As Halloween: Resurrection kicks off, we're reintroduced to Laurie Strode for the third time. When last we saw our plucky heroine in the abysmally titled Halloween: H20, Laurie had lopped off the head of her mass-murdering older brother, seemingly putting an end fo the long-running Halloween franchise after twenty years and six sequels. H20 performed well enough at the box office to warrant an eighth installment, so exposition and an accompanying flashback reveal that...::gasp!::...that wasn't really Michael after all! Laurie inadvertently decapitated an innocent family man, and, racked with guilt, she's spent the past several years staring blankly outside her sanitarium window. Michael stops by to pay Laurie one final visit, and once Jamie Lee Curtis' contractual obligation is completed, the opening credits roll so that the mediocrity can really begin.
With two full decades of hunting his sister finally having come to a close, Michael strolls home to Haddonfield for a well-deserved rest. Before he can hang up his overalls, Mikey finds his decrepit familial home overrun with college students. Enterprising webcasters Dangertainment have recruited a bunch of bland twentysomethings to spend Halloween night at the Myers house, including such cardboard cutouts as The Wild Party Girl, The Black Guy Who Talks About Food A Lot, and The Smart Girl Who Uses Polysyllabic Words Just In Case Someone Around Her Doesn't Know That She's The Smart Girl. Their pal Sara (Bianca Kajlich) is the character we're supposed to root for because she's the only one aware that the whole thing is a bad idea. Since prancing through a vacant house isn't going to engage Internet viewers for hours on end, Dangertainment producer Freddie (Busta Rhymes) dons a set of blue overalls and Mikey's trademark mask, unaware that the genuine article is also skulking about. As the oversexed fodder is stalked and slashed, Sara relies on Internet penpal Deckard, who tries to remotely guide her through the house and out of harm's way.
Seemingly no one had high expectations for Halloween: Resurrection. Between forced reshoots, a lengthy string of delays, and a lack of press screenings, even Dimension Films seemed to know they had an unsalvagable turkey on their hands. Like most of the studio slashers produced over the past few years, Halloween: Resurrection is watered-down, inoffensive, and unwilling to take any risks. The body count is paltry, and the majority of the kills are boring, unimaginative, and practically bloodless stabbings. Though Rosenthal siezes every opportunity to try to toss in a jump scare, he's unable to elicit much of a reaction and utterly fails to generate any suspense or tension. The novelty of victims sporting video cameras may have seemed like a good idea in 1999, back when Halloween: H20 was taking in decent box office receipts and the unprecedented success of The Blair Witch Project was on everyone's lips. Especially three years later, it's not enough to carry an already limping film, and the gimmick quickly wears out its welcome.
Busta Rhymes' Freddie joins the ranks of the most unbearable characters ever to grace the silver screen, falling somewhere between Jar-Jar Binks and everything Chris Tucker has ever done. Busta's dialogue is rambling and repetitive, seemingly improvised from start to finish. These are actual quotes: "Who's betta than Wai Chung Lei? Come on, whoopin' everybody ass while he smokin' a cigarette. Aw, shit! Who's knockin' at my door this late? Whoever it is is distractin' me from watchin' Wai Chung Lei whoop some ass!" Toasting Tyra Banks' superfluous character: "This is to us for successfully putting together something collectively so ingenious as a team and a duo that we should definitely be able to secure a lot of food on the table for ourselves as long as everything goes as nicely as it's goin' right now." Terrifyingly enough, the chop socky Freddie was watching in his hotel room is revisited later in the movie. Freddie confronts Michael, flailing his arms frantically and belting out high-pitched squeals like a third-rate Bruce Lee. The cast of characters is unilaterally dull, and despite the prominent shots of Jamie Lee Curtis and Tyra Banks on the cover art, neither of them are of any remote significance to the overall story. Oh, and in case the question is gnawing on anyone's mind, yes, things are left open for a ninth installment. Though Halloween: Resurrection is an awfully low note to end a franchise on, I'd rather have no more sequels than another one as poorly conceived and executed as this one.
The limp and lifeless Halloween: Resurrection may be among the worst studio slashers of recent memory, but its release on DVD is otherwise impressive, featuring excellent audio/video quality and a healthy smattering of supplemental material.
