Saturday, December 13, 2014

Movie Review: Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers

It's been 6 years since the massive flop of Halloween 3. So producer Moustapha Akkad decided to bring fans what they wanted in a long time: Michael Myers.
There have been many ideas to bring a fresh new take on the story but still have the essence of the original. The filmmakers even tried bringing back some of the old cast but they only brought back Donald Pleasance since Jamie Lee Curtis was a huge star at the time and this being a low-budget movie they couldn't afford her massive movie salary. So this was at the time where movies like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street were taking over cinemas and This Halloween project was going to be a stiff competition. So it wouldn't be a surprise that the filmmakers decided to make it more harder-edged and brutal than the earlier films, along with the continuation of Halloween and Halloween 2.
I can see why everybody enjoyed this one, however, It was rather dull. Not that it was bad or anything, it was just so-so, I thought there would be more to this but it came to a point where it's just another generic slasher film. There was so many ideas that would've made this movie better, however, it all fell flat at the end. The biggest problem I have with this is the writing. There was a big writer strike in 1988, which is part of this problem. We have far more important storylines the filmmakers needed to focus on yet the majority of the movie involves an unnecessary teen love triangle subplot which is rather boring and uninteresting. The plot holes are pretty obvious as well. Okay, Michael Myers from the second movie was basically incinerated but in this sequel, apparently, that hospital explosion only got him into a coma with a few burn scars here and there. That's impossible, I mean he was literally burnt into a crisp. This also goes to Dr. Loomis who has tiny scars on his face even though he too was blown to bits. The movie's excuse was that he was thrown out of the hospital but that's just goes beyond logic. How come Jamie is having visions of Michael when she doesn't even know who he is? I know the next movie stupidly explains this but there is no rhyme or reason Jamie is suddenly having nightmares about him. When did Michael have superpowers? Head crushings, throat-rippings, and impaling somebody with his thumb? What? And there is one death scene that goes beyond physics and I'll tell you later in the review.
Guys, I don't think this is a horrible movie or anything, sure it's entertaining but there is just so many  flaws, plot holes, and inconsistences that keep this movie from being any good.
The Story: It's been ten years since Michael Myers terrorized the streets of Haddonfield and now that the mass murderer is being placed in a coma, Smith's Grove officials decide to transfer him but before someone says he has living relative in Haddonfield he instantly breaks out of his coma and proceeds his deadly path of finding his long lost niece. Meanwhile, young Jamie Lloyd is preparing for Halloween along with her foster sister Rachel but little do they know is that Michael is dead set on their tracks and he's ready to spill blood on Haddonfield once again.

The cast is actually good but it's just certain characters that are not just that interesting to me.

Okay, let's start with Rachel. I know she's a fan favorite and everything but I don't think she's all that special. When she is first introduced, she comes off like a typical whiny, self-indulgent teenage girl. Sure, it makes her somewhat realistic, however, all her storyline revolves around this guy named Brady, a guy she doesn't even know herself.

But I would say this, the moments between her and Jamie are sweet, even though she says the wrong things at the wrong time with her.  The fans say that Rachel is likeable but maybe it's the actress that makes her likeable. I'm sorry I just don't think Rachel is the true main character to me. With Laurie from the first movie, we've got to know her as a person. With Rachel, not so much.

Then there's Brady, Rachel's main squeeze. What's there to say about Brady? Well, he's cute in a generic 80's sort of way. But surprise, surprise, He cheats on Rachel with the Sheriff's daughter. So yeah, Brady's kind of a jerk but that's all I can say about him other than being a stereotypical horny teenage boy.

There's really nothing for me to say about Kelly or Kathleen Kinmont's acting. She just your usual blond bimbo in a horror film and she's also nothing more than a fan service treat for guys. Though, there's one interesting thing about her is that she gets one of the most confusing death scenes ever put in a slasher film.
Now for the more important characters:

Danielle Harris gives a heartbreaking performance as Jamie, a young girl who is not only psychologically damaged by her parent's sudden death but seem to be troubled that she's Michael Myers's niece. Viciously bullied at school and haunted by the eternal boogeyman, Jamie is now at the same position her mother once was when the night he came home.

Jamie is a thoroughly-written character, it's just there's not much time with her. In the end, she's treated like the typical child in a horror film, even though I feel she is the actual main character. however, I can't help but feel she was sidelined a bit. Overall, Danielle Harris is an accomplished actress and having a such a perfect performance at such a young age, she came a long way.

Donald Pleasance comes off as a bit worn down in some places but he still is magnetic as Dr. Loomis. He has even become more iconic as the shape himself.

He takes things in his own hands in this version whenever Michael wreaks havoc. I would also like to point out this one pivotal scene he has with this preacher guy. They are both trying to fight different evils in the world and I thought the movie handled that well. But to be honest, not much is focused on Dr. Loomis. Sure, he fights his way into saving the town of Haddonfield, It's just not much importance on him to salvage the story.

And now The Shape is back and powerful than ever.....Here is.....Michael Myers....Though this version of Michael is a mixed bag for me. A VERY mixed bag. Let's first talk about the mask. Oh God, it looks like a cheap dollar store copycat. It's just so plain-looking. I know that they couldn't make it look like it once was back in 1978 but at least they should've put the effort to replicate it.

Not only that but he looks extremely bulky in this version.

He also seems to be incredibly powerful as he rips apart people with his bare hands. he just comes off too much like a Jason Voorhees knock-off.
Which leads me to this:

How the hell can he impale someone with a shotgun? It just goes beyond the laws of physics. But really, this isn't the Michael Myers I used to know. I feel like a certain slasher villain have their own agendas and strategies. I don't think this version of Michael is not as pure or scary as he was in the original.
In this sequel, they tried really hard to make this a gorefest which isn't really effective but I do appreciate a certain scene when all of the characters are in one house, anticipating whether Michael would pop up or not. It's one of the few scenes in the movie that is actually suspenseful.
Now for some trivia:
Melissa Joan Hart (yes, that's Sabrina The Teenage Witch) once auditioned for the role of Jamie.
And Here's a Freddy and Michael connection! Actress Ellie Cornell once auditioned for the role of Alice Johnson (or Kristen Parker, from other sources) in  A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: Dream Master.
And Speaking of Jason, Here's a Jason and Michael connection:

Stuntman Tom Morga who once played Jason in Friday The 13th: A New Beginning, also played Michael in the first few scenes. To be honest, I would rather the filmmakers had him to play the role in general instead of just a stand-in. He has the tall, slender build that filmmakers needed for the role. But oh well.
John Carpenter originally teamed up with Dennis Ecthison to write a Michael Myers-centric storyline. Their script focused on how traumatized Haddonfield had become following the first two films, banning the Halloween holiday altogether. It was then by the attempted erasure of his legacy that Michael Myers returned. Moustapha Akkad rejected the script as being too cerebral. Well, in my opinion, it would've made the movie better, it would've had more story than it does. A lot more than the stupid subplot with the teens.
But at least the movie made money at the box office, cashing in at 17,768,757, even bigger than it's 5,000,000 budget. Wow.
I just don't know what to think of this one. Some part of me wanted to like since it is a fan favorite but there's just too many flaws that are so open.

There's one good thing I could say about this is the ending which probably had the potential to open doors for much more interesting  sequels but sadly that never came to be.
I was kind of hoping that this would be an anthology series and then make a sequel about Michael Myers. It would've been more......substantial. More interesting. But it is what is and we have the next two horrible sequels to cover. So brace yourselves, guys.
My Last Word: It's just okay to me. It can be watchable at some point but it's not memorable.


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