A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sequel to 2007's Halloween remake is brutally violent, grotesquely explicit, and terrifyingly violent. There are innumerable scenes of killing, and it says a lot about the movie's savagery and viciousness that they're still grim even though it's not particularly well made. Expect sex scenes and non-stop stream of extreme profanity, too, but it's really the violence -- with young women covered head to toe in blood, slashed to ribbons, whimpering, and crying for aid -- that makes Halloween 2 truly unpleasant. Parents also need to know that this film review is for the rated theatrical version, and there is an unrated director's cut available for purchase and rental.
What's the story?
A year after the masacre depicted in the first Halloween, the survivors of brutal killer Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) are trying to cope with their wounds -- and the chilling fact that his body was never found. When Myers returns to the scene of the original crime, his bloody rampage continues, bringing him closer and closer to Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), who has a secret connection to Myers -- and to the psychiatrist (Malcolm McDowell) who's profiting from a book about the brutal murders.
Is it any good?
HALLOWEEN II is full of bloody, bleak violence and demonstrates writer-director Rob Zombie's failure to understand the basic mechanics of filmmaking: editing, lighting, direction, and storytelling. It combines the terrors of brutal murder with the startling ineptitude of someone who doesn't know what they're doing. Zombie tries hard to recreate the grimy, flat look of the '70s horror classics he loves, but the film's weak visual style isn't "real" or "interesting" -- just washed-out and shabby. Zombie also grafts pop-psychological motivations on murderer Myers so that he's attended by visions of his younger self and his mother. This is a clear case of more being less; explaining Myers makes him pedestrian and tedious, as opposed to the existential unknowable, unstoppable masked killing force of the original films.
Worse, Halloween II is either deranged and disturbing or deathly dull; there are huge sections of talk, talk, talk between the grisly executions, so audiences vacillate between being bored and being disgusted. The original Halloween II took up the story mere moments after the first movie ended and kept up a hurtling momentum that helped it over the slower or sillier bits. Zombie's meandering new plotline, taking place over a year, just stretches things out and gives you more time to reflect on how none of it makes sense. Even drenched in blood, anyone can see that Zombie, the new Emperor of Extreme Terror, is naked under the shock, schlock, and gore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's realistic, brutal violence. What purpose does it serve, if any? What's the point of it?
What separates a "good" violent horror film from a bad one? When do these movies go too far?
What separates an inspired horror remake from one that seems created just to make money? What kind of cultural impact did ow-budget genre classics like the original Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street have?
- In theaters: August 28, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: January 12, 2010
- Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Sheri Moon-Zombie
- Director: Rob Zombie
- Studio: Weinstein Co.
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong brutal bloody violence throughout, terror, disturbing graphic images, language, crude sexual content and nudity
For kids who love scares
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.