Directed by Rick Rosenthal [Other horror films: The Birds II: Land’s End (1994), Halloween: Resurrection (2002)]
In many ways, this sequel reaches similar heights as it’s predecessor, and though it lacks the classic feel of the original, it’s both a fun and oft-thrilling watch.
Much of the suspense works due to the setting, a rather isolated and understaffed hospital, filled with empty corridors and many deadly weapons (and a therapy tub, used to glorious effect). It’s worth noting that the film doesn’t have a significantly higher amount of gore (aside from a pool of blood that one character slips in), and still manages most of the kills without showing that much. That said, there is a much higher body count here, so there’s still certainly enough to keep us looking for more.
The great setting aside, the fact that Laurie is wounded here also makes the chase sequences just a bit more suspenseful. When in her prime, Laurie could defend herself against Michael, but here, she’s nowhere near her best, and watching her stumble down a deserted hallway to escape Michael, then going into a dingy basement area, those were great scenes, and perhaps my favorites of the movie.
Of course, Jamie Lee Curtis does pretty good here as Laurie, though she doesn’t get nearly as much screen-time as you might expect. Donald Pleasence is fun here too, and gets a few more wild moments only hinted at in the first film. He especially gets in some good action toward the end and the explosive finale. Lance Guest is pretty solid here, though doesn’t have as much to do with how the film goes as first thought. Finally, returning from the first film, Charles Cyphers is nice to see, but quickly gets put out of commission after finding out his daughter, Annie, was a victim of Myers’.
Speaking of the first film, I liked how this film replayed the last few moments of the first, the music not kicking in until after Pleasence talks to a neighbor attracted to the gunshots. A nice, subtle beginning that quickly turns into a chaotic police manhunt, but of course, Michael still evades the search. The one plot twist in the film isn’t necessarily the best thought out (I think we all know what I’m talking about), but for this one film, it works out fine.
Halloween II doesn’t feel nearly as good as the first movie, but given how I think the first movie is one of the best horror movies ever made, that should hardly come as a shock. Still, there’s plenty in this movie to deeply enjoy, and ever since I first saw this many years back, I absolutely loved the hospital chase sequences, and always found them thrilling. The ending too was also pretty epic, and if they had wanted, would have served a fine conclusion to the story. A great movie by any means, this film stands the test of time, and brings a lot to enjoy to the table.