“There’s No Way!” – an extended look at Halloween Resurrection (2002)

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SPOILERS AHOY – I think I’ve earned them through the eight films of this series. So if you’ve avoided watching this – congratulations! I hope you use those extra 2 hours effectively.

So we come to the end of “classic” Michael Myers. After faking her own death, running away to California, starting a family and being a decent member of society, the only reward Laurie Strode gets is to be locked up in an asylum because she killed the wrong person at the end of “H20”.

Wait, what? We saw the end of H20, and what we got was Michael sitting up in the coroner’s van, getting thrown through the windscreen, then standing up, then taking a van to the chest, then falling halfway down a ravine before having that same van smash into him and pin him to a tree…and he was still alive after all of it. Michael I can accept that happening to, but just some guy? Turns out he swapped out his outfit for a security guard’s, using his magnificent precognitive powers to predict how it would all turn out. We’re lucky, I suppose, that the guy didn’t wake up ten seconds earlier, tear his mask off and leave a completely exposed Michael Myers in the middle of a bunch of people with guns. He’s also been portrayed many times as having a mortal fear of removing his mask, so it’s lucky he can get over that when plot contrivance demands it.

My wife’s response to this? “Eh, they’ve carried on horror franchises for stupider reasons”.

Michael decides to wait 3 years before going after Laurie again, perhaps because that’s how long it took for this film to get funding, perhaps because he needed a replacement mask for the one he left on that security guard, then shockingly easily murders his way through a heavily secured psychiatric hospital to get to her. If you wanted a sign of how little this movie cares about being even slightly good, we see two nurses talking about Laurie, then as they approach her room old nurse tells young nurse to not let on that she knows anything. As soon as they’re in the room, old nurse just carries on telling the same story to young nurse! Did you even read your own damn script? Anyway, when Michael gets to Laurie, she puts up a hell of a fight but is let down by her own unwillingness to chop up a masked man again and plunges to her “death” (although you know if this film had been anything other than an unmitigated failure, she’d have been revived in some way for the sequel). All the other people who survived the end of “H20”, one of whom was a blood relative (Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams and LL Cool J) must have died on the way back to their home planet, because they’re never so much as mentioned.

That’s it. The final, titanic battle between Laurie and Michael, ranging over four films, is finished with 15 minutes into “Resurrection”, and Laurie joins Rachel from part 5 and Jamie from part 6 as stars of the previous film who died a short way into the current one. Boy, I sure hope they picked a big, worthwhile, not embarrassingly stupid way to finally do for Michael!

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You may wonder why I called this review “There’s no way”. It’s not because Michael is indestructible, that’s a given. It’s the way the pieces continually fall into place to make it easy for Michael to carry on doing what he’s doing, as he gets every possible lucky break and has powers of forward planning that we mere mortals could only dream of. When he leaves the asylum, he hands over his knife to one of the other inmates, a guy who happened to both keep getting out of his locked cell, and be a clown-mask-wearing serial killer superfan, presumably pinning all the murders on him. There’s no way! You’ll need that phrase a lot if you’re going to watch this. We see Michael on security camera, and you’d think that the authorities would probably check the video to see what happened, and see a much taller man in a different mask killing everyone. But no! Why bother?

But I’ve spent a heck of a lot of time on the first 15 minutes. The majority of the film is based around an idea that’s not so much stupid (merely a weak rehash of “Blair Witch 2”) as 100% guaranteed to have been stopped by some legal person long before it ever happened. A company called Dangertainment has bought the Myers house, and on Halloween they’re sending in 6 college students with head-mounted cameras to behave like typical teenagers, as well as look for clues, and the results will be broadcast on the internet.

It’s so stupid that I can feel my brain trying to stop me writing this review and go and stare at a puddle, or something. How are Dangertainment making money from this? There’s no “$9.99 for full access” advert on the website. Why did the Myers family leave the house abandoned for so long only to sell it to an internet entrepreneur? Just for fun, think of any serial killer and see what happened to the house they were living in. There’s a better than 50% chance that the house will have been burned down by angry locals or demolished to make a garden; but luckily this house was left untouched and unused. Why have so few hard-mounted cameras? “Big Brother” had been on the air a few years by this point so they must have been aware of it – head mounted cameras mean you don’t get to see anyone’s reaction, as if something happens, everyone will be looking at the thing rather than the people.

The director makes a cameo around now, as the psychology professor of Final Girl Sara (Bianca Kajlich). Have you ever noticed how college lectures in movies are always directly related to the plot of the film, and are the most basic entry-level guff? But this barely cracks Halloween: Resurrection’s top 50 of idiocy.

We ought to spend a moment with Dangertainment before we get to the good stuff. Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks! To give two prominent roles to two complete non-actors is a weird move, but Tyra acquits herself just fine in her limited time on screen. Busta, on the other hand, has a fairly central role and is absolutely terrible, relying on comedy swearing almost every line. They have a grand total of 1 employee to help with this world-wide-streaming, rather large operation. There’s no way!

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6 college students, 1 house, lots of cameras, one serial killer. The house is full of stuff related to Myers, but in what might be generously called a clever move, every item is a plant, designed to frighten the students and excite the viewing public, as Busta learned his lesson from the opening of Al Capone’s vault. Michael shows up, because it turns out he’s been living in the sewers under the house for the last 20 years, and he starts doing what he does best. As everyone watching it assumes it’s fake, no-one calls the police or anything, because of course. It takes them quite a long time before they realise Myers is there…how big would a house have to be for you to completely lose someone, when you were searching the house top to bottom for evidence of them? About the size of a medium suburban home, is this film’s answer. There’s no way!

