halloween 8Apparently it’s impossible to keep a masked homicidal maniac down. Despite being shot numerous times at point blank range (“Halloween”), engulfed in a raging inferno (“Halloween 2”), and stabbed multiple times before eventually losing his head (“Halloween H20”); it seems that nothing can stop Michael Myers from partaking in his favorite trick-or-treating past time… murder. Five years after “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” appeared to bring the franchise to a satisfying close, Michael has returned for more All Hallows’ Eve mayhem in “Halloween: Resurrection”.

“Halloween: Resurrection” finds Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) locked away in a psychiatric hospital after the events of the previous film. All appearances to the contrary, Laurie is not as disturbed as she lets on, but is merely biding her time as she awaits her brother’s inevitable return. Meanwhile, back in Haddonfield a reality TV show is taking place with six teenagers being asked to spend one night in the childhood home of Michael Myers. What was intended to be a major ratings bonanza for the show courtesy of some cheaply staged scares and urban legends run amok, turns into a night of terror when Michael finally comes back home.

Let’s take a moment to break down the quality of the “Halloween” franchise, albeit only recognizing those movies included in the generally accepted continuity. The first film was innovative in its methods and overall execution, not to mention it created an entire sub-genre of film; although it did contain some weak points courtesy of hit-and-miss character development and dialogue. Number two amplifies the problems from the first film, while at the same time replacing genuine scares with too much gore. Skip ahead 17 years after “Halloween 2” and “H20” does its level best to correct the past mistakes of the series in an attempt to recapture the essence of the original; plus, it supposedly gives fans a satisfactory ending to the series’ 20-year long storyline.

In summation, we find that the first and third movies in the established continuity are good, but the second by comparison could be considered bad. So, if one believes that history can, and will, repeat itself, then one could easily presume that the next film in the series will also be bad. Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering, “Does history repeat itself within this franchise?” The answer is… Yes, I believe it does.

Trust me when I say that going into this movie I did try my best to keep an open mind about the prospect of another installment despite the fact that the series felt resolved. Mostly I was curious to see how the “creative” minds behind this series were going to prove Michael Myers un-killable, at least permanently, this time around (hence the subtitle of the film).

Surprisingly the story for this installment, written by Larry Brand (“The Right Temptation”) and Sean Hood (“The Crow: Wicked Prayer”), did seem to show some promising signs that perhaps the audience would be in store for a good movie. The concept of once again creating that voyeuristic feel to the proceedings via webcams, rather than the first-person viewpoint of Michael, was for all intents and purposes intriguing. Even though the reasoning for Michael still being alive after the last film was a little too convenient for my tastes; the result of this retcon (retroactive continuity) to “H20” had potential for yet another exciting showdown between brother and sister. Alas, as is so often the case with horror franchises that have dragged on for far too long, the chances of having yet another “good” installment becomes more and more fleeting.

While some plot points could have been interesting if handled properly, the end result was nothing more than a boring exercise in by-the-book horror filmmaking. The online reality show set in Michael’s house was made completely annoying due to the fact that almost every single character was written to be as irritating as humanly possible. Although there was one tolerable character named Sara (Bianca Kajlich), her role was ruined by some inexplicable character quirks that should not have been left unexplained. At almost every turn, the writers squandered countless opportunities for character development within the story. Instead, they opted to introduce more and more character ticks and/or flaws to make them seem more fascinating, but without the use of helpful exposition the writers were never able to fully sell these eccentricities to the audience.

Then there’s the issue, or should I say issues, surrounding the retcon of the closing moments from “H20”. As I stated earlier, this modification to the story did present a potentially engaging twist; however, when all’s said and done, the change just felt like a sad excuse to keep the franchise going. The retcon also enabled a return appearance by Jamie Lee as Laurie, although this proved to be little more than a disappointing cameo that had no real significant impact on the overall story for the film. Truth be told, the series would have been better off had it ended after the conclusion of the previous movie. At least then the fans would have been satisfied with the series’ finale; instead of being left with this poorly executed attempt at a follow-up.

Continuing the trend of weakness that permeates almost every inch of this film is the cast of actors and actresses assembled to annoy audiences to seemingly no end. Honestly, there are no real standouts in the movie to speak of, I mean, there are a couple of decent performances (one of them I mentioned earlier), but nothing to get excited over. To be fair I will elaborate a little further on Bianca Kajlich’s performance, along with touching on the shameless appearance by Jamie Lee Curtis, and lastly, chastise the casting of rappers and/or models that cannot act to save their lives.

In what comes as close to the starring role as one could get in this horror movie ensemble is actress Bianca Kajlich (TV’s “Rules of Engagement”). Throughout her performance there were moments where Bianca shined, displaying a sincerity and innocence that hadn’t been seen in the series since the first film. However, some oddities about her character that never get explained and a generally uninteresting story arc overshadow anything positive that she could have accomplished in the role.

As for Jamie Lee’s part in the film, can anyone say “stunt casting”? Her portion of the movie was the biggest waste of time out of the entire duration. Granted the reason for her story’s occurrence is vital to the continuation of the series; even with that, one cannot deny that the end result feels like an insult to everything the previous film achieved. At least I can say that Jamie Lee was given more to do in this glorified cameo than the entirety of her role in the dismal “Halloween 2”. Jamie Lee should have been wise enough to just say “No” to this movie, and maybe the series would have ended on a high note rather than in despondency. For those not aware, “Halloween: Resurrection” is for all intents and purposes the final installment in the original franchise; a reboot of the series began in 2007 under the direction of Rob Zombie (“The Devil’s Rejects”).

Last, and definitely least of all, are the talent-less performers (in terms of acting), Busta Rhymes (“Shaft”) and Tyra Banks (“Coyote Ugly”). For the most part, I am not a fan of rappers turned actors, I don’t think they have the chops to play with the big boys, so to speak. I will admit that there are some exceptions that could be found. So, perhaps I should say most gangsta rappers shouldn’t be considered for movie roles, even for something as inane as a horror film. The problem with Busta Rhymes was that he was so over-the-top in his delivery, that it was obvious he was just playing a slightly caricaturized version of himself. Of course, there’s also his character’s obsession with all things martial arts and his apparent skill with that obsession that seemed a little unusual and frankly, unbelievable. Some screenwriters need to learn that adding character quirks does not equal instant character development or generate further interest from the audience.

Models on the other hand are not necessarily as limited in range as the previous grouping, but that’s not to say that all of them need to find their way onto a movie set either. Tyra Banks’ performance in the film, much like Busta Rhymes, seemed to be an exaggerated impersonation of her celebrity persona. Her portrayal was much livelier than Busta’s, and her dialogue didn’t appear to be nearly as limited to slang. Still, I never really believed her in the role, she just didn’t seem tenacious enough to be in the position of power she found herself in. I hope that this movie will mark the final time she is ever considered for a part in a movie, even if the role is that of a model.

“Halloween: Resurrection” not only lessened the impact of the previous film on the series, but also wasted any and all opportunities to capitalize on the retconning that occurred early on in this film. Jam-packed with annoying characters, hackneyed set-ups and dialogue, and let’s not forget an overbearing sense of predictability; this sequel is just another shameless attempt to cash in on a franchise that has apparently lost every shred of quality and entertainment value.

As an interesting side note, the director of this film, Rick Rosenthal, just so happened to be the director of the ill-conceived “Halloween 2”. What are the odds that the same director would be responsible for the weakest installments in the official continuity of the series? Apparently, the odds are quite good, much to the audiences’ dismay.

“Halloween: Resurrection” is rated R for violence, language, and nudity/sexuality.