Starring: Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich and Jamie Lee Curtis
RRP: 17.99
Certificate: 15
Available now

After finally seeing off his sister, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) notorious killer Michael Myers returns to the derelict house of his childhood in Haddonfield. Unfortunately for the participants, this coincides with an Internet reality show where six teens have been selected to spend the night. It is being organised by the budding production company DangerTainment - whose employee Freddie has arranged a series of props to be triggered or discovered in a bid to raise viewing figures. But there is a sudden realisation that Myers has been living under the house since the events which took place in Halloween H20. When bodies are discovered dispatched by various gruesome means, the others assume it is a trick to heighten tension. One of the camera-carrying participants corresponds, via her pocket PC, with a friend who is watching the reality show at a party. In this respect he is able to issue her warnings and advice. But the unfeeling killer is far from camera shy...

The handful of reviews I've come across from various sources over the last few months all have this film down as beneath consideration. I think that's more than a little unfair. Admittedly, if John Carpenter's original Halloween is premier league, then Resurrection is probably second division. But then that classic had a new psychotic character who never spoke, an original premise and a straightforward plot. Once you reach eight movies (seven featuring Michael Myers) the difficulty is in keeping the format fresh and exciting. Most people who have seen at least one of the prequels will know who Michael is, what he does, how he moves, and his weapon of preference. You see the problem? Halloween Resurrection at least attempts to do something different with the franchise.

According to director Rick Rosenthal, aside from the small cameras attached to one ear of each of the teen participants, there was also a number of fixed surveillance cameras positioned around the house (one in each room and two in the hallway, facing up and down the stairs). In this manner, he was able to switch between film camera shots and various haphazard-appearing video sequences; therefore allowing the viewing audience to watch from several integrated perspectives. Whether this makes the film more frightening is debatable. Resurrection suffered from bad timing in its cinema release, coinciding uncomfortably with My Little Eye, a film with a similar premise. It somehow manages to balance precariously between that movie and the obvious connections with The Blair Witch Project. The former had wall-mounted cameras manipulated by an outside influence, whereas the latter was shot totally on handheld video cameras. Blair Witch was something that Rosenthal wanted to stay away from, so 40 minutes of video sequences became only ten minutes spliced into the film.

The plot is a little thin, but this reflects more on the characters than the format. The simple fact is that you don't care if they live, die or go shopping. The Halloween films always will be more about Michael Myers than anyone who comes into contact with him. The best part of the film is the pre-titles segment right at the beginning. There is a certain kind of completion with Michael tracking down Laurie in a psychiatric hospital. A nice touch is the boy who wears the clown mask and recites statistics concerning Ed Gacy, one of America's infamous serial killers; although why Michael gives the boy his knife is beyond me (can a cold, inhuman killer even consider someone to be his protégé?). Myers was created by John Carpenter to be a bogeyman who lurks in the shadows and darkness; he is the blackness of our subconscious. Instead, he is heading closer to the Jason Vorhees character from the Friday the 13th films. Ironically, when stalking the empty rooms of his old house the distance shots don't work half as effectively as the off-kilter close-ups.

For fans of the Halloween franchise, like myself, there are some extras well-worth taking the time to view. As well as a director commentary, there are six deleted or extended scenes (available with optional director commentary), three alternate endings (they should have gone with the axe one, but were probably worried about the prospective ninth film), a webcam special (with the full 40 minutes mentioned earlier), a tour of the set with the production designer, storyboard comparisons, an on the set featurette with Jamie Lee Curtis and others taking about her character, a head cam featurette, and a photo gallery. Phew!

This is not the best Halloween film in the series, but neither is it the worst; that dubious honour belongs to The Curse of Michael Myers (with all that pretentious backstory about bloodlines). Resurrection is an average contribution, rather than the derisive one many have labelled it with. In retrospect, it's a number of missed opportunities. The franchise, like Michael Myers, is still alive and kicking, but it needs reinventing; a rethink similar to what Jason Vorhees got for Jason X.

Ty Power

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