Rocker turned writer-director Rob Zombie returns to the horror field with this visually ambitious and aggressively brutal follow-up to his 2007 reinvention of John Carpenter’s seminal slasher Halloween
. The 1981 sequel to the Carpenter film is completely ignored here (and for good reason) in favor of an extension of the central focus of Zombie’s Halloween
, and all of his films, for that matter: the corruption at the heart of the nuclear family. Here, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor Compton) is attempting to heal the psychic wounds from her previous encounter with brother Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) by bonding with Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif, a pleasure to watch as always) and his daughter Anne (Danielle Harris, herself a vet from the original run of Halloween sequels). Her previous surrogate father, Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) has forsaken his connection to Laurie by exploiting his connection to Michael with a tell-all book; meanwhile, Michael himself roams the lonely outskirts of Haddonfield, driven by visions of his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) and a single-minded urge to bond with his sister at any cost.
Aesthetically, H2 is striking, thanks largely to the ashen color scheme by cinematographer Brandon Trost (Crank 2: High Voltage), which underscores the doom-laded spiral track each of the main characters seem to travel in the film. And Zombie is to be commended for venturing outside of his comfort zone--the grimy, pop-culture ironic, white trash environment his characters frequently inhabit--with the scenes between Michael and his mother. But again, his ambitions don’t meet with his abilities--Moon looks impressive, but her apocalyptic mutterings ring more silly than spectral, especially when she’s forced to play opposite an enormous pale horse (insert heavy-handed Biblical imagery here). Most fans will find these moments more tedious than inspired, and a distraction from the murders, which retain Zombie’s preference for mayhem. He succeeds in this department, but if the end result is a menu of ugly killings, the point of revamping the Halloween franchise is somewhat moot, since the threadbare follow-ups to the Carpenter original already achieved that goal. Zombie’s knack for offbeat casting remains his most inspired talent: Haddonfield is filled with cult icons like Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Margot Kidder, and Daniel Roebuck, who jostle for space with rough-hewn character players like Duane Whitaker, Mark Boone Junior, and Dayton Callie (Deadwood) and left-field cameos by Howard Hesseman and “Weird Al” Yankovic. --Paul Gaita
Rob Zombie's H2 (HALLOWEEN) picks up at the exact moment that 2007's box-office smash, HALLOWEEN stopped and follows the aftermath of Michael Myers's (Tyler Mane) murderous rampage through the eyes of heroine Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor Compton).