Halloween II (2009) Review

The opening to Halloween II is a typical slasher movie chase. After a brief reminder of previous events, we are back in Haddonfield where Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is being rundown by Michael Myers. Shockingly, or maybe not, he didn’t die in the first movie per genre rules.

The explanation for his survival is apparent. Picked up by two crude coroners who crash the transporting ambulance into a cow, Myers (Tyler Mane reprising his role) leaps out of completely unharmed, cuts up the dirtball’s transporting him, manages to walk to the hospital, and chase Laurie through the corridors.

Good thing that was all a dream… all 25-minutes of it. If any of that were true, it would be ridiculous.

But wait, if that was a dream that occurred all in Laurie’s head, how did he survive after being shot point blank? How could anyone not see a seven-foot tall mass murderer escaping the crime scene after falling (loudly) from the roof and multiple gunshots?

Wiping that slate clean and trying to recover after realizing what a complete waste of time the opening scenes were, Laurie begins a rapid mental downfall. She is haunted by images of her family, brought on by the trauma she experienced two years earlier.

Wait? Two years? Why didn’t Michael come back on the first year anniversary? Did he enjoy killing random southerners and eating their dogs (as the movie shows us) so much that he was able to forget his goal? Did he lose track of his cute kitten calendar?

Anyway, Laurie is living with her best friend who also miraculously survived the Myers’ assault. Laurie’s emotional state is slowly turning her into a stereotypical rebellious teenager, although someone who was attacked by a serial killer might be better off without the massive Charlie Manson poster over their bed.

Myers’ treks through random areas of the town (on Halloween of course), appearing out of nowhere to take down caricatures of real people, or anyone who would offer an excuse to showcase more female nudity. There is a lot of that, especially at an extended, pointless party sequence that has no effect on the story as a whole short of separating the characters for an easy kill. These characters make it so easy for the killer and utterly boring for the audience.

Movie ★☆☆☆☆ 

Zombie shot Halloween 2 on 16mm, which unfortunately wreaks havoc on this AVC encode. Artifacting is everywhere, ruining the intended gritty atmosphere by turning it into a digital nightmare. Every many-calories.net speck of grain seems to discolor or alter the images, blotting out nearly all fine detail. The format does produce sharp, rich images. Here, sadly, they exist behind a layer of noise.

Other problems include banding in smoky areas, notable after the 40-minute mark in the light coming from the car. The opening ambulance accident is also rough, smoke appearing as a digital blob rather than a gritty texture. A brief tussle with edge enhancement at 13:50 (look towards the wheels of the cart) passes too quickly to complain about.

There are highlights. Compared to the first Zombie Halloween, black levels here offer the depth necessary to convey the grim nature of the story. High fidelity detail, while rare, does offer some moments of note. Look at Laurie’s blue sweater near the half-hour mark, the stitching pattern clearly visible. An early surgery also brings out the ugliness of the gore effects. A series of dreams are soft, out of focus, and smoothed over, which is the intended look. The encode handles these scenes without a flaw.

Video ★★★☆☆ 

This sequel is slightly more active than its predecessor, with numerous scenes that allow this DTS-HD effort to shine. From the start as Laurie is walking down the street, a musical cue begins traveling around the soundfield, hitting each speaker with an eerie softness that is undoubtedly effective.

Heavy rain pounds the front and rear channels during the first attack sequence. Thunder casts a layer of scares and ambiance on the viewer. The Halloween party is filled with cheering attendees, and the music is full.

Halloween II does not contain any cheap scare cues. Myers’ prefers to randomly leap out at his victims when they least expect it, and always in front of the viewer. As such, the attack scenes may initially seem flat, but are aided by a throbbing low-end musical cue. Clean highs are evident as Myers’ smashes through doors and windows to find his next victim.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

A solo commentary by Rob Zombie begins the extras, followed by a wide array of 23 deleted scenes that run for 25-minutes. A blooper reel runs for a little over four minutes, while audition footage is included for seven different actors.

Make-up tests are split into three sections, barely running longer than three minutes total. Some improv stand-up from the Halloween party and six music videos from the band used in that scene run around 30-minutes combined. Trailers and typical BD-Live support remain.

Extras ★★★☆☆ 

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