Halloween: Resurrection

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In the very popular deleted scenes found on the “Waiting for Guffman” DVD, there is a scene where Libby Mae uses a monologue from an unnamed, non-existent play to audition for the show. In the monologue, a woman lectures her brother, now insane and dying, on the evils he had previously perpetrated against her. Finally, she says, “I’ll see you in hell, Billy” and lets him die.

Compare this with an early scene in “Halloween: Resurrection,” featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, wife of “Waiting for Guffman” mastermind Christopher Guest. She has captured her evil brother Michael Myers, who has previously perpetrated quite a number of crimes against her, and she intends to let him die. What does she say? “I’ll see you in hell.”

It probably wasn’t supposed to make me laugh, but 1) I had just watched the “Guffman” scenes a few nights earlier, and 2) She kissed Michael on the mouth before she said it. This is a pretty twisted relationship these two have, one of them mass-murdering and the other one giving the first one some pre-death lovin’.

And so begins “Halloween: Resurrection,” an unnecessary sequel to a brain-dead franchise.

As is often the case with these movies, the “resurrection” of the title is blatantly false. (Part 3, “Season of the Witch,” contained neither a season nor any witches; Part 5, “The Revenge of Michael Myers,” did not feature any scenes of Michael getting revenge; and “Halloween H20” contained no scenes revolving around water.) Michael has not come back to life, for indeed, he was never dead. At the end of “Halloween H20,” it was not Michael whom Laurie Strode (Curtis) beheaded. It was a paramedic whom Michael had dressed up in his costume as a decoy.

After learning she killed an innocent man, Laurie went nutters and has been rocking, stringy-haired and beady-eyed, in a mental institution ever since. (It is called the Grace Andersen Sanitarium, by the way, and you have to wonder what a person does to get a nuthouse named after her.)

In the aforementioned scene, Michael has come to kill her, but she’s been waiting. Naturally, her plan goes awry, and the dead one turns out to be her, leaving Michael free to roam the countryside, killing wantonly and with impunity.

Who’s on top and who’s on bottom now, huh?

It is then we encounter the film’s real plot, which involves a reality-TV Webcast called “Dangertainment.” Six college students will be placed in Michael Myers’ childhood home on Halloween night, with cameras all over the place (including on each contestant’s head) to capture the drama and trauma. You will not be surprised to learn that Michael shows up and kills most of them, and that sure enough, some horny teens have a go at doin’ it (fiddling while the ship goes down, as it were).

Part of me is glad movies in the post-“Scream” era have stopped being self-referential again and have gotten back to doing the things that “Scream” made fun of them for. But part of me also says, “What, have these kids never seen ‘Scream’? Don’t go to the basement, and don’t have sex, for crying out loud!”

Anyway, the man behind “Dangertainment” is played by a person called Busta Rhymes, again violating my assertion that you should not be allowed to appear in motion pictures unless you have a name. Mr. Rhymes has, I believe, the largest mouth this side of Steven Tyler, and it flaps constantly in this movie. He never stops talking, and he mispronounces words like “ask” and “respect” (“ax” and “respeck”). If this were the “Friday the 13th” series, he and all the other unlikable characters would die as punishment for being unlikable. But since this is a “serious” slasher film, he instead turns out to be the character in the final reel who gets killed but then turns out not to be dead after all so that he can rescue the chaste, chased heroine. Sorry if I have spoiled it for you, but if that’s really a spoiler, then you have not seen very many slasher films, and you should, I don’t know, be grateful or something.

The college students are typical: dumb one, smart one, black one, horny one, slutty one, weird one. Did I mention that Smart One has an online boyfriend who is actually only in high school, and who is watching the proceedings online at a Halloween party? Well, she does, and he is. It’s actually a cool concept, because he’s able to send instant messages to her Palm Pilot with warnings like, “He’s coming up the stairs!” and “Don’t go in there!” He’s like us, except that he gets to interact with the characters, while we have to be content with yelling at a frustratingly unheedful movie screen.

It was true of “H20,” and it’s true of “Resurrection”: A bigger budget and more recognizable stars do not make a film good. Screenplay, direction and acting will do that, and all three have fled far, far away from “Resurrection.”

Actually, the direction, by Rick Rosenthal — who directed No. 2 and has been doing TV since — is not bad, insofar as things generally look right and there are a number of nifty POV shots thanks to the multiple cameras hanging around. Except that’s probably more the work of the cinematographer, now that I think about it. Rick’s main contributions, in my mind, were casting the film with idiots and then ruining what could have been a very creepy scene: In the aforementioned, it would have been much scarier if we saw the high school kid’s message, “He’s coming up the stairs!,” BEFORE we saw Michael coming up the stairs. Director Rick did it in the opposite order. Not scary. You suck, Rick.

Some unintentionally amusing elements of this film:

In the mental institution, Michael kills a security guard and then a second one goes looking for his missing partner. For some reason, the second guy’s first instinct is to look in the clothes dryer, which of course is where the first guy’s head turns out to be. But why did he look there? Is hiding in the dryer a common thing for security guards to do?

(It reminded me of this funny exchange my friend made up:
ADULT: What are you doing?
LITTLE JOHNNY: Nothing.
ADULT: What’s in the dryer?
LITTLE JOHNNY: Nobody.)

Also, to get to the dryer, the second guy pretty much has to step over the dead, headless body, yet he doesn’t notice it.

I was also entertained to learn that Michael’s childhood home has a dungeon.

Also, I liked when the high school kid called 911 and then said, “Hello, 911?” Movie characters always do this, and it’s silly. For one thing, 911 operators answer the phone, “911, what is your emergency?,” so any confusion about whether you’ve dialed 911 should be cleared up right there. For another thing, who else could you have called after dialing only three digits? Maybe you thought you dialed 911, but your finger slipped and you accidentally dialed 801-356-7272 and got Papa John’s Pizza in Provo, Utah?

Anyway, the “Halloween” series certainly isn’t over. Michael has killed Laurie Strode, his last living relative, but her son is still alive. He was played by Josh Hartnett in “H20,” but somehow I doubt anyone with even Josh Hartnett’s level of star power will agree to appear in another “Halloween” movie. When will Guffman show up and put a stop to this?

C- (1 hr., 25 min.; R, frequent harsh profanity, some nudity, some sexuality, a whole lot of blood and murder.)

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