Halloween II Review

Mangled tones and darker displays were rummaged through by Rob Zombie for his revitalisation of the Halloween series. Such a simple premise that defects to mindless zones of unstable plot derisions and uncomfortably dense ties to characters past and present. How bad could it be? Isolated as its own incident, it is easy to forget Halloween. To take the venom out of its sting, and to be at peace with the notion that Zombie would not and could not do it again. He did so anyway with Halloween II, a feature that looks to highlight the unguided creativity so predominant with Zombie’s style of directing.  

But what is that style, and what does it offer to Halloween as a concept? Stylish tones are the grimy effect of his vision. He has a penchant for disgusting and disturbing imagery, but no plausible way of adapting them at all convincingly. His kills are impressive, but the moment he tries to focus on that muddled character desire, Halloween II falls apart. What Zombie has here are honest and gifted intentions, but with no way of tying them to the original work or continuing on all that well from his own iteration. There are sloppy, happenstance moments that bridge the gap between the first and the second, and the sour taste left in the mouth by the first feature still lingers awkwardly, wondering what to do with itself.  

What little can be salvaged from the wreckage is bearable. Myers’ stance and structure as an iconic villain remain intact. It is easy to ruin such a simple character, yet the greatest strength Zombie has is an understanding of what Myers should do. He is a beastly character intent on bringing out the demons of others. If that is what Zombie wishes to approach, then he does so with clarity and a desire to unite the story of Strode and Myers. But he did so, and awkwardly so, in the first feature. To continue from there is a bold choice. It does pay off in parts. Malcolm McDowell makes for great supporting cast fodder, and while the turn of Scout Taylor-Compton is engaging, her character arc feels strange and less than noble. But that is the greatest draw of Halloween 2, apparently.  

Its sudden reappraisal as one of the motivated innovators of its generation is surprising, but consistent with where we are culturally. Halloween II offers what the original did not. Abstract tones that really fester on the mind, but for all the wrong reasons. Zombie takes severe leniencies with the quality of the series and his limited redesign of the Myers effect is loose enough to work but unrewarding at the best of times. Ghosts and eerie effects, imagery synonymous with purity and the ironic disassociation between the white horse and the white mask. It is all there, clear as crystal, but the clarity is disturbed and disrupted by the grimy surface of it all. Deep down, there is something within Halloween II that will spark a flicker of love and debate, it is just a shame Zombie is consistently drowning those tones out with banal messaging and ill-prepared continuity.  

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