Movie review, 'Halloween: Resurrection'

HolidaysEntertainmentHalloweenMoviesArts and CultureJamie Lee CurtisTyra Banks

The big question about this eighth installment in the "Halloween" franchise — after why at all — is, why now? A scream-filled fright-fest with jack-o'-lanterns, costume parties and things that go bump in the night being released in July? Go figure.

Of course, it matters little when the film actually hits theaters.

Twenty-four years after the first and, without question, the best "Halloween" started the avalanche of slash-and-slaughter films and gave birth to the screen career of Jamie Lee Curtis, it's just the fanatics and the undiscriminating that remain interested in masked Mike Myers and his umpteenth return. Even the presence of Curtis, who is solid in her brief opening scene as stalwart Laurie Strode, can't breath new life into this weary, if technically well-made, clone.

Also returning from the past is director Rick Rosenthal, who helmed the bad first sequel "Halloween II" in 1981. Here he follows the standard and much-spoofed formula of having a bunch of teenagers gather in a spooky place where they are serially knocked off by Myers and his big shiny knife. This time, the vaguely amusing pretense has assorted students from Haddonfield College spending the night in Myers' suburban Illinois childhood home on Halloween. The teens have been selected as contestants on "Dangertainment," a live Internet reality show presided over by an opportunistic impresario played by Busta Rhymes and his assistant (Tyra Banks).

The mix of cyberspace and reality TV with old-fashioned scare tactics (Yes, women still venture into dark places alone asking, "Who's there?" especially if they've just had sex) brings a semblance of novelty to the film. The teens wear mini-cameras strapped to their heads, so we see the ominous rooms from their digital point of view, giving the whole thing a choppy, grainy Big Brotheresque quality.

The film exploits the "Halloween" legend by turning Myers into a cult figure in his hometown. Every kid has grown up hearing so many creepy stories that the legend has attained mythlike status and lost the ability to shock. The teens that scoff the loudest at the scary effects in the ramshackle house we know will be among the first to go.

The idea of blurring myth and truth, cyberspace and reality — and the Internet generation's response to it — provides at least some context for this film. But it is still no match for a teen impaled on a giant dagger. Like its parade of predecessors, this "Halloween" is a gory slash-fest. It can't escape its past, and it doesn't want to.

1 1/2 stars (out of 4)
"Halloween: Resurrection"
Directed by Rick Rosenthal; screenplay by Larry Brand and Sean Hood. A Trancas International Films release; opens Friday, July 12. R for strong violence, language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Laurie Strode--Jamie Lee Curtis
Nora Winston--Tyra Banks
Sara Moyer--Bianca Kajlich
Jim Morgan--Luke Kirby
Michael "The Shape" Myers--Brad Loree
Donna Chang--Daisy McCrackin

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