Halloween II

2009 / 119m - USA
Halloween II poster

With the resurrection of the horror genre a shortage of clever concepts was imminent, and so the American remake machine geared up for another run. Most of the true 70s and 80s classics are already blessed a make-over, but now it seems these remakes are actually spawning sequels of their own. It makes you wonder where all of this is leading to, on the other hand it doesn't necessarily make for bad films. Enter Zombie's Halloween II.

screen cap of Halloween 2

Halloween II is already the 10th instalment in the famous Myers series. The first remake (also by Zombie) was not so much a simple remake as a prequel and remake in one. The first half of the film was new, the second half a pretty strict retelling of Carpenter's original film. Now Zombie made a sequel, referring slightly to the original Halloween II but ultimately travelling a different path. Pretty messy for those trying to keep track of the saga, but not a bad choice as the second Halloween film from the original series wasn't all that good to begin with.

The first remake changed a few things about the Myers legend, mostly related to Myers' own character. No longer was he the silent outline behind the bushes transporting from point A to B with supernatural swiftness, but he became a person with a background who was able to produce noises of his own. This didn't work too well in the first film, but somehow it's less of an issue in Zombie's sequel. It seems that Zombie needed his first film to recreate the setting, waiting for this sequel to recreate the icon. And he does so with plenty of flair.

screen cap of Halloween 2

The story picks up where Zombie's first film stopped. Laurie survives, Myers is left for dead, everything seems wrapped up. The first fifteen minutes roughly follow the original Halloween II outline, then Zombie shift to a different gear and follows his own path. Zombie's sequel puts a bigger focus on Myers' relationship with his mother and makes Myers into a killer out to reunite his family in death.

Visually Zombie takes several steps forward. He makes splendid use of lighting to craft Myers into a massive lump of human madness, often lighting the killer with spots from the back, accentuating his massive outlines. The camera work is still rock solid and heightens the adrenaline during the killings. Even though somewhat freehand and shaky, it's not difficult at all to make out what's happening.

The soundtrack is decent, but Zombie's background in music isn't always beneficial to the film. His choice of music certainly isn't mine, though for the most part the music flows rather well with the images. Acting is pretty good for a film like this, with Dourif in one of his best roles so far, and even the scream queens being semi decent. Add to that the dark 'n dirty setting and you can rest assured that the typical Zombie stamp is as present as ever.

screen cap of Halloween 2

Halloween II is very much a slasher movie with a focus on the killings. They might not be too original, but they are very brutal and graphic. There is a back story pushing the film forward but it's definitely not as present as in Zombie's first remake. The scenes with Myers' family do add a lot though, as they are chillingly mysterious and superbly shot.

Halloween II might not be the purest of films, driven by the purest of choices, but the result is a smashingly good slasher flick. It's raw and dirty, recreating a different Myers and succeeding with ease. Zombie really made the series his own, making it easier to forget the old Myers and accept the new one. He needed two films for that, but I'm actually a bit disappointed to hear he won't continue this Halloween series. Possibly the best Halloween film, including all the old ones.