It's Horror Movie Month! "Halloween II" Review

Photo Credit: Dimension Films

It's Horror Movie Month! "Halloween II" Review

Rating: R (Strong brutal bloody violence throughout, terror, disturbing graphic images, language, and some crude sexual content and nudity)
Length: 105 minutes
Release Date: August 28, 2009
Directed by: Rob Zombie
Genre: Horror

After the gruesome events of "Halloween II," which wreaked havoc on the population of the small town Laurie Strode, the protagonist of the film, was unfortunate enough to live in, she finds herself in a state of posttraumatic stress. Michael Myers nearly killed her the last time they encountered each other, and she is plagued by horrifying visions and nightmares of him finishing the job. After Laurie shot him, Michael was taken to the hospital only to regain consciousness in the ambulance and escape. With no leads on his current location, Laurie fears that the killer's obsession with her will make him follow her wherever she goes.

In an attempt to drown her fears, Laurie begins partying with her friends and tries to resume some semblance of a normal life. As Halloween approaches, old nightmares and even more frightening realities close in, threatening to undo everything she has worked so hard to achieve over the last year. As the film progresses, Laurie watches Michael's former psychiatrist, Dr. Samuel Loomis, as he capitalizes on the misfortunes of Michael's victims. Loomis has gone on a speaking tour to promote his controversial new book, which chronicles Michael's bloody exploits. The film focuses on Michael, Dr. Loomis, and Laurie, telling the story through each character's perspective.

The story lines of "Halloween II" converge when Laurie finally reads the book written by Dr. Loomis. To her horror, she discovers that she is really Angel Myers, the missing daughter of the Myers family and Michael's long-lost sister. Now Laurie understands why the killer is so obsessed with pursuing her, and she is forced to come to terms with the fact that they may have far more in common than she ever wanted to imagine. As Laurie desperately attempts to escape the bloody family reunion Michael has been planning, she discovers more about their mother and the past that led them both to where they are. Her attempts to return to normal life are short lived, as Michael shows up at each and every turn, wrecking even more havoc and chaos than in the first film.

Alternative-culture legend Rob Zombie takes the helm in this sequel to the remake of the "Halloween" franchise. The remade franchise boasts even more bloody thrills and chills than the original, and Zombie's directing and writing adds a decidedly gothic flair to the films. While the original soundtrack was featured prominently in Zombie's first remake, the second film has an almost completely original soundtrack, adding a modern edge to this classic story. The acting in the film is superb, making "Halloween II" more than a step above other films in the slasher genre. "Halloween II" delves into a deep and sinister background, making its villain all the realistic and terrifying. The fact that Michael Myers is genuinely insane makes his gruesome antics even more unsettling and lends believability to the film's at times over-the-top scenes.

Scout Taylor-Compton delivers a stirring performance as the film's leading lady, Laurie Strode. Laurie's character progression throughout the film is one of the most unsettling and gripping of any film in the slasher movie genre. Her character is intelligent and tough-minded, making it easy to cheer for her as she attempts to thwart Michael's bloody agenda. Taylor-Compton is far more than the standard scream queen, lending an impressive amount of depth and heart to her performance. As the film moves along, viewers can easily identify with Laurie as she uncovers horrific secrets that make her question her own identity. A shocking twist near the end of the film reveals even more old secrets and turns the entire concept of the franchise on its head. Even if Laurie and the town sheriff manage to dispatch Michael, an even more sinister and psychotic villain may just be ready to fill his blood-stained shoes.

"Halloween II" is a fun and terrifying addition to the horror movie genre. Fans of the classic "Halloween" franchise will appreciate the film for its attentiveness to the elements that made the original a classic as well as its ability to paint the story with a modern brush. "Halloween II" is by far the goriest addition to the "Halloween" franchise to date, but director Rob Zombie manages to pull off even the most grisly scenes in a way that fits in with the story. The plot is solid, and the actors, from the main leads to the supporting roles, portray their characters with conviction and depth. Watching "Halloween II" makes it is easy understand why Michael Myers has earned his place as one of the most terrifying horror movie villains of all time.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5