You can't keep a good horror villain down, especially with some of the most successful genre franchises in history. "Halloween" first premiered in 1979, and thirty years later the saga continues, with director and musician Rob Zombie at the helm. Zombie gave the franchise a reboot last year with a retelling of the first film and, apparently, that film managed to be successful enough to put a sequel into motion.
The sequel is another rough-and-tumble outing from the director, going further into the darkness. Once again, the picture follows Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), who - a year earlier - thought she had ended the rampage of Michael Meyers (Tyler Mane), but the body was never recovered. Not surprisingly, it's not long before Michael is on the warpath again.
The characters remain hollow shells of their former selves, with Laurie clearly traumatized by the events of the prior film. While she's aided by Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and friend Annie (Danielle Harris), there's not much that can stop Michael when he comes back - guided by visions of Deborah Myers (Sheri Moon Zombie) - to try and finish what he started.
Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) is profiting off a book he's written regarding the events that occurred a year prior, but his capitalizing off the events that occurred is met with criticism when he tries to promote his book. Still, by the end of the film, Loomis has entangled himself in trouble once again.
Zombie's follow-up outing in the series is once again a pitch-black horror film that not only remains consistently dark and brutal, but also adds an effectively raw, gritty look (the picture was filmed in the gritty, grainier 16mm format.) The film certainly builds atmosphere (and absolutely is a hard "R"), delivering a chilling sense of dread. At 120 minutes, however, the the intense film becomes a little wearying; bringing the picture down to 100-105 minutes or so would have been a benefit.
The picture also benefits from good direction and fine performances, as Scout Taylor-Compton offers a solid effort both from a horror standpoint and from a dramatic standpoint. Malcolm McDowell, Mane and others offer very good supporting efforts, as well. Overall, Zombie continues to prove himself a solid genre director - I'd be interested in seeing what he could do with different material.
This is the unrated edition.
VIDEO: "Halloween 2" is presented on Blu-Ray in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are quite good, especially considering the 16MM format filming. Video quality remains tight and clean throughout the proceedings, with sharpness and detail that were better-than-expected, considering the 16MM format. Grain was visible, but was handled well by the transfer. No edge enhancement or artifacting were spotted, and the picture was free of print flaws. Colors remained dark and moody throughout the proceedings, but appeared accurately presented.
SOUND: The film is offered with a powerful DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack. While a number of scenes deliver a tense, pin-drop atmosphere, the sound design also handles the intense action/scare sequences just as well. The surrounds kick in fairly often, delivering effective creep-out sound effects, ambience and reinforcement of the music. Audio quality was terrific, with deep bass and clear, well-recorded dialogue.
EXTRAS: Commentary With Writer/Director Rob Zombie, audition footage, make-up footage, music videos, stand-up routines and deleted/alternate scenes. BD-Live features include MovieIQ (trivia and other tidbits about the movie.)
Final Thoughts:Overall, Zombie continues to prove himself a solid genre director with this "Halloween" sequel - I'd be interested in seeing what he could do with different material. The Blu-Ray edition boasts good video quality, very fine audio quality and a nice set of bonus features. Recommended for fans.
The Film B-