Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Judy Greer, Andi Madichak, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Will Patton.
Directed By: David Gordon Green
Where I Watched It: HBO MAX
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Narrated By Briana Leon
Audio Description provided By: The Media Access Group
The Plot: Picking up exactly where the last film in the series left off, we continue with our very bloody Halloween night that will absolutely cause a noticeable drop the next time a census is taken. After the town of haddonfield realizes that Michael Myers is loose and killing again, the denizens of this sleepy town that have apparently never heard of moving or know what Zillow is, go to hunt down and kill Michael with random objects they find, and a few guns. As you might expect, this does not go well.
What Works: First, this is such an iconic score. the Halloween theme plays throughout the movie, and is used so perfectly, that I have to mention it. I’m so glad they didn’t reinvent the wheel with this reboot and kept one of the best things about the original classic.
As far as “what works”, for those of you who watch movies like this for the gore, extreme and pervasive violence, and creative kills, you’ll get that in spades. It’s one of the things the film does well, is provide Michael with an endless supply of idiots to dismember. Remember the rules from Scream? No one in this film has ever seen that film. If there ever is a rule to surviving a horror film, the people of Haddonfield just say “fuck it”, I’m going upstairs, or I’m gonna hit this killer with a pillowcase stuffed with some bricks. The citizens of this town are profoundly stupid, so they basically all die, which provides tons of gore and kill scenes.
This has been a heavily maligned sequel for many reasons, and very valid ones, but one that it doesn’t get enough credit for, is that while it unfortunately gives Laurie nothing to do, it does give Karen (Judy Greer) more to do. So, a character that was only somewhat developed in the first film, really pulls center here, and Judy delivers a very memorable performance. No one is giving her enough credit, because they just want to shit all over the movie, but I want to point out that she was quite terrific here, even in spite of her character’s choices.
What Doesn’t Work: I suppose some light spoilers here, but Laurie contributes nothing to this film, and the sequel suffers due to her lack of involvement. The reason the reboot was so universally celebrated in the first place had a lot to do with the return of Curtis to the role she left in the equally shitty Halloween Resurrection. But she gave such a fiery and fierce performance in the last film, that confining her to a hospital room was one of the dumbest decisions David Gordon Green has made in his entire career, if not perhaps the actual worst decision. Sidelining the one character who seems to have any sort of survival instincts, ability to harm Michael, and just a tiny bit of coherent thought made this movie far more dumb than it needed to be.
Instead, this film turns into Michael myers can’t be killed, and people are idiots, and by the end of the third film, the population of this town will be one. The last film ramped up the violence and gore in ways not previously embraced by the franchise. Honestly, even Rob Zombie’s takes seem less violent overall than David Gordon Green’s gore porn. While the first film had a plot, the kills were very brutal. Here, the film lacks a plot, and just feels like the other half of a movie. It’s doesn’t even work as a stand alone effort, since it picks up immediately after the first film ends.
And then, you want your audience to root for these people to survive? I’m supposed to believe that a girl, first of all, can swing a pillowcase full of bricks. And I’m also supposed to believe that, of all the potential weapons, THAT was her best choice? Or the guy with the wrench? Or the baseball bat? Even the tiny knives? I do feel bad somewhat for those who have guns, and find them useless against Michael, who in this film ascends officially into “inhuman” as he survives the unsurvivable, and does so under a monologue from Laurie about how he’s not a man, but those people with guns still make terrible horror movie choices.
There is no strong character to root for here. inevitably, every single person who dies at the hands of Michael does so because they lack the awareness of their surroundings, or because they think they are superior to a dude who has already laid waste to half the town. I’m fairly certain in the third film, it will be full of Michael wandering around realizing everyone is dead, and finding it really hard to kill anyone else.
My point is, you got us back with a well written reboot, with characters that worked. And you followed it up with some sort of commentary on how Michael brings out the worst in people, but ultimately leads to a host of forgettable characters getting killed off, that no one could possibly care for. The only thing people are now showing up for is gore.
The Blind Perspective: There was one time when the description tried not to use Laurie’s name, and referred to her as like “the previously unconscious woman”, and I was like… No. I will be having none of that. This is Laurie Strode, and with the amount of films in this series, the fact that this is a very direct sequel, you better damn well use her name. She’s earned immediate recognition. She’s like Iron Man or Luke Skywalker. Say her name, always and forever.
Otherwise, the audio description here allows blind individuals who love gory kills being described to them to have the time of their lives. Sure, we never really know how gory something looks, but when someone’s eyes are totally gouged out, that at least gives you a solid jumping off point.
There aren’t a lot of jump scares, or really even an attempt at them, as the film just accepts at a certain point that Michael is going to kill everyone, so why bother hiding him? And, at a certain point, it becomes obvious that this film is set up to kill as many people as possible, so you just start assuming that since all these characters are poorly written, they’re all about to die, and the lack of surprise is gone anyway. It’s like an uninteresting version of Final Destination, where no one is able to leap frog their impending death.
Final Thoughts: A huge drop in quality from the first film, which is odd since you could watch both back to back, but you would just start to notice a huge drop in quality. Judy Greer is fantastic, and this does deliver on the promise of being a horror film, but every single character who isn’t Jamie Lee Curtis is so frustratingly terrible at being in a horro movie, it makes it hard to root for anyone. The Texas Chainsaw reboot just did this same thing, bringing in a host of people just for Leatherface to kill off. horror films are interesting when there are a handful of characters you don’t want to see die. I didn’t care that anyone who died in this film met their end, except perhaps, that last one.
Final Grade: D+