Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Halloween : Resurrection

The eighth in a once seemingly interminable franchise, Halloween: Resurrection tries to bring a contemporary feel to things with a plot about web-cams and reality TV. However, the whole thing is as tired and grating as any of the sequels and rip-offs that came in the wake of the original Halloween.

Set three years after the previous film, Halloween H20 (which, if you missed, we are brought up to speed on with some exposition dialogue and flashbacks), the film starts with Laurie Strode in a mental hospital after decapitating a man she thought was her brother, Michael Myers, the knife wielding masked killer of six of the previous seven Halloween films. However, once again, he lives to slash another day, and tracks Laurie down before finally fulfilling his life ambition and bumping her off. Still, it means the studio can put Jamie Lee Curtis on the poster, and no doubt, she was well paid for an afternoon’s work.

Therefore, after just 15 minutes, Myers is suffering something of an existential crisis, pondering what to do now he has no raison d'etre. Fortunately, for him at least, the second part of the film kicks in, with the answer to his prayers coming in the form of a group of teenagers who have agreed to spend Halloween night in the Myers childhood home. The rooms are all fitted with web-cams, and the people fitted with head cams, as part of an internet reality show created by new media moguls Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes) and Nora Winston (Tyra Banks). It is the web aspect, rather than the reality TV element that looks most dated now, as a cinematic style, it was old hat even on the film's release, a few years after The Blair Witch Project (the other pop culture reference point being video games, with one killing framed to look like the distinctive point-of-view of Doom)

In terms of the genre, the standard rules apply, so rather than fully formed characters, we get tropes, such as the too-cool-for-school Janeane Garofolo type, her blond bimbo friend, the wacky nerd, the wannabe rock god and the black guy who cooks, while, thanks to the killings being broadcast over the internet, a group of dopey teens at a Halloween party get to provide a Greek chorus, and anyone who finds themselves in adult situations involving sex or drugs is doomed.

The style is loud, slick, flashy gory, and the longer the film goes on, the harder it becomes not to compare it with the relatively restrained, creepy, ambiguous and well-constructed freshness of the original, made nearly 25 years earlier. Here, the filmmakers seem to have little to offer other than a topical cash-in, and the increasingly confusing and boring mythology of the franchise. If it did not have the latter, it may have fallen through the cracks to be soon forgotten, although perhaps it might have had more of a chance as a standalone affair. At one point in their encounter, Laurie tells Michael “You have failed because I am not afraid of you”, and I cannot think of a better summing up of this film.