As much as I enjoyed the first Zombie 'Halloween' movie, there's something about this one that just plain irks me. Much of it concerns my confusion about certain scenes that take you right out of the movie - one specifically involving a mysterious horse. If you tell me that I just don't get it, then this is one case where you'd be right. I think Zombie tried to add a little art to this otherwise brutal piece, and, at least for me, it just didn't work. Some claim it's better than I remember, but I don't see it.
As the film opens, we see young Michael Myers (this time played by Chase Wright Vanek) hanging out at Smith's Grove Sanitarium, where he is one day visited by his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) who gives him a gift - a statuette of a white horse. This symbolism would come into play later (as I mentioned), but it does leave the audience with a "what the hell was that?" reaction. I'm sure it actually means something very deep, but once again, cards on the table, I do not get it. Anyway, the film then picks up right where the last one left off, so there are potential spoilers for the ending of the first one here, but I'll try not to go into too much detail.
Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) has a face-off with Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) at the end of the first film, which she survives, and Sheriff Lee Brackett (Brad Dourif) soon takes her to the hospital. Paramedics pick up survivors Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell). Michael's unconscious body is taken in a separate ambulance, which, spoiler alert, he eventually escapes to have a movie. One full year passes with Laurie living with Annie and her father while Michael is presumed dead. While Laurie is still haunted, others have tried to move on, but as these movies go, we know moving on isn't easy.
Aside from that, however, we have nothing more than an angry gore-fest with very little plot to go on and far too much high strangeness, including several hallucinations on Michael's and Laurie's parts. What's so irksome about this is getting such a straightforward film with the first chapter and then going onto this, which makes one try to think a little harder than they really need to. In truth, it all boils down to the same concept of Michael ultimately seeking out Laurie and Laurie being his little sister as he hacks and slashes his way to her (with a pretty big body count!)
Honestly, that's pretty much it. In many ways, it ends up being your typical slasher flick, and it does a good job of embracing the brutality that Zombie seems to be able to capture so well. It does have a few decent things going for it, like the gore for the gore hounds who may be watching, as well as the overall design of the very imposing Michael Myers here. But I have to admit that this is one of the three chapters in the franchise I have at the bottom of the list as far as this franchise goes. There's so little to save it, and it's a huge drop from its predecessor. I feel like this one gets worse every time I see it, and it feels like so much more of a throwaway 'Halloween' flick. With Zombie, just watch the first one and call it a day.
It's interesting to think that these movies came and went, and now we have a whole new soft reboot series to refer to, connecting to the 1978 original. These two Zombie chapters were a decent reboot attempt, but he did drop the ball with this one, trying too hard in some points but too little with others. These films make for an interesting little detour for 'Halloween' fans at this point in time, if only to say that you've seen them. But they're altogether unnecessary and don't connect to anything else except for the appearance of Danielle Harris, along with the characters' names being used in a rebooted sense.
With all that said, these Zombie films certainly do have their following, but I feel like it has more to do with the fans being fans of Rob Zombie than they're fans of the 'Halloween' franchise. I like the first as a different take on things, but I find this to be one of the worst titles of the franchise. Zombie's chapters are a stand-alone side quest for 'Halloween,' in that they're ultimately skippable. I'll give him credit for giving it his best shot, though, as slasher remakes are damn hard to do well, and I still say he succeeded with the first one. But I think he went too far with this one, and I remain a bigger fan of his music than his movies.