It's not easy being a middle-aged serial killer in the movies. The bones begin to creak, the muscles ache, and someone's always trying to reinvent your genre. The "Friday the 13th" folks blasted poor Jason, hockey mask and all, into outer space for "Jason X," and now, in "Halloween: Resurrection," Michael Myers is turned loose in cyberspace.
The eighth entry in the franchise (although "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" had only its title in common with the other films) marks the return of Rick Rosenthal, who directed "Halloween II," and was written by Larry Brand and Sean Hood. The movie starts off chillingly enough with John Carpenter's theme music from the original 1978 "Halloween" playing over the opening credits. Unfortunately, that's the peak of fright for the film. It's like a roller coaster that starts you off with a nice, slow, anticipation-building climb to the top, only to drop you off on the kiddie coaster in Toontown.
Things immediately bog down with a 15-minute prologue, which includes a rehash of 1998's "Halloween: H20" that provides a more than thorough explanation for Michael's reappearance after his supposed decapitation. Think of it as a dummies' guide to slasher movies. Once Michael's return is established and he has rendezvoused with favorite prey Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who is ensconced in a mental hospital after their last encounter, we move onto the actual setup for "Halloween: Resurrection." Six bright-eyed, attractive college students are recruited by entrepreneur Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes) for a contest in which they spend Halloween night in Myers' childhood home. Freddie, along with his sexy assistant Nora (Tyra Banks), has dreamt up something called "Dangertainment," which through the use of hidden cameras and lipstick cams worn by the contestants, cybercasts the whole thing over the Internet. The concept allows the film to take some meek swipes at unscripted-television shows like "Survivor" and "Big Brother," but they're mostly lame, since that genre burst into self-parody virtually on inception.
It takes far too long to get them locked in the house for the night, but once they are, the six contestants are to look for clues as to what made Michael into such a monster. Played by Bianca Kajlich, Luke Kirby, Daisy McCrackin, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Katee Sackhoff and Sean Patrick Thomas, the sextet does the usual horror movie things: open doors they shouldn't, run upstairs, enter rooms from which there is only one escape (generally the one he is blocking) and engage in sexual foreplay and illegal drug use.
Anyone with a passing familiarity with the sex-and-drugs rules of horror films won't have any trouble figuring out who will survive a game, which makes getting voted off the island look very appealing. As the movie's ads promise, evil does find its way home, and it's not long before the contest is a bloodbath.
The film also attempts to break up the gore and interject humor into the proceedings by taking various self-referential stabs at itself, but after a combined total of five "Scream" and "Scary Movie" entries, this is well-trod territory. It's not the worst film in the series--"Halloween III" will never be unseated--but there's not nearly enough scares, or humor, to make "Halloween: Resurrection" worthwhile.
MPAA rating: R, for strong violence, language, some sexuality and brief drug use. Times guidelines: The camera doesn't linger on the gore, and the nudity is fleeting.
Busta Rhymes...Freddie Harris
Bianca Kajlich...Sara Moyer
Thomas Ian Nicholas...Bill
Sean Patrick Thomas...Rudy
Jamie Lee Curtis...Laurie Strode
Brad Loree...Michael Myers
Moustapha Akkad presents a Nightfall production, released by Dimension Films. Director Rick Rosenthal. Producer Paul Freedman. Executive producer Moustapha Akkad. Screenplay by Larry Brand and Sean Hood, story by Larry Brand, based on characters by Debra Hill and John Carpenter. Cinematographer David Geddes. Editor Robert A. Ferretti. Costume designer Brad Gough. Music Danny Lux; original "Halloween" theme John Carpenter. Production designer Troy Hansen. Art director David MacLean. Set decorator Johanna Mazur. Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.
In general release.