This Week at the Movies: Halloween II

Halloween II is the second installment of writer/director Rob Zombie’s remake of the 1978 horror classic of the same name. For those with a weak constitution, this may not be the movie for you. Every scene is a psychological bombardment of imagery designed to make the viewer squirm in their seats and continually contemplate opening their eyes for just a second. However, if you have the stomach for heavy violence, don’t totally discount this movie as another poorly constructed horror flick. Halloween II delivers an enjoyable movie-going experience with enough cheap thrills and downright shocking moments to hold just about anyone’s interest.

The plot is fairly standard for a slasher film. The film picks up directly after the events of the first film where serial killer Michael Meyers (Tyler Mane) has escaped from captivity. For those who haven’t seen the first film, the opening can be a little jarring. The film doesn’t lend itself to those unfamiliar with the series. Characters are poorly introduced and the viewer has to often ask the question, “Why is this person here?”

The rest of the film takes place one year after the events of the first film. Laurie Strode (Scout-Taylor Compton) is dealing with the emotional duress of the brutal murders of her parents by Meyers. She is often plagued by nightmares, which are depicted in scenes that invoke a kind of art school surrealism. Apart from the scenes of Meyer’s brutal slayings, much of the film is based around Strode’s interactions with other characters, which mainly have something to do with mental breakdowns, screaming and babbling about nothing at all. As the film progresses and Michael Meyers makes his sadistic return on Halloween night, these two characters are brought together by the startling revelation of their connection. It’s not a brilliant work of cinematic story-telling, but the pacing keeps the viewer intrigued enough to stay in their seats.

Where this movie really shines however is in its production value. The vivid cinematography is a visual orgy of extreme close-ups and ground shots that fit perfectly in the horror genre. The use of flashbacks and splicing of individual frames throughout the film really add to the atmosphere. No shot seems inappropriate in a scene or unsettling (apart from the gory subject matter). The eerie green tint that the movie takes on does an excellent job of setting a tone and only makes the deep crimson of Meyers’ murders even more noticeable. The sound design in the film is also worth noting. Every stab of a knife or thud of a body is beautifully orchestrated and has a very organic feel. The sound of skulls being crushed has never sounded so real. The soundtrack is also quite good. While one might expect a rather metal-heavy score, there is a nice combination of modern alternative and classics such as “Knights in White Satin” that fit nicely into the narrative.

On the whole, Halloween II is an entertaining film. It is not groundbreaking, and it most certainly is not a masterpiece, but at the same time it is not one of those laughably bad horror movie drones that is not even worth noting. For those who choose to go see Halloween II, you’ll go for the experience of getting a little scared and shocked, but at the same time finding yourself having a good time. Look for anything deeper or of serious intelligence, and you’ll probably be disappointed. So ditch the preconceptions. Just go out and enjoy a night at the movies.