Reviewed November 5th, 2001 by David Nusair
Halloween 2 is essentially the horror equivalent of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Both films chose to follow-up the incredible success of their predecessors by eschewing original material and instead simply carbon-copying the best bits of the first film. And like the Austin Powers sequel, Halloween 2 winds up a shadow of the original by doing so.
Set on the same night as the events in the first film, Halloween 2 literally picks up right where the original left off. Jamie Lee Curtis has been sent to hospital due to her wounds after rumbling with Michael Myers, and Donald Pleasence must once again pick up the trail of the apparently unstoppable lunatic (the first Halloween ended with Myers absorbing – and surviving – six bullets to the chest courtesy of Pleasence). The majority of the flick takes place in the hospital, with Myers slowly but surely picking off everyone inside (except, of course, Curtis).
Halloween suffers from what most horror flicks seem to – the villain stops being scary after his first movie. Michael Myers, a terrifying bogeyman, is still an ominously creepy baddie but no longer has the element of surprise on his side. The first film essentially told us everything we need to know about him – he’ll kill anyone without hesitation, he’s virtually unstoppable, etc. – which now renders him moot. Well, maybe moot is a strong word, but he’s certainly not the horrifying figure he was in the original film if only because we already know what he’s capable of.
Halloween 2 also references the first flick far too often – from Myers’ animal-like cocked head after dispatching an innocent to a sequence right out of the original that features Curtis running away from a casually-walking Myers – which certainly hurts it. Halloween 2 would have been far more successful had it attempted to carve out its own niche instead of relying on what worked in its precursor.
That’s not to say it’s a complete wash, however. Curtis is just as good as she was in the original, striking the perfect balance of terror and strength. Equally good is Pleasence, although he does not get to utter his now infamous “pure evil” line once. The movie has been stylishly directed by Rick Rosenthal, but the plodding pace prevents the flick from becoming anything more than a dreary Halloween wannabe.
Audio: Halloween 2 is presented with a DD 2.0 soundtrack and it’s adequate. Ambient sounds are crisp and clear, while the electronic version of John Carpenter’s infamous score sounds great. Dialogue sounds a little muffled at times, but otherwise this is a decent track.
Video: Less decent is this 2.35:1 anamorphically enhanced transfer. While DVD-related artifacts are kept to a minimum, the transfer itself hasn’t aged all that well. There image is soft and various film-related artifacts pop up occasionally. This movie has looked a lot worse, but it could have been better.
Extras: While this was initially announced as a special edition, Rosenthal’s work on the upcoming eighth (!) installment of the franchise prevented that from happening. What we wind up with then, are some standard cast bios, a few pages of production notes (which are quite interesting and informative, actually, though far too short) and a full-screen trailer.
Halloween 2 doesn’t even come close to the simplicity and sheer terror of the original, but it’s certainly better than some of the other sequels that would follow.
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