Video: Halloween: Resurrection is presented in anamorphic widescreen at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. With the obvious exception of the low-resolution, noise-riddled video footage, the movie looks phenomenal. The image is crisp and detailed, and, as should be expected from a film so recently making its way out of theaters, it isn't marred by dust or assorted specks. The majority of the movie takes place in the dimly lit Myers house, and detail manages to hold up admirably even under these dark conditions. Not surprisingly, black levels remain deep and inky throughout. The negligible amount of film grain present throughout doesn't present much of a distraction, nor does it seem at all unusual for a Super35 production. As endless as my complaints were about the movie, I'm unable to find much to bitch about with its presentation on DVD. An excellent effort.
Audio: The English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is a powerhouse, teetering on showcase material. Surrounds are utilized frequently and effectively, invariably buzzing with discrete activity and building an immersive experience. As active as the rears are throughout Halloween: Resurrection, they don't come across as gimmicky or unnatural. The LFE also shines, summoning a hellish amount of bass and keeping the subwoofer thumping for most every second of the movie's runtime. The soundtrack creates an appropriately creepy atmosphere and plays a significant part in making the movie's rare effective moments work as well as they do.
Among the other language options provided on this disc are a six-channel French dub, English closed captioning, and subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.
Supplements: As lousy as Halloween: Resurrection is, Dimension Home Video pulled out all of the stops for its DVD release. The first option is an extensive gallery consisting of around 75 production stills. Although the majority of the supplements on this disc sport a 'View All' option, navigating through the still gallery does require plenty of button mashing.
The disc's audio commentary pairs director Rick Rosenthal with editor Robert Ferretti. In between occasionally lengthy gaps of dead air, Rosenthal talks about how much he enjoyed working with the cast and seems especially intrigued with the twenty-someodd hours of webcam footage compiled over the course of filming. The emphasis is very much on the production of the movie rather than taking viewers through the entire process from concept to completion. Neither Ferretti nor Rosenthal are particularly energetic, and I found myself drifting off to sleep a couple of times.
There are six deleted and extended scenes that run just over seven minutes total, and the letterboxed footage can be viewed individually or consecutively. The labels are pretty self-explanatory -- "Freddie and Nora In the Control Room", "Contestant Interviews", "Sara and Jenna Dropping Out", "Michael Driving Up to House", "Photo Album", and "Sara & Freddie At Car". Rick Rosenthal has provided optional commentary for each, though he remains largely silent for the duration. Rosenthal's brief comments are mostly limited to saying why the footage was trimmed, but he does note that Busta lifted a handshake of his and made it his own trademark. In the movie's commentary, Rosenthal makes reference to other deleted scenes, including Michael stealing a car and a home movie intro shot on Super8, but neither these sequences nor the Tyra Banks kill are included.
Three alternate endings -- "Original Ending With Deckard", "CSI Hand In Manhole", and "Axe Ending" -- can be viewed with the same set of options, though they're corralled in a separate section of the disc. The CSI ending has a solid, if telegraphed, jump scare, and the axe ending tacks a few extra seconds of footage onto what made the final cut. The less said about the embarrassing Deckard ending, the better. Rosenthal is slightly more talkative when commenting about this footage, though he doesn't express much of a preference or mention why these endings were dropped.
"WebCam Special" is a compilation of some of the video footage partially incorporated into the film, running a lengthy 41 minutes and 19 seconds. Including this extensive amount of footage is an interesting and welcome concept, but I found it awfully tedious to sit through in this case. Not surprisingly, Rick Rosenthal again provides optional commentary, though I'll admit to not having given it a listen.
In the six and a half minute "Tour of Set With Production Designer" featurette, Troy Hansen walks viewers through the Myers house, explaining some of the liberties he took and why certain design decisions were made. "On the Set With Jamie Lee Curtis", which runs right at four minutes in length, is a mixture of behind-the-scenes footage and fluffy interviews with the cast and crew. The four minute head-cam featurette takes a look at the working lipstick cameras worn by the cast and the evolution of the concept throughout pre-production.
There are five brief storyboard comparisons for several of the movie's more intense sequences. The Angle feature available on most DVD players allow viewers to see the footage side-by-side or on their own. These comparisons can also be viewed individually or consecutively.
"Sneak Peeks" includes a promo for 'Dimension Cutting Edge Films" and trailers for Halloween: H20, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, the Scream box set, and Gangs of New York. All are full-frame except for the letterboxed Gangs trailer. These are accessible from the main menu and play by default when the disc is inserted. For whatever reason, a trailer for Halloween: Resurrection itself isn't on the disc.
Halloween: Resurrection features static menus and is divided into fourteen chapters.
Conclusion: Halloween: Resurrection is a phenomenal DVD by any conceivable standard. Too bad the same can't be said about the movie. Halloween completists will still gobble it up, but those with more of a casual interest will want to stick with a rental. Rent It.