Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Halloween II Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 39.6 GB
Film Size: 27.8 GB
Film Rating: Unrated
Region: ABC

The Video
Halloween II comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film has a very dark, ugly and gritty look to it, and the high-def transfer seems to be very accurate to the intention. Grain haters beware as this is definitely one of the grainiest new releases you will ever encounter, personally I found it very fitting and to be honest quite beautiful at times.

I really do like the way the film looks, from the very first frame you know this movie is dark and it really sets a tone for the movie. Behind the intense amount of grain and effects we really get some nice depth, yes it may not pop out at you, but it’s certainly there.

Detail is usually good, although there are never any ‘wow’ moments. The film was clearly intended to look gritty and dark and while the transfer is free of any technical issues and presents the intention accurately, it is nowhere near the best high-def transfers available.

Many viewers will find themselves disappointed by the high-def visuals at times, but I can’t argue with intention. The transfer provided is of a very healthy size and did not exhibit any problems that have to do with the transfer itself.

I definitely can’t imagine the film looking much better; it’s rough, so therefore it looks rough. If you are expecting to be impressed by the high-def treatment of Halloween II, its best that you set your expectations a bit lower as it never will be demo material. 7/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and is quite fitting. The mix is a powerful one; I actually thought it was much louder and aggressive than your typical track. Of course being a horror film I expected to be at least somewhat impressed.

What we get is a very immersive and very satisfying audio mix. The mix pays attention to small details and big details equally, sound effects are well placed and the mix features active surround use whenever possible.

Dialogue levels were for the most part easy to understand, with just a few muddled moments. The film’s music is also very impressive, causing more tension than what is actually happening on screen. The track doesn’t reach the levels of Drag Me To Hell or The Strangers, but it’s certainly a very immersive mix that adds so much to the Blu-ray experience. 9/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
With Writer/Director Rob Zombie.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (25:13) (HD)
There are 23 deleted and alternate scenes included, all presented in high-definition.

Blooper Reel (4:26) (HD)
Who needs a blooper reel when the film itself is funny enough?

Audition Footage (9:38) (SD)
Chase Wright Vanek as Young Michael Myers
Angela Trimbur as Harley David
Jeffrey Daniel Phillips as Howard Boggs
Chris Hardwick as David Newman
Mary Birdsong as Nancy McDonald
Richard Brake as Gary Scott
Octavia Spencer as Nurse Daniels

Make-up Test Footage (3:35) (HD)
Michael – Interior
Michael – Exterior
Deborah Myers

Uncle Seymour Coffins’ Stand-Up Routines (8:40) (HD)
A four-part stand-up routine, it’s very dull.

Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures Music Videos (19:11) (HD)
Zombie A Go Go
Honky Tonk Halloween
Redneck Vixen from Outerspace
Dr. Demon & the Robot Girl
Transylvania Terror Train
Macon County Morgue

Previews (HD)

BD-Live Portal
Download the latest trailers for upcoming Sony Pictures theatrical and Blu-ray releases.

The audio commentary is something I am sure fans of the film will enjoy, and there are plenty of deleted/alternate scenes footage included. There really is not much as far as behind-the-scenes footage goes. 6/10.

The Movie
Rob Zombie is back with Halloween II, a film that really shows how one can take such a popular franchise and turn it into something so awful that it’s a bit embarrassing. I found Rob Zombie’s first Halloween film to be quite decent, aside from a few scenes I thought the film was very much like the original and I enjoyed it.

Now we have the Director’s cut version of Halloween II on Blu-ray. The film starts off promising, but ultimately becomes quite the joke. I definitely thought I was in for a nice surprise with the first fifteen minutes of the film; it felt like a direction continuation where the first film left off. It starts off as rough and aggressive as how the first film ended and leaves you on the edge of your seat.

After those 15 minutes though, you realize it was all a giant tease. The film takes place two years after the terrible Halloween night from the original. Laurie Strode is alive, living with her best friend Annie and her father who is also the town sheriff. Rob Zombie has turned Laurie into such an insane and crazy person, it actually was a bit annoying. I understand if I were in the situation that she was, I would be nuts too, but the way it is presented makes you not really care what happens to her at all.

Rob Zombie also makes this film serve as a family reunion, with Michael Myer’s mother back as the voices in his head telling him to find Laurie so they can be a family again. We also have a new boy cast as the young Michael Myers, making me wonder if they even tried to find anyone who looked like the kid in the first film. This new boy is very ineffective as the young Michael Myers and looks nothing like the first, it’s not a major loss but it is annoying.

I was also a bit confused about Dr. Loomis in this film from the last film, I was under the impression that his eyes were shoved into the far regions of his dead in the first film, yet he’s totally fine in this sequel. Maybe there is some surgery procedure that I don’t know about, but they did nothing to explain how he was so ‘normal’ after what happened to him.

The movie’s ending is also one of those ‘Okay???’ endings. There is nothing to be shocked about, nothing to be sad about, nothing to be happy about, it’s just confusing. I also hated the whole white horse theme, you can understand the intention but it was poorly executed.

The film is extremely predictable and lacks any possible tension aside from the introduction. The only character I had any compassion for was Annie, who doesn’t even really matter in this film. Laurie is so messed up to the point that it’s almost better that she be dead than alive.

Halloween II is among my most hated films this year, it’s just awful, and if you liked the first film, don’t assume that you will like this one as it’s nothing like it. If you are dying to see it I would not recommend you avoid this, in fact it may make you like the first film much more than you already do. For those who are not very interested in seeing this film, it’s best to continue pretending this film does not exist. 3/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Blu-ray release is accurate to the source, featuring a strong video presentation and engaging audio mix. Extras are also fine, but nothing stands out to me. Halloween II on Blu-ray is ‘Recommended’ to fans of the film, but those new should take my advice and ‘Skip It.

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