, succumbing to the evil that claimed her brother. I actually loved that twist, so knowing that Mikey somehow escaped his end in H20 with Resurrection was somewhat of a downer.
Then again, the slasher fan in me was pleased, because deep down I have to say no other slasher I find more frightening than Michael Myers. Again, the character drips so much presence even when he’s not around or by just standing. The faint glimpses you're given in background shots or form his point of view are just so damn thrilling to me. Then there are the brief flashes of whatever humanity is left within him. A curious head twitch or gesture.
So with that in mind I decided to dive into this film with dropping everything but what I said about Michael Myers into this flick. I have to admit the first ten minutes of this film is utter gold. Sure the reason Michael escaped death in H20 is hokey (he crushes the vocal chords of an EMT, switches his clothes with the dude, and ditches his sister while she delivers the final blow), and yet it also worked for me even though H20 and this film only follow the first movie. Michael while silent always seemed to have an actual intelligence behind him. Unlike other slashers, this dude has a methodical plan to get to his main targets taking care of minor ones so the main has nobody but themselves to rely on.
Logically I thought this very shocking opening, we cut too that teenage nurse who heard the story and she be the main character in this piece. Nope the film switches one eighty degrees never even dwelling on this fact again. To me that was just sacrilege. With such a masterful opening, you just dump every moment in that and skip to another story? What is this, another film? So we get into the second plot. Some idiot (played by Busta Rhymes) has an insane idea. Get some teens all handpicked for their stereo-typical clichés (i.e. virgin, token black dude/drug user, rebel, jock, horny blonde, and ample boobed woman) and have them run wild in Michael Myers' home. Now to be fair, it's downplayed in this and the past film of Mikey being quiet in his killings, and everybody thinks the dude is dead. So, yeah technically, it sounds good in theory, but you know this is so going to blow up in the dude's face.
Thus is my main problem with this film. I SO wanted Busta Rhymes' character to just utterly die, yet he doesn't. Everytime an idiot such as his character has an idea like this in horror films, they so die, not to mention you just have to cheer when they bite it. In this, we never get that chance. Busta's character is just so damn un-likeable in the first two halves involving him so when we get to that third climax half; he's suddenly twisted into the hero. Screw that, the token black dude (played by Sean Patrick Thomas) was a hundred times more likable, yet for his troubles and for sinning, he is offed in probably the best kill in the movie. Busta's character should have so bought it after the, "TRICK OR TREAT MUTHA FUC.." and got his ass butchered. It would have made this movie a hundred times more entertaining.
As for said cliché virgin (played by Bianca Kajlich), she isn't that bad actually. Her scenes when Michael is chasing her are actually quite scary and make's for a nice thrill ride. I did enjoy the nice twist with even though Michael having taken out any help she still finds it in her net friend Myles navigating her through the Myers house trying to avoid the Shape. Again, it's only when Busta's character enters the equation does her character become non-existent. The other characters in the film are just there and really aren't enjoyable other than you looking forward to their grisly demise. Speaking of which, again when you have Tyra Banks in this movie and you don't show her being hacked to pieces that instantly garners a deduction. She's so damn annoying in this film much like Paris Hilton in House of Wax (2005). That when she bites it, it's off screen. True her death is included in deleted scenes (or search You Tube for it and the movie's three other endings) and it's a stupid end to a stupid character. Though damnit, why skip out on her end? Horror fans demand closure and soak in every end to every character that deserves it by Michael's hand.
Speaking of the Shape himself, the actor who plays him in this, one Brad Loree I have to admit did an actual spectacular job. He really nailed the simple gestures and just utterly whacked out look of Michael. My only complain of him would be he's so damn short. He's not George P. Wilbur (the actor who played Michael in Halloween movies 4 and 6), who towers over all his victims. Still, considering that Michael was once normal, I can buy just a little bit that this short dude would seem so small that you wouldn't believe it until he's stabbing the hell out of you, or picking you up with this unseen strength works.
If anything, the reason why I actually dislike this film is the director's fault (the same problem I had with Halloween 2 which wouldn't you know was directed by the same person), Rick Rosenthal. I will admit he's gotten better in making Michael more a presence and better handle on atmosphere in this take, but he utterly doesn't know how to build on characters (a failure he had on the second film as well). He just introduces them either to never see them again, or just doesn't properly build them enough. He almost does it with our virgin hero, but again you only actively root for her by default. If you truly are rooting for her as you are in the original or the fourth and fifth movie then you're doing your job in gaining the audience's attention in hoping this character survives. Rosenthal fails utterly at this. Worse, he falls into why I didn't like Alien vs. Predator. You don't kill half the cast in five minutes. It's stupid logic, the slasher should take his sweet time dishing out bloody havoc. Still, seeing some of the male heroes try and utterly fail at taking down Michael was somewhat amusing. Just that again, when Busta's character tried he should've met the same fate. Also speaking of death, Rosenthal doesn't even deliver his own stamp on the thrills instead recycling on past scares and kills used in previous Halloween films (from his own movie). So if you're a viewer of those you're taken back by the homage scare, or kill though damnit Michael Myers is up there with Jason Voorhees as the MacGayver of slashers. Everything around them can be, and will be used as a tool of death. So watching repeat deaths is nothing somewhat boring to a horror fan.
So with all this pandering and yet listing some positives can I say I truly liked this film? Honestly, I can't. The plot while unique, just falls flat before it even begins. Worse, when the opening was much more exciting than the actual main story, you know you're in for trouble. Still, this is a Halloween film, which make's it somewhat enjoyable, just you won't be expecting anything really new here kill wise for the most part. Not to mention characters that deserve a meeting with death don't get it, and those that do happen excessively soon. There are some good moments, but you'll find yourself just looking around elsewhere waiting for those moments to happen. When they do, you'll probably miss them and go back to hating this film. As for myself, if I watch this film again I'll probably just play certain parts. Because really that's all the good this film has, the rest is just utter garbage. I can see why there was a reason to reboot the franchise after this film. Just that I hope one day we see this Michael again, instead of the current brute. Though this film to me, is what's wrong with horror nowadays. All flash, no true substance.
2 out of 5
Tune in for a special Halloween edition next time when I review the live action adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire (2009).