The Night He Jumped the Shark (Halloween Resurrection, 2002)
So, if Halloween H20 tied everything up nicely and gave closure for the character of Laurie Strode, what did they do for number eight? Why completely undo it of course! No doubt, H20 was a strong enough success that they decided to take a couple years to create the next installment of the series.
They brought back a director from a previous film (Rick Rosenthal, who has racked up quite a decent career in directing genre shows like Buffy, Smallville and Veronica Marsas well as director of Halloween 2), which might seem like a decent start. Then they announced that it was a Michael Myers installment and Jamie Lee Curtis was returning. That good and bad news. Then there was the title…”Halloween: Resurrection”.
Michael has long been lumped in with the “undead slasher” group of Freddy and Jason. This is not accurate, as Michael Myers never died. So he never came back from the dead. Unkill-able slasher? That’s accurate. Undead? Inaccurate. Michael always manages to survive. Now, truth be told, I wish they would have just brought Michael back from the dead. He could have been like the headless horseman and carried his head in his arms.
But nooooooooooooo. They have to undo the end of H20… (spoilers beyond this point)
In doing so, they wreck the closure the last film gave the series. So, Laurie did not seperate Michael’s head from his body. What actually happened was that Michael grabbed a rescue worker, crushed his windpipe and switched places. So Laurie killed an innocent man and it made her crazy. Laurie spends her days in an institution now. And so the movie kicks off with the reveal that she has been waiting for Michael to return. And being the caring big brother he is, he shows up a few nights before Halloween. In a fight, Laurie loses.
That is the extent of it. No one from the institution is connected to the story. Instead, it focuses on a bunch of college kids doing a web broadcast from the Myer’s household. Yes, web broadcasts is how they show that Halloween in moving forward. It’s the reality programming trap, which has rarely been effective. Outside of Series 7, it really has not worked. It often feels like an absurd and preachy device.
So, with Jamie Lee dead…what’s our big hook to draw the audience in? The reality show is run by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks! As an aside, this Halloween film has more black people than the other sequels combined. I am actually not joking. The Halloween series is whiter than Michael Myer’s mask. Anyways, the other big name of the film is Thomas Ian Nicholas of the American Pie movies. None of these are the priary characters, of course.
Our leads are Sarah (Bianca Kajlich, currently of Undateable), Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas) and Jen (Future Geek crush Girl Katee Sackhoff), all who have won a part in a reality web cast where they search the old Myers homestead. The house is rigged with “scary” stuff that is supposed to be from lil’ Mike’s childhood-stuff that explain why he went off the deep end and killed his sister. People die on camera, but never when anyone is looking. Luckily, Sarah has been chatting online with a buddy Deckard (Ryan Merriman) who goes to a Halloween party and watches the show. So, using text messaging (uh, yeah, I can’t fathom how Busta didn’t have a “no cell phone” rule or his show) Deckard helps the survivors avoid Michael.
In the end, though, there can be only one survivor. So Sarah, being the plucky heroine is it. Tyra does not even get the dignity of an on screen death (see, in horror, it’s more insulting to die off screen). But everyone else gets to die gruesome deaths… impalings, beheadings, all that jazz. And I lied…Busta makes it out alive, allowing his character to learn a valuable moral lesson. Because that’s what Halloween movies are really all about. But seriously, between the weak story, run of the mill bland characters and destroying the ending of the previous film (taking away Laurie Strode’s triumph)? This is a lackluster followup. It’s not exciting, it does not draw you in to root for any of the characters. While H20 was two steps forward, Halloween Resurrection is four steps back. It’s barely better than the Curse of Michael Myers.
Lucky for all involved, this was not a career killer (pretty much everyone involved has kept trucking on). It’s just a real step down from the heights they had achieved for the franchise a few years earlier.
Hell, maybe for # 9 we can see the return of Conal Cochran.