Yes, rest in pieces Final Destination franchise.

So Friday August 28th was the day many horror fans have been looking forward to for quite some time – the battle of two big titans in the horror arena – Michael Myers (The Shape) and Death itself!  Both Halloween II (from Dimension) and The Final Destination (from New Line) were scheduled to be released on the 28th, and neither one would give up their spot and move to another weekend.  What we had was probably (for us anyway) the most interesting battle of the summer – would Michael Myers win, despite the piss-poor reviews of the first film?  Or would people rather enjoy the 3-D of The Final Destination, even though, like Halloween, the last film was pretty poorly reviewed?

Box office numbers are still being tallied, but how did the films measure up?  Was there a need for a fourth Final Destination, albeit with the addition of 3D?  Did Rob Zombie do a better job this time with Halloween II, since he didn’t have to specifically remake an already-iconic film?

Well, truth of the matter…both films suck.  Though they manage both manage to have a couple of bright spots, ultimately neither film is worthy of a horror fans time, despite much gore.  Really, you’re better served staying home and watching the first films in both franchises.  Still, learn more about my thoughts after the jump!

Returning the director of my favorite film in the franchise, The Final Destination brings back David R. Ellis from Final Destination II (and Snakes on a Plane), which began with what is undoubtedly one of the greatest car crashes I’ve ever seen put to film, and continued the mean-spirited fun in a film that actually had ties to the original, and managed to be both scary and funny.  The third film in the franchise lost a lot of the funny, but was ultimately pleasing, despite a pretty poorly done impetus to the storyline, the entirely-too-CG roller coaster crash.

The Final Destination jumps us right to the scene of the crime – we don’t get a minute to know these characters before we see them attend a Nascar car race, and the explosions begin.  Half of the stadium is destroyed and people are bloodied up in wonderful 3D glory … except that it’s all a premonition of the lead character, much like in the first 3 films.  And the worst part is that the CG in this scene is entirely too obvious – I’d rather see less interesting deaths (a la the original film) than see some of the cartoony excess that was on display here.  It was just entirely too fake looking.  From there, we get less story than any other film in the franchise.  Instead, the filmmakers this time decided to pretty much just have a series of death scenes only mildly interrelated to the previous scenes.  It’s scary how little story is in this films 80 minute running time.  We get a bunch of deaths that are actually pretty uninteresting, save for the 3D that saves the film from being a 1 on the Awesomeness scale.  Really, the 3D is what MAKES this film, entirely.  Without it, I find a hard time believing that this would be anything other than DTV fare.

Considering this is The Final Destination, I expected more – a connection to the first three, an explanation of the premonitions…ya know, some kind of finality. Instead, we get no story, uninteresting kills, and an absolutely laughably bad ending.  I mean, the film literally just ends, and all emotional weight is taken out of it by doing the entire scene in CG.  Bad stuff.  Still, this is the BEST example of 3D I’ve EVER seen in a live action film – it’s absolutely amazing stuff.  I just wish the film behind it had been better.  Keep in mind, the below scored is increased by the greatness of the 3D.

Paul Awesomness Score - 5Paul’s Awesomeness Score – 5 out of 10!

Next up (and only with the assistance of many, MANY drinks) was Halloween II, Rob Zombie’s follow-up to my least favorite Michael Myers film, Rob Zombie’s Halloween.  Rob Zombie has long touted this is Devil Rejects of the Halloween franchise, a film not hindered by studio tampering, and wholly his vision.  Well, if anything, watching these last couple of Halloween films have shown me that maybe Zombie is a one-trick pony, and can’t get past making everything look dirty, uninteresting, and unlikable.

I think Michael Myers is really dead this time.

Halloween II picks up right where the original left off – Laurie Strode has shot Michael Myers in the face, and is traumatized from the event – after an elaborate dream sequence where Michael Myers storms the hospital (one of the few bright spots in the film), we see Laurie, one year later, unable to move past the events of the previous Halloween and living with Annie (Danielle Harris) and Sherriff Brackett (Brad Dourif).  She’s been having very vivid nightmares that, strangely, mirror those of Michael Myers, who’s living out in a shack with a Rob Zombie-esque beard.

One night, Rob Zombie Michael Myers has a vision of his mother (Sherri Moon Zombie) and a little kid version of himself (not played by the same kid from the first) and a large white horse … yeah, it doesn’t make sense in the film either.  Anyway, they tell him they’ve found Laurie, so what we get is a repeat of the first film in which Michael stalks Laurie, kills the friend who has sex, then kills a couple of other people, then it’s all punctuated in an absolutely eye-rolling ending that viewers have tried to make seem smarter than it actually is.

I didn’t have high hopes for this movie – in fact, I drank quite a bit to help the experience.  Still, watching Halloween II is the equivalent of a hot coffee-enema after a long night of drinking – sobering, painful, and sad.  Though, like I said before, it’s better than the original Rob Zombie opus (ha), it still manages to be pretty damn bad after a pretty decent start (save for the flashback of the Michael Myers and his mom talking about his dreams).  The dialogue is atrocious (if you like the word “f*ck,” you’re in for a treat) and uninteresting (do girlfriends really call each other “d*cklicker” and “b*tch” this often?).

The acting is even worse – Taylor Scout-Compton can’t pull off angry and tortured, I’m sorry.  Even Malcolm McDowell is poorly used in this film, becoming a novelist diva who screams about wanting special tea and not using an old picture of him in a trenchcoat (“I’m the new Loomis!” he whines).  The only bright spots in this mess are Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif as the Brackets.  To me, it almost felt like they were plucked from a good film with good acting and placed into this blenderfull of crap.  It’s really sad how great they are compared to the rest of the cast, especially Dourif.

What we get in Halloween II is a mess of ideas, no explanation and, honestly, no scares.  Michael Myers talks to the ghost of his mother (and her white horse) through a vision of him as a younger child, getting around the whole “talking Michael Myers” thing.  Still, it’s pretty silly to see on screen and does more damage to the character than actually having him talk in the first place.  The whole “white horse, ghost mom” aspect of the film is laughably bad and, honestly, kind of out of place given that there was no mention of it at all in the first.  It’s almost as if someone different came on board to write and direct and bring new life to the franchise.

But it’s not.  It’s obviously Zombie – people look dirty and unshowered, houses look unlivable, everything just looks like a third world country where you begin to wonder if people really look like this somewhere.  You hear the word f*ck a million times, you hear redneck conversations about screwing corpses…it’s really just bad.  If you hate Rob Zombie’s original, you’ll still hate this one, just less so.  If you liked Rob Zombie’s original … I’m sorry.

Paul's Awesomness Score - 4Paul’s Awesomeness Score – 4 out of 10!