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Halloween: Resurrection

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rating:R (For Strong Violence, Language, Some Sexuality and Brief Drug Use)

Running Time: 89 minutes

Starring: Busta Rhymes, Bianica Kajlich, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Ryan Merriman

Screenplay by: Larry Brand and Sean Hood
Story by: Larry Brand
Based on the characters created by: Debra Hill and John Carpenter

Directed by: Rick Rosenthal

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal and Editor Robert A. Ferretti, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Rick Rosenthal, Alternate Endings with Optional Commentary by Director Rick Rosenthal, Webcam Special with Optional Commentary by Director Rick Rosenthal, Tour of Set with Production Designer, On the Set With Jamie Lee Curtis, Head Cam Featurette, Stoyboard Comparisons, Still Gallery, Sneak Peeks

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (14 Scenes)

Released: December 10th, 2002

 

 

I guess you can say this with any stupid franchise that simply won't die: "I saw this one coming." This certainly applies to the "Halloween" film series, which should have just been trashed ages ago (probably in the 1980s). But no, this series, which might I add is now entering its 25th year as I write this, is just plain lame and annoying at this point. But can you really blame the filmmakers? I mean, come on... they're just in the pursuit of some cold hard cash and the American dream. But I don't care, I'm still blaming Dimension and the filmmakers. I suppose "Halloween: Ressurection" is one of those films that MUST be made, especially after the success with the teen-infused installment "H20." The films are pretty cheap to make and rake in a decent gross at the box office. So they're successful and more of these are to be made. Ugh.

"Halloween: Resurrection" wasn't a major 2002 summer hit, but I think it did well enough at the box office (and don't even think that had to do with the "wonderful" reviews!). The film filled the teen horror void gap the summer was lacking, and hey, it even brings some concepts we can all relate to such as Internet dotcom companies that are bound to fail and die out after making millions and reality-based programming (the new rage these days, just like teen horror films 6 years ago!). The film's backed by a strong cast, and even "Halloween" veteran Rick Rosenthal (I don't think that's saying much). But you know you have a problem when the film credits list some major players under the listing "Special Appearence by"...

In this fresh installment of the saga, "Halloween: Resurrection" follows a group of teenagers who get picked to spend a night in the childhood home of that notorious serial killer we all know and love, Michael Meyers. This is a reality show mind you, and it's going to be broadcast over the Internet courtesy of DangerTainment (WICKED NAME!!). Yes, as these teens are being exploited for the love of greed and other corporate crap we all know and hear about in the news as far as television and the Internet goes, the broadcast soon turns more exciting and yes, deadly. How so you ask? Well, a certain serial killer turns up and the rest is just a pretty predictable mess.

Even though Internet broadcasts and reality programming is old hat now, I don't think those concepts are bad at all. It would have been better if it was a bit satirical, but the movie takes them pretty seriously - even if they are ripping other people off. But besides that, the movie does a lot (and I mean A LOT) of things wrong. The first thing and probably the worst thing about this movie? The opening prologue. Of course it doesn't really link much to the rest of the movie, but it's there to please die-hard "Halloween" fans. Of course, if you're a die-hard fan watching this movie, do you really need a recap of events? But besides the point, this prologue is pretty disappointing if you're a fan of the franchise. You all probably know it by now, but for those who don't, I won't spoil it for you. Let's just say the whole Lauire Strode incident is finally resolved. As much as I would have loved a whole movie built around the prologue, that obviously wasn't going to happen and the grand finale is just a mere whimper that feels hacked on, lacks originality and for such a cherished character to so many fans... it's really horrendous. Certainly there should have been more to this, but in the end, the prologue is more stupid than memorable, not to mention it's really not that fair to the fans. But whatever, the franchise was already ruined before so you might as well keep destroying rather than rebuilding.

While the prologue isn't that satisfying, the rest of the film isn't much better. Larry Brand and Sean Hood's script isn't that scary, lacks any horrific atmosphere and feels more like standard slashing faire. The characters are downright one-dimensional and dull. The dialogue is equally terrible. Not that I was expecting the movie to be scary or be memorable at all, but those expecting some chills will more likely laugh than shriek in horror. Rick Rosenthal's direction doesn't help much either. While the film's pace is decent and the editing style is rather sharp, it must be noted that while Rosenthal has some nice shots, only touches of originality can be traced. The rest of his directing is rather generic, and his use of slow-motion is painfully annoying.

Are their positive points to this film? Not really, unless you're looking what to NOT do in a horror film and/or want some laughs in the more serious moments (something I'm sure that is not intentional). The acting, meanwhile, is pretty decent. But with that said, some of it is pretty funny since some of the actors are a bit over-the-top. Music star Busta Rhymes, who's been breaking out into an acting over the past few years, actually does a fun job in the film. Tyra Banks, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Sean Patrick Thomas are also pretty decent, but as you'd imagine for some rightful reasons, Thomas and Banks' performances aren't big in scope. I actually really enjoyed what Bianca Kajlich brought to this movie as far as acting (hopefully she'll branch out to better films), while Jamie Lee Curtis, in what she's left with, does a fine job as well - but given what happens in that prologue and what she does, it's really nothing extraordinary. It's just suitable. There's not much to say about this film except that it's more or less the antithesis of the original "Halloween." Hopefully the franchise can either die now (as it should have long ago), or someone with some originality and good ideas can make the 934939th installment better than this one!

