Rated R, 85 min. Directed by Rick Rosenthal. Starring Daisy McCrackin, Sean Patrick Thomas, Bianca Kajlich, Busta Rhymes, Brad Loree, Jamie Lee Curtis.
Rushing out the latest in this perrenial fall franchise during the sweat-soaked dog days of summer makes about as much sense as releasing Friday the 13th: The Spurting on Arbor Day (Finally! Putting those chainsaws to good use!), but as even the most die-hard gorehounds must realize by now, the Halloween series ceased making sense years ago. Like the more homicidally inventive Jason Voorhees, Halloween boogeyman Michael Myers (Loree) - forever doomed to look like William Shatner in janitorial mode (that eerie mask is, we kid you not, an old Captain Kirk knockoff) - wanders through this, his eighth outing, with kitchen knife in hand and an unflappable, altogether stoic non-expression plastered across his rubber mug. So what else is new? 2000's Halloween: H2O was, I assumed, the final nail in the Jack o' Lantern; Myers was decapitated at the end by longtime nemesis (and relative) Laurie Strode (Curtis), who had put up with enough of his nonsense over the years to doubtless render her queasy at showings of The Nightmare Before Christmas. That film, at least, featured a smart (well, semi-smart) gag or two featuring Curtis' real-life mom Janet Leigh, late of the Bates Motel, but little else to rival the genuinely frightening work that original director John Carpenter floored audiences with in the original some 25 years back. Halloween: Resurrection isn't the worst in the series (that honor falls to Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which broke from the Myers storyline entirely and featured an evil Druid instead), but it's tired in the way that poor Myers must be after all these years of hiding in his old house waiting for October 31 to roll around. One wonders what keeps him occupied the other 364 days of the year; perhaps those knitting needles lodged in his eye from Episode 1 came in handy after all. Directed by Rick Rosenthal, who helmed 1981's underwhelming Halloween II, this newest slash-fest takes the hoary plot (kids trapped in house with killer on Halloween) and strives mightily to update it for the reality TV and Blair Witch Project generation. Rapper Busta Rhymes, so eerie on wax, is wasted here as a bombastic TV producer who hits on the less-than-original idea of placing kids strapped with wireless video cameras in the original Myers house -- the object being to see what happens to whom, and with what length knife. A direct steal from MTV's tepid Fear, sure, but when, predictably, the real Myers shows up and begins offing the dull-witted and entirely unsympathetic victims while we get grainy “Web shots” of the action as it's viewed by the audience at large, the whole affair reeks of filmmaking so lazy it might as well have been choreographed by X-Press 2 featuring David Byrne. Notably, Rhymes, railing against the same media of which his character is so clearly a part, gets in some decent fisticuffs with the unstoppable Myers, making one wonder if the previously insurmountable boogeyman's been off his Wheaties of late. Rosenthal's directing is spotty at best, and relies far too heavily on cheap cutaways to the aforementioned minicam footage. Only Carpenter's still-chilling theme music -- Philip Glass in hell -- carries any emotional bite. Forget this dreck: Where's that Michael vs. Jason grudge match we've been hearing about for the last decade?
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