Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) Review:

There comes a point in time where a viewer who has seen enough sequels to a horror franchise where it doesn't phase them anymore. When a formula is repeated over and over and over and over again, the redundancy feels more like an attribute of lazy writing versus actually copying out of flattery. It's obvious as to why studios love making sequels but it's crazy as to how they believe one exact formula is necessary for all entries. There has to be some kind of creative brainstorming going on in the background otherwise every entry after the original continues to just rinse and rehash the same concept until the end of its run. After the blunder of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) and the lukewarm return of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), production studio Magnum Pictures Inc. felt a year later was just enough time to make another sequel. Unfortunately since Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), there has been a stagnation of quality in this series. This is okay but nothing to cheer over either.

Michael Myers is back.....again.....
Written by Michael Jacobs, Shem Bitterman and Dominique Othenin-Girard, the story picks up a year later after the last film. After killing her stepmother, Jaime Strode (Danielle Harris) now lives in a child care clinic where she is under the supervision of Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Knowing that her uncle Michael Myers (Don Shanks) is still alive and well, Dr. Loomis hopes to get whatever information he can from his now mute niece.  Trying to keep a cool head is returning characters Jaime's stepsister Rachel (Ellie Cornell), her friend Tina (Wendy Foxworth) and the local sheriff Ben Meeker (Beau Starr). It sounds like an okay setup but really much the execution is flawed. For the three writers mentioned, all but one had prior horror film making experience so that's already a fairly bad start when it comes to continuing a horror franchise. Directing this sequel was also writer Dominique Othenin-Girard. Girard's direction unfortunately does not improve the viewing experience all that much.

What truly hurts this sequel's performance is how empty the story is on substance and the few frightening moments. This is by far the sequel with the most holes in its plot. There's no explanation to numerous things. No reason as to why Jaime no longer has the Myer's killer instinct. No understanding is made as to why Michael Myers returned exactly one year later when he could've done so much sooner. Nothing is justified as to why Jaime is mute after the events of the first movie. There's even a new character that enters this series and he too is given no background information whatsoever. What gives? The pacing is another problem. Like the slew of other slasher films that were inspired by its original film, many scenes contain teenagers walking around calling out into vacant rooms and saying how much it isn't funny anymore. There needs to be development in some of these characters otherwise, there's no scare factor involved throughout the movie. There are some moments of intrigue that are made as the film gets closer to the finale but that's it.

The kill scenes are also rather disappointing. Only a couple of Michael Myers’ victims have a memorable scene with him. A lot of the other deaths are off screen. There's also nothing wrong with the idea of less is more, but there's nothing new that's added to the end result. However here is what does work. The main actors such as Danielle Harris and Donald Pleasence are the best parts. As much as it's sad to see Pleasence continue to try and make this series watchable, he still carries some kind of dramatic heft. Although his character is becoming less and less useful. Harris was okay although she is mute. Her fear looks real on screen as well when Myers is around. Shanks as Myers was okay too but did miss the opportunity to do several Myers like responses such as the infamous "head tilt". The rest of the supporting cast is all right but they do not add much to the actual narrative. The thing viewers can be grateful for is at least the casting department brought back what was left of the previous cast for another round.

"Tell me why we keep making sequels Jaime!"
The visual aspect of things was decent as well. Robert Draper handled the cinematography. Although he had worked on small and big screen productions, this was Draper's first big theatrical entry. For what was shown, it looked adequate. It was when Draper's skill and the set decorations worked together to create some creepy scenes. Sadly it wasn't very often but when it was seen, it worked. This takes place in the old Myer's house. Returning composer Alan Howarth produced the musical score. Considering he has been apart of the franchise dating back to Halloween II (1981) with John Carpenter, it's reassuring to know there's one more dedicated crewmember. Howarth's score continues Carpenter's memorable theme from the series and includes various other motifs as well. It isn't perfect nor is it entirely effective but it does make up for a lot of the other issues going on with this movie. The score itself is still mainly made up of synthesizer keyboard and that's fine looking at it's origins.

While it may have a decent musical score, returning credible actors and adequate camerawork, this sequel continues to hit the middle of the road. The story is bare bones developed, the reasoning behind several things goes untouched, its pacing is pretty slow and the creep factor is hardly there. It's not worse than any other prior entry starting from Halloween II (1981) but it doesn't bother to add much either.

Points Earned --> 5:10

No comments:

Post a Comment