Despite its modern trappings (the internet!) this film feels horribly old-fashioned, much more so than “H20”, and the rules that “Scream” mocked so cleverly are stuck to rigidly – if you have sex or do drugs, you’re dead. Two of the three boys in this film behave like sexist assholes and are rewarded for it, while the women get nothing but killed. Katee Sackhof (Starbuck from the recent Battlestar Galactica) strips down to her bra at one point, while Daisy McCrackin was presumably paid a little extra to go topless, seconds before getting impaled on a sharp spike. Michael does love impaling people!

Sara, luckily, has a friend on the outside, a tech wizard nicknamed Deckard, actually a high school kid who’s pretending to be older. I presume some part at the end of their story was cut out, but the two of them never meet, with “Deckard” sending her text messages telling her where Michael is – he’s at a party but finds a computer there to watch the show. It’s not a terrible idea, but to have the two sides of the story never meet is kind-of weird.

Anyway, you know how these things go. Setting up the house with all the tricks and fakeouts, then making sure it all looked old and disused, must have been the work of an army of skilled builders, but their one and only employee is killed before the Dangertainment even starts, and no-one bothers looking for him or wondering where he’s gone. There’s no security in place, no health & safety and Michael still being alive isn’t a concern to anyone. Two of the students smoke a bong on camera and their almost certainly getting arrested and thrown out of college is not a concern to them. Busta dresses up like Michael to scare the kids, confronts the real Michael (sending him on his way with a flea in his ear) and continues the tradition of people dressed like Michael being directly responsible for death. There’s no way!

But all this is just window-dressing to the final battle. Most everyone is dead, and it’s down to Sara to try and escape the house, which is proving rather more difficult than you might expect. She’s about done for, when “TRICK OR TREAT, MOTHER****ER!” (swears might drop us down search result rankings?) Busta Rhymes was only stabbed in the shoulder, so he uses his kung-fu skills, which were established Chekhov’s Gun-style at the beginning, to kick Michael into some bare wires, electrocuting him to “death” – yes, his eyes open at the end, as always, but this film series is done.

So, after 25 years of running from her brother, who went from a force of pure evil to a sort of super-genius death-ninja, the grand conclusion to these films is not Laurie Strode finally confronting her brother, but Busta Rhymes quipping and kicking. Which is quite appropriate in a way, because this series has been coasting on one good film and an iconic mask for that entire time and has produced some of the worst stinkers of recent memory (3, 5 and 6 are almost unbearably bad), so to end it with a non-acting rapper giving a big dramatic speech to the assembled cameras about how, despite him being a scumbag for the film’s entire running time, he’s had a Damascene conversion to the cause of privacy and respect, is fairly reasonable.

I appreciate all this is plot-related mockery, because the technical side of the film is the fairly standard modern slick horror movie. Most of the stars are decent actors (Kajlich and Sackhof are both excellent) and the camerawork is workmanlike and uninteresting. The head-mounted cameras were a stupid decision for another reason than the one I mentioned above, and that’s that none of them can handle low-light situations, and most of the film is in low light. While Deckard and friends are watching the feed, you can barely see what’s going on. Oh, and Bianca Kajlich couldn’t scream at all, apparently, so had all hers dubbed. Huh.

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Part of the reason this film enjoys its thoroughly deserved poor reputation is down to its getting the future so completely wrong. “America hates reality”, goes Busta at one point, when a few years later there would be multiple channels devoted entirely to “reality” shows like this, and multiple shows devoted to very very similar topics. But most of the reason is because it’s wretched, a low point even in a series as bad as this one’s been. That this film was shelved to do reshoots because the producers wanted a stronger finished product makes me fascinated as to how bad the first cut of this film could have been.

Talking of behind the scenes stuff, the documentary about the series tells us that Miramax Films wanted no Michael Myers in this one, but producer Moustapha Akkad and “the fans” wanted and got him. If there’s one thing that this film has taught us, it’s don’t trust hardcore fans of anything. You don’t have to please them, because they’ll turn up anyway! The title was chosen to let fans know they were getting Michael, but if you think about it he never died at the end of the last one so just who is getting resurrected, I’m not sure.

If we make it to 2016 without another Halloween film (it looks like Rob Zombie’s series is dead, thanks to the critical and commercial disaster of his Halloween 2 in 2009) it’ll be the longest time without a new blast of Michael since the series started. And I think that’s for the best. Certainly, the cheap “he’s dead, whoops, no he’s not” endings to every Halloween film are no worse than the other big horror franchises, but they’re still pretty bad, and if this is all they can manage then no-one needs another.

I may review Rob Zombie’s two Halloweens at some point, even though I really don’t like the little of his other movies I’ve seen and think his music’s terrible. But this is the end for our journey through Halloween, and thanks for sticking with me. Which franchise to move onto next? Hellraiser? Friday the 13th? Child’s Play? A Nightmare on Elm Street? Critters? Leprechaun? Bloody hell, there’s a lot of them.

Rating: thumbs down

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3 thoughts on ““There’s No Way!” – an extended look at Halloween Resurrection (2002)

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