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Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2002)

Starring: Busta Rhymes, Brad Loree, Bianca Kajlich, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daisy McKrackin

Written By: Larry Brand (also story), Sean Hood Directed By: Rick Rosenthal

The Short Version

Moustapha Akkad presents… the end of a franchise, and of an era.

Old school meets new school, and they have very little chemistry.

Oddly enough, this flick was slightly ahead of its time.

Depth is not implied by that statement.

Halloween: Resurrection is slightly better than its rep… but still not good.


The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

A MOSTLY EMPTY BAG OF STALE NACHO CHEESE DORITOS.

You start with a small bit of decent snacking that’s edible, even if below expectations, followed by a whole lot of crumbs and emptiness.


Pairs Well With...

BUD LIGHT.

Not much substance.  Corporate as Hell.  The only real buzz comes from the hype.

“She must be going for the first Internet Emmy.”


They say that all good things must come to an end.  The same holds true for slasher franchises.

Despite the fact that theoretically, half the movies in the Halloween series don’t exist (Halloween III isn’t a Michael Myers flick, and Parts 4, 5, and 6 are ignored by the later sequels), I have always felt a wave of giddy anticipation whenever that wonderful piano starts to play and the words “Moustapha Akkad presents” show up on the screen, especially in a movie theatre.  And so it was in 2002 as I enjoyed my high perch in the stadium seats for a Saturday night showing of Halloween: Resurrection.

By the time it was over, I had come to the sad conclusion that a better title for the movie would have been Halloween: Funeral and Wake, because after this, despite the obligatory final frame trickery (more on that later), there could be no question that at least as a standalone affair, the Michael Myers franchise was well and truly dead.

Flashing forward a decade and change, I find myself being a little more impressed by Halloween: Resurrection than I was that first time around, but my conclusion remains the same.  When the credits rolled, the franchise was dead.

Long live the franchise.

What I’m about to say will sound like a spoiler, but considering how quickly it happens, it’s not, and it’s a detail of critical importance to any worthwhile discussion of Halloween: Resurrection.  The movie opens with the franchise’s Ultimate Final Girl, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), locked up in a sanitarium, waiting for Michael Myers to find her again.  Just a few minutes after the movie starts, he does, and at the fourteen and a half minute mark, the battle is over.  Laurie Strode is dead, and Michael leaves his knife with a serial killer-obsessed patient as a souvenir before striding off into the night.

Wait, what?  After nearly a quarter century of slashin’ doom, all we get is this?  It’s not even a particularly satisfying duel, and there’s still over an hour of movie left!

There’s a practical reason for this, of course: Jamie Lee Curtis didn’t want to do it anymore, and she wanted to make sure no one else would take over the role.  In the real world, I can totally respect that.  The studio took what it could get.  Fine.  Doesn’t mean that I have to like it as a fan, or that I can’t be disappointed with how unsatisfying it is to see what should have been The Single Most Important Kill In Slasher History go down in such dull fashion.  (And not even on a Halloween Night!)

The franchise is dead.  Long live the franchise?

With Laurie Strode dead, how could it live on?  Assuming agreement that the only “real” movies in the series are the first two and the last two (including this one), Laurie’s death also ends Michael’s reason for going on killing sprees.  Unless Michael was to turn his attention toward going after the nephew he discovered in Halloween H20  I think audiences would even have been willing to accept a “final boy” instead of a “final girl” in such a circumstance, and that most would even have been perfectly fine to see that role recast if Josh Hartnett was no longer interested.

But no.  No mention of the nephew is ever made (there was originally one line of dialogue wherein Laurie promises Michael that he’ll never find the young man, but the line was cut), and instead…

Instead we get this.

The franchise is dead.  Let’s throw it a wake, invite a bunch of strangers, and call it the last hour and a quarter of Halloween: Resurrection.

The stuff that follows might as well be considered an entirely new movie; it’s wholly independent of that opening fifteen-ish minutes that most of the audience actually paid to see.  From here on in, Halloween: Resurrection is an experiment in which the old world of the classic 80s slasher is combined with the emerging worlds of millennial cyber culture and “reality entertainment,” and we find the resulting chemistry wouldn’t score a match on any reputable internet dating site.

Our new story is that of six college students hired by a company called “DangerTainment” to spend Halloween Night in the long-since-abandoned childhood home of Michael Myers.  (Try not to notice that the house is obviously built on a sound stage.)  Cameras have been set up throughout the house, and each student wears a portable camera rig, as well.  These camera feeds are set to stream to a website so that visitors can follow the adventure throughout the night, picking and choosing their favorite angles to watch from as the students “look for answers.”  (Or get baked or laid, whichever.)

