A screaming fit of a film riposting a
remake, an original, it’s sequel and a (modern horror) genre in general. Given all that, of course it’s derivative but Zombie has fashioned an interestingly grotty series of riffs on the consequences of violence (whilst liberally adding more). Psychoanalysis this isn’t quite: the symbolism is heavy, the milieu unpleasant but it lingers in the mind or behind the mask I suppose.
Despite lacking snap, Zombie's bloodlust has never been so menacing. He uses the blueprint of his first film to deeper analyze the initially melodramatic character details. Both Myers genocide of his own kin due to past demons, and Strode's now present PTSD and survivor guilt, make it the first Halloween film that can effectively be dissected by Freud in relation to the id, the ego, and the nature/nurture debate.
An astonishing work. Zombie refines his grindhouse shlock into a thing of beauty, and his humanization of Myers pays rich dividends. This is a horror film less about the return of a monster than the wounds the monster left the first time. A family dismantled is reunited under a sky grey from the fallout of violence suffered and perpetuated. Humanity extracted from horror at its most inhuman.
For the first 25 minutes it's the greatest slasher film ever. Taut, gorgeously shot, eerie and perfectly accompanied by The Moody Blues in key scenes. Then we realize it was all a dream and the film becomes an uneasy drama resting on Taylor-Compton's abysmal performance (I was hoping to see her character turn into a smart, Ellen Ripley type rather than a whiny, selfish bitch). But, when it's working, it really soars.
What began as grisly, gritty realism in Zombie's first go-around becomes a bizarro, gritty (sur)realism in this one. Zombie is proving himself a formidable filmmaker, and he hits almost all of his marks here. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he has Brad Dourif at the helm, maybe the most underrated character actor in the business right now.
Like in the first part of his "Halloween" relaunch Rob Zombie has some fresh and original ideas to twist the story. Also there are some stunning visuals and the work with sound and music sometimes is incredible (e.g. when sound is turned off as a climax). Besides, the first 25 minutes are really hard slasher stuff.
After the very good reboot of the previous entry Zombie gets a little too ambitious with the psychological motivations but still manages to deliver the most bloody carnage of the entire series. Beautifully shot and exceptionally edited the film delivers on the slash but only gets lost in its mother fixations and white horses. It would be wise to let the series rest in peace at this point.
It's a shame people get so butt-hurt about the insanely overrated original Halloween movie so much that they become blinded and unable to appreciate the truly great filmmaking talent and originality Zombie brings to the rebooted franchise. Zombie's first Halloween is a much more visually interesting film than the other previous 8 Halloween films combined, but this sequel is a truly transcendental piece of art.