 

Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, this is another fine live-action Disney transfer. Granted, the image is a bit soft and grainy but still has some strengths (more on those in a moment). While I felt the dark interiors the film features didn't look as sharp as they could be, noise and edge halos are only a minor problem (but still distracting). Detail is decent, fleshtones are good but nothing out of the ordinary and color saturation also seems a bit subdued. The image is a little vibrant, but fails to really pop out and shake you. Blemishes also appear now and then. Despite the transfer's flaws, it still works nicely.

 

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is rather effective and has a very strong ambiance. Danny Lux's score spreads through the channels quite nicely with a lot of room to trap you in it. There are some definite haunting moments within this track, and a ton of surround sounds that are really nifty. You've got action, you've got slashing, you've got running, you've got screaming... need I say more? The directional effects are pretty kicking, with high fidelity and strong dynamics throughout. The subwoofer gets a really nice work out too. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, while all the elements have a nice balance and don't become jumbled when they cross paths. A very solid job here, as this is a pretty hard mix. Also included are English subtitles, Spanish subtitles, English closed captions and a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

 

The film was obviously a big enough box office draw to warrant some pretty good extras for fans of the movie. The Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal and Editor Robert A. Ferretti will probably only warrant listens from major fans of the movie. The track is surprisingly technical and detailed, but with that said, there's a ton of praise going back and forth and a lot of pats on the back when it's not exactly necessary. I will admit it was interesting to hear about how certain effects were established, but a lot of this is slow and dull. The two are talkative and seem interested in the work they've done, but they're not exactly enthusiastic and crazy. They seemed to really dig the story and think it's really, really good. Sorry gents, but I disagree.

You fans of cut material will be thrilled with the rather uninteresting Deleted Scenes: "Freddie & Nora in Control Room," "Contestant Interviews," "Sara & Jenna Dropping Out," "Michael Driving Up To House," "Photo Album" and "Sara & Freddie at Car." There is also an Optional Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal. While the scenes aren't great, Rosenthal offers some interesting tidbits here on the cuts. You will also find three Alternate Endings, also with Optional Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal. The endings, "Original Ending with Deckard," "CSI Hand in Manhole" and "Axe Ending" are decent watches, but the best ending is probably one in the final feature (and it's really not saying much). The scenes are presented in two channel sound and non-anamorphic widescreen.

Probably the most interesting and intriguing extra on the disc is the Webcam Special. Lasting a bit over 41 minutes, this is a pretty cool feature that is a large chunk of the movie that is just the video footage as shot. It's edited together and edited nicely at that. It is pretty entertaining in the sense that you get a very different perspective as far as angles and in a sense, through the characters. But the novelty wears off after a bit, and yes, the movie still sucks. There is Optional Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal who even hints at another DVD and what he originally wanted to do as far as multi-angle features. He goes on and on throughout this as far as what he liked, certain ideas and whatnot. Rosenthal's plans for the multi-angle stuff would have been better probably. Only die-hard fans of the movie need to sit through this twice.

Three featurettes are also included. Tour of set With Production Designer features the fine work of Troy Hansen (the film's production designer). He's pretty insightful in what he wanted to accomplish and to do. This also topped with stills, and is definitely the best of the three featurettes. It lasts nearly 7 minutes. On the Set With Jamie Lee Curtis is your standard promo fluff with with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Rick Rosenthal, Bianca Kajlich, Katee Sackhoff, Sean Patrick Thomas (sorry Sean, but the prologue with Jamie Lee isn't satisfying at all!), Mikey Myers himself Brad Loree and yep... Jamie Lee Curtis herself. It lasts four minutes and four seconds. Finally, the Head Cam Featurette features Tyra Banks, Thomas Ian Nicholas and a few others about how "cool" the head cameras are. Footage on the set is shown, but this really isn't interesting. It lasts four minutes and eleven seconds. All of the featurettes are in full frame.

Rounding the disc out is a cool Still Gallery, some Storyboard Comparisons (for "Bill's Death," "Donna's Death," "Michael Finds Freddie & Sara," "Sara Attacks Michael with Chainsaw" and "Freddie Saves Sara") where you can go back and forth between storyboards and the final film (or have them split screen) and Sneak Peeks for "Halloween: H20," "Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers," The Ultimate Scream DVD Collection Box Set, Dimension Cutting Edge Films and finally, a trailer for Martin Scorsese's epic "Gangs Of New York" (in non-anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound). But as in recent Disney tradition, there's no trailer for "Halloween: Resurrection" itself. Ah well...

 

Do I really need to tell you that "Halloween: Resurrection" is another lame sequel to cash in on its brand name (whatever credibility THAT has left) and whatever audiences who went out to see this film (i.e. longtime fans and teens who'll pay to see any trash)? But if you're a fan of the film or the franchise, then you'll probably want to own this DVD. The supplements are actually nice and plentiful, the transfer is another solid effort from Disney and 5.1 Dolby Digital track is pretty submersive. It's a pretty bad film, but at least the DVD is nice...