Needless to say, the show’s mastermind, Freddie (Busta Rhymes), hasn’t left the home as “pristine” as he claims – got to make sure the viewers at home get something fun to watch, right? – but he shouldn’t have worried.  For this Halloween, he has decided to come home again…

In some ways, Halloween: Resurrection was ahead of its time.  Sure, “Survivor” and “Big Brother” were things on TV, and for better or for worse, The Blair Witch Project had brought the first person gimmick to big screen horror, but the age of “reality entertainment” that saturates the present age hadn’t happened yet.  Webcams were mostly considered a porn thing, YouTube didn’t exist, and shows like “Ghost Adventures” were still years away.  (That’s pretty amazing, if you think about it, because without those dates firmly in place, Halloween: Resurrection could easily be seen as a direct sendup of that particular show and others like it, complete with fakery debate.)  So on the pop culture prognostication scale, this flick gets an “A+”, and it is because of that bit of interest that I find myself liking Halloween: Resurrection more now than I did a decade ago.

Unfortunately, the resulting story is still utterly flat fare that doesn’t feel as though it belongs to this franchise at all.  As noted above, Michael Myers has no real reason to be here anymore, nor does the script give him one.  Contrary to the stereotypical view held by those who don’t follow slashers as a rule, the killers are not mindless machines; there’s always a reason behind the rampage, and unlike his compatriot Jason Voorhees, Michael is not a territorial killer.  Set the cameras up at Camp Crystal Lake, and maybe there’d by more to play with here, but in Haddonfield… nope, sorry.

It doesn’t help that the latest crop of knife bait is about as one-dimensional as they come; it’s really hard to connect with anyone here, including the obviously preordained Final Girl.  I’m not going to blame the cast; they do what they can with what they’re given.  With that said, putting Tyra Banks on the marquee is a transparent case of stunt casting (her character is totally useless and doesn’t look to have needed a lot of set time), and Busta Rhymes is clearly there because someone felt the need to have somebody say “motherfucker” a lot, so hey, stereotypecasting!

(Bonus: modern movie watchers can enjoy a look at a pre-“Battlestar Galactica” Katee Sackhoff in the role of the wannabe starlet, Jen.  Too bad the producers can’t be bothered to spell her name correctly during the opening credits.) 

Even the fact that audiences are treated to the meanest Michael Myers (Brad Loree) since Dick Warlock manages to come across as a negative here, because he seems a little too mean to be the real Michael, and the change to the mask doesn’t help.  This movie just can’t win.

The direction comes courtesy of Rick Rosenthal (he also plays the college professor), the man who had the helm for Halloween II and whose frames were so tame for that film that an uncredited John Carpenter came back to do reshoots for certain key scenes.  Measuring Rosenthal’s effectiveness in the case of this film is tough thing.  One the one hand, he doesn’t do a bad job, per se, but there’s not exactly a ton of tension to be enjoyed, either.  (This is especially true for the Laurie Strode scenes.)  On the other hand, set against the doldrums that were what passed for horror circa the turn of the millennium, the plethora of shots that are obvious repeats of setups from Halloween II look like pure genius.  And hey, at least he lets a little bit of nudity pass before the wave of rubber limbs comes tumbling down; that old school rule had been neglected forever.

It is said, however, that Rosenthal had to be held back from using “webcam only” perspective in the house; anyone who’s looked in on the extras for certain video editions of the movie can quickly see why this is a good thing.  He’d also intended to send out different endings to different theatres (a-la Clue), but this plan was also nixed.  (Again, if you’re curious, there are video extras that show them all.)  Not that matters; none of the endings make post-Laurie Halloween: Resurrection ring any less hollow or seem any less pointless.

The franchise is dead.

When all is said and done, Halloween: Resurrection plays out as a movie lots of old school slasher fans thought they wanted (if only because they hated to see the genre as they knew it die) until they actually saw it and realized that no, they really didn’t.  The story that made Michael Myers interesting is ruined after the first fifteen minutes (in decidedly unspectacular fashion, no less), and the rest is just spinning wheels through the occasional puddle of blood.

Bottom line, though modern audiences may be able to appreciate the pop culture futurecasting here, Halloween: Resurrection can only be looked upon as an unsatisfying end to one of horror’s great franchises.

The franchise is dead.  Long live the franchise.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, November, 2013


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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