Combustible Celluloid
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With: Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie, Brad Dourif, Danielle Harris, Scout Taylor-Compton, Chase Wright Vanek, Caroline Williams, Octavia Spencer, Richard Riehle, Margot Kidder, Mary Birdsong, Howard Hesseman, Mark Boone Junior, Nicky Whelan, 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Written by: Rob Zombie
Directed by: Rob Zombie
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal bloody violence throughout, terror, disturbing graphic images, language, and some crude sexual content and nudity
Running Time: 119
Date: 08/28/2009

Halloween II (2009)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

All Hallow's Cleave

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After butchering the beloved slasher series with his awful remake Halloween (2007), Rob Zombie was somehow allowed to make this sequel. (Is it a remake of a sequel, or a sequel of a remake, or both? I don't know.) Halloween II starts a little like the original Halloween II (1981), picking up where the original film left off. It's late on Halloween night, and Michael Myers' victims are in the hospital. For about a half an hour, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) wanders around in the rain and screams and then, poof! It was all a dream!

But now it's two years later, and of course, Michael is back. As just the beginning of a series of bad decisions, Sheri Moon Zombie keeps appearing as the ghost of Michael's mom, dressed all in white, and the child version of Michael is with her, for some reason. The characters all talk exactly alike, as if they were a middle-aged heavy metal veteran, even the teen girls. (What girls would have an Alice Cooper poster in their bathroom?) They all seem concerned with either remembering cool movies and music, or trying to shock. The killings are totally without suspense or craft; Zombie is the opposite of a great filmmaker like John Carpenter, who masterfully sets up shots, layers in music, and edits for maximum effect.

In this film, Zombie shakes the camera, filters everything through a grimy haze, and lets everything go on far too long. (Admittedly, I did view the longer, director's cut.) Perhaps most disturbing is that Michael is often seen without his trademark mask and he looks like Zombie, with scraggly long hair and a grizzly beard. (What is this director trying to say?) I do have to confess that this one is a tiny bit better than its predecessor, as it spends more time on characters; Malcolm McDowell in particular is entertaining as a media-whore Dr. Loomis, more concerned with hawking his book than in dealing with Myers, and it's always good to see series star Danielle Harris. But overall, Halloween II is painfully long and very unpleasant.

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