Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Halloween: Resurrection

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Does a live Webcast of several college kids locked in a haunted house sound especially scary or clever to you? Not in this seventh sequel to director John Carpenter’s seminal slasher flick, Halloween (1978).

Don’t let the trailer or billing fool you: Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode, the heroine of both the original movie and Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998), becomes just a loose end to be tied up from H20. She cagily sits in her insane asylum cell prepared and waiting for the return of psycho-killer-bogeyman Michael Myers. It’s not a long wait and the part ends up a cameo, so don’t expect the depth Curtis brought to her last outings with Myers.

Depth of any kind is the last thing you should expect from this glorified B-movie. Characters can often be summed up in a few words. Jenna wants to be a star, so she signs herself up with her pals: Rudy, a cook (Sean Patrick Thomas), and Sara (Bianca Kajlich), the new heroine for impresario Freddie Harris’ (Busta Rhymes) Dangertainment productions Webcast promotion. The three buds (and some more college-age slasher fodder) enter Myers’ childhood home, the site of his first murder, strap on Webcams and make like the haunted-house edition of “The Real World” meets “Survivor.” Then Myers comes home.

The original Halloween was a cautionary tale. Carpenter called the bogeyman out from our closets and beneath our beds and trapped him on film. Myers was a new breed — Psycho’s Norman Bates meets indestructible, masked supervillain — but he played the same old role: parental enforcer. The subliminal message of Halloween became the subliminal message of a genre of knockoffs such as Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and a score of others: Lose your virginity and you’ll lose your life, kids. The Scream series parodied it, making it explicit.

Halloween: Resurrection continues in the same hackneyed vein. The retreaded scares still work, though there’s nothing spectacular about them. But this film is also a new cautionary tale — for Hollywood if no one else: If you give Busta Rhymes anything larger than a supporting role, he’ll glaringly prove that he can’t act; and if you don’t truly revive a sequel, it’ll die on the screen.

James Keith La Croix writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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