Now this is interesting. So many people out there love the first Halloween film, which is surprising to me, because I really feel like it lacks essential elements for it to actually be memorable. It may have birthed the slasher genre, but it had bad acting, barely any violence, the violence it did have was confusing because you don’t even see it, and the victims were completely random, so you don’t really care about them all that much. That being said, Halloween II picks up immediately after the first and serves as a companion film – if you watched the first and second movie back-to-back as a three-hour film, it would be much, much better. But how is the sequel as a standalone film? Let’s get into it.
As mentioned above, Halloween II starts off where the last one ended, Michael Myers has been shot out of Laurie’s window – but when they looked for him, he was missing, meaning he survived. This film is more or less a manhunt as Michael Myers still attempts to track down and murder Laurie. Why is she so important for this deranged psychopath to risk his life again? You actually find out in this movie.
If only they made a three-hour film to begin with. As a standalone movie, it does alright, but all the character development is left in the original while this is basically just a continuation, or part two if you rather. If you stitched the two movies together it would work seamlessly and there would be no need to watch any more sequels after this. A lot about this film was brilliant and worked miles better than the first, but as a companion to the first movie, it actually fixes those initial problems as well. I no longer have the complaints I had before, and that’s shocking for me when watching a sequel. I’m also shocked to see on RT, they have the first rated around ~90% and this is a rotten 31%. Really? Flip those scores and you’d have something closer to accuracy.
This movie had slightly better acting, but only slight. Its real improvements came down to removing all the confusion the first provided. Michael Myers now has an actual purpose and direction, it’s no longer random; you actually see where and how he kills people – there’s still little gore, but that serves as a great alternative (the first didn’t show either) – and you know why he’s doing it as well…which also explains all the kills in the first movie too. Come on, that’s brilliance right there. The only real problem the movie had was that it didn’t feel like a standalone film – it needs the first movie to work, but in my honest opinion, the first needs the second in order to work as well.
I really wish I could give Halloween a combined score. In fact, I would really like to see a fan edit version where they make one big movie using both the first and second film. If they did that, you would probably see a pretty good score, but what we have instead is two sort of incomplete films in my opinion. The first only works with the second and same vice versa. This movie on its own makes more sense where the first didn’t, but the good parts of the first film don’t exactly transfer to the second either. It’s a double-edged sword, really – they are things that work well together, but not so much apart.