H2 Film Premiere (Part 2: The Film)

So, about the movie.

I loved it.

I can’t claim to be a fan of slasher films, per se. Part of that is because my parents did their best to shelter me from such vile influences while growing up, meaning that I never had a chance to gain a proper appreciation for Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and their ilk. More of it is simply because, when I watch most slasher films, I don’t find myself with any reason to care about any of the events or characters. There’s generally a quick scare to start things off, a prolonged setup in which we keep thinking something is going to happen (but doesn’t), followed by a slew of spoiled frat boys and sorority girls running around in their underwear until some scary dude finally does us the favor of silencing their screams. Sometimes there’s a meager attempt to show us why the “monster” became such, but that part of the plot is generally pretty flimsy. And in the end, the monster dies… but doesn’t, rendering the entire affair a pointless exercise storywise.

So why did I love H2?

For one, it’s brutal almost from the first, and relentless throughout. If I’m going to see a scary movie, I expect to be scared. I expect to see gore. I expect to be startled from my seat at least once or twice. Judging by my reactions (and those of the audience) H2 does that. It doesn’t bog things down with useless narrative or dialogue. It’s a fast-paced, over-the-top bloodfest, and makes no apology for it. Even expecting to be startled now and then, and steeling myself against it, I found myself caught off guard once or twice. That would be an indication of a job well done.

Second, I found the protagonist (in this case, the chief target) to be genuinely sympathetic. Watch the opening ordeal she goes through in the emergency room (as a result of her injuries from the prior film) and tell me you don’t feel at least a twinge of pity for this girl. Even better, her first thought upon waking is for the welfare of her friend, rather than for herself. Not your typical, shallow sorority girl. Nor does she move on with life-as-usual. The girl remains deeply scarred, as one might expect. In short, she struck me as a real, three-dimensional person, as opposed to those cardboard cutouts so often found in horror films.

Third, you have to love Michael Myers. His imposing stature induces an automatic sense of awe, like watching a young Mike Tyson pummel his foes or Andre the Giant fling fellow wrestlers around the ring. Beyond that, as horribly as this character behaves, you almost feel sorry for him. He’s just doing what he thinks is right, in the eyes of the person he loves most. And most of the folks that go up against him… well, put simply, they asked for it. I found myself in the rare position of rooting for both the villain and the heroine, which makes for some delightfully visceral drama as the endgame approaches.

I could easily delve into specifics, but since I’m no longer writing graduate-level critical studies papers at UCLA, I’d prefer to leave it like this: If you enjoy no-holds-barred blood, guts, and shock-induced adrenaline, held together by a layered psychological (okay, psycho) framework, then H2 shouldn’t disappoint. Two caveats: (1) You may find it easier to follow if you’ve recently seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween, because this one picks up right where that one left off, and doesn’t bother giving audiences a play-by-play recap of the first film. I’d last seen the prior film more than a year ago, and misremembered a couple things that led to some unnecessary confusion on my part. (2) I’ve never seen any of the original Halloween films. So, for you diehard, purist fanatics of those movies, I can’t say where Zombie’s version follows or deviates… or whether the differences are good or bad. All I can say is that I enjoyed Zombie’s first Halloween for diving into the psychological origins of Michael Myers’s madness. And I loved this second one for its no-nonsense thrill factor. If making analogies, I’d say the first film was a roller coaster climbing it’s track, full of great views and stomach churning expectation. H2 is… well, just hang on and enjoy the ride.

Tomorrow – Part 3: After Party

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