THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


I must confess that, earlier this year, I skipped Jason X, the most recent installment in the Friday the 13th series. My reason for doing so was simple and, I would argue, perfectly defensible: I figured that if they didn't get it right the first nine times, they weren't going to get it right the tenth. So why did I willingly enter a theater showing Halloween: Resurrection, the eighth part in a different mad slasher series? For one thing, the original Halloween was a horror classic. For another, I thought the last picture - Halloween: H2O - actually wasn't all that bad. Of course, luck can only be pushed so far, as this pitiful movie proves.

Resurrection features an extended prologue in which we find Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in a mental institution. Faithful fans of the last film may remember that it ended with Laurie confronting - and beheading - her evil, mask-wearing brother Michael Myers once and for all. Or so we thought. In typically laughable slasher movie fashion, we come to discover that Laurie actually killed the wrong guy, which just leads me to wonder how many knife-wielding masked psychopaths there really are wandering the streets of America. Michael predictably returns to find Laurie. (SPOILER ALERT!) In the process of trying to kill him again, Laurie is killed herself. (Maybe she, too, can be impossibly resurrected in the next sequel.) Michael is then seen passing his knife to another of the institution's patients, who also has a fondness for masks.

Busta Rhymes and Bianca Kajlich face off against Michael Myers in Halloween: Resurrection
The rest of the film is obviously inspired by MTV's "Fear," a show in which self-absorbed college kids are sent into "haunted" places to perform a series of stunts. In this case, it's a program called Dangertainment that is being broadcast over the internet on Halloween night. The producers, Freddie and Nora (Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks), strap cameras on the kids, who are all horror movie cliches (the rebel, the cynic, the slut, etc.). Their task is to spend the night in Myers' childhood home looking for clues as to what made him a killer. Of course, Michael arrives just in time to slice-and-dice everyone except feisty Sara (Bianca Kajlich). I'm assuming that anyone who has ever seen a slasher film will understand that the heroine is always identified from the very start. Personally, I thought they should have followed the lead of Psycho and murdered the supposed heroine early on. Then again, slasher movies are not known for veering away from an established pattern.

So many things about Halloween: Resurrection confused me. For instance, how is Michael Myers able to crash through thick wooden doors? Why does everyone just stand and stare at the killer when he shows up instead of running like hell? If everyone is locked in the house, how does the Busta Rhymes character get in later on? Couldn't everyone just go out the way he came in? And, most quizzically, didn't the filmmakers realize that their digital-age premise was far too similar to the insipid Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2? I'm willing to bet that isn't the movie they hope comes to mind.

Here's something else that made no sense. (SPOILER ALERT #2) The story ends with one of those predictable scenes in which Michael appears to be killed, only to open his eye in the last shot. But is it really him? What happened to the asylum inmate? The movie suggests at one point that he either takes over Michael's business or joins him in his murderous rampage. So who was really doing the killing? This is just sloppy screenwriting.

I suppose I could be snide and make cracks about how the actor playing Michael (Brad Loree), isn't nearly as effective as George Wilbur, who played the character a few years ago (well, come to think of it, he's not). But why make up sarcastic criticisms when the picture has so many legitimate flaws to site? Here's one more: what made the original Halloween so great was that Laurie Strode fought back. She didn't stand around screaming helplessly. She took charge and refused to be killed. No one in this movie has that same can-do attitude. They're all content to get knifed in the throat. What a bunch of slackers.

I won't deny that Halloween: Resurrection has a few small pleasures along the way. Where else are you going to see Busta Rhymes duking it out with a nut case in a William Shatner mask? I also kind of liked a sequence in which one internet viewer helps Sara out by sending e-mails to her palm pilot. Those tiny nuggets of joy can't compensate for what is essentially a tired, unnecessary, by-the-numbers sequel. There's only one way to kill Michael Myers for good: stop buying tickets to these movies.

( 1/2 out of four)

Halloween: Resurrection is rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality and brief drug use. The running time is 1 hour and 25 minutes.

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