A confession: at a callow 18, I saw the original Halloween upon its initial release, and it scared the crap out of me. I remember my buddy Jim and I climbing a deserted stairwell in an Edmonton parking lot right after the 9:30 p.m. screening and being ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that a psycho was waiting behind the door on every landing.
A lot of it had to do with youth, sure, but Halloween also had a couple of things going for it. Director John Carpenter was at the top of his suspenseful game and, more importantly, no one had yet seen anything like it. It's probably hard to imagine for anybody under the age of 35, but the combination of suspense, terror, shocking violence and sex that was Halloween knocked us for a loop. And Jim and I weren't alone: the movie made a ton of dough and spawned Jason, Freddy and other inferior bad-luck days and nightmares.
Still, in the beginning there was Michael Myers, murderer at the age of six, who escaped from an asylum and slaughtered a bunch of teens one Halloween in 1978. As Halloween: Resurrection gets under way, he's still on the loose, while it's his original prey Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis, gamely continuing the role she's played from the original, through the 1981 sequel and Halloween: H20, four years ago) now stuck in an asylum, awaiting the return of the fratricidal brother. And return he does.
Kicking off with a prologue that has a bit of style and a surprise plot twist, Halloween: Resurrection initially gives one hope, not least in the way that the face of Curtis' aging Laurie-herself now a murderer-has begun to resemble the MASK that Michael wears. Clever, that, but it's pretty well all down hill from there for director Rick Rosenthal, who made the original sequel (no oxymoron intended).
Riffing on the already boring reality-TV gimmick and drawing on sources as expected as the Scream trilogy, The Blair Witch Project, internet connectedness and the first Halloween (two scenes are taken almost directly from the original), the movie puts a bunch of college students, armed with head-mounted mini-cams connected to the internet, into Michael Myers' ancestral home. They are on the cutting edge of what would-be internet impresario Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes) calls "dangertainment." The idea is to stay overnight on Halloween and broadcast the interactions of the group-their bonding, discussions of the Myers phenomena, their fears, etc. Michael is, of course, waiting.
The film has moments of verbal humour ("We're going to be bigger than 'The Osbornes,'" one contestant breathlessly intones; "I SO did not sign up for this," says another after things go pear-shaped) and visual wit (the first death at the house is a direct homage to Michael Powell's classic Peeping Tom). But the combination of extremely grungy visuals, courtesy of all those "head-held" video cameras, and the body count's tedious inevitability make Halloween: Resurrection dead on arrival.