Dir: Rick Rosenthal. US. 2002. 89mins

Number eight in the series of Halloween horror movies is so bad it could be Scary Movie 3. It's so bad, in fact, that there might be a big enough teen audience looking for cheap thrills and unintentional laughs as to make it a hit. North American kids certainly lapped it up last weekend, its $12.3m gross from 1,954 sites almost making up its budget and guaranteeing a number nine - a prospect set up, of course, at the end of this one. That it's so shoddily made and poorly directed is a surprise after Halloween: H20 in 2000 which marked a slickly effective comeback for the character of unkillable serial killer Michael Myers and his tenacious adversary Laurie Strode. Resurrection is a strictly by-the-books return to the count-the-bodies massacre formula from earlier entries in the series - including Halloween II which shared a director with this one in Rick Rosenthal.

The prologue to Resurrection once again brings back Laurie, as played by Jamie Lee Curtis. In the last movie she was an alcoholic haunted by her brushes with Myers. Now she is incarcerated in a mental institution, faking insanity as a means of keeping locked up and out of his way. Even though Strode decapitated Myers fairly definitively in the last film, a quick flashback casually reveals that she got the wrong man - executing a security guard and not Michael. As if this explanation of his resurrection were not preposterous enough, he is quickly rampaging down the corridors of the asylum in search of Strode - who is also his sister. Needless to say, after a few bloody murders the two face off and, even though she has the upper hand, he defeats and kills her. The movie then switches to a college campus where a bunch of wacky students are being selected to spend a night in Myers' childhood home as part of an online web-cast called Dangertainment. Their experiences in the house will be monitored and broadcast live courtesy of video headsets which each is obliged to wear.

Among the lambs headed for the slaughter are smart psychology student Sara (Kajlich), brash wannabe star Jenn (Katee Sackhof), ambitious young chef Rudy (Thomas), horny law student Bill (Nicholas), music major Jim (Luke Kirby) and the beautiful Donna (Daisy McCrackin). Supervising them on their adventure are Dangertainment chief Freddie (Busta Rhymes) and his assistant Nora (Tyra Banks). Of course the moment the kids reach the house, which Freddie has rigged with morbid props, the real Michael Myers starts hacking them to death using methods such as throat slicing, decapitation, impalation and stabbing in the head.

What's so sloppy about the film is its insultingly careless implausibility and comprehensive inability to generate any scares. Myers himself is on screen far too much, rendering his attacks predictable and tedious in a house whose geography is difficult to fathom since Rosenthal never maps it out. He should have watched Panic Room. Meanwhile the acting is uniformly atrocious, with Rhymes delivering his lines as if he were performing the raps for which he is better suited. His 'Happy Motherfuckin' Halloween' refrains to the robotic killer at the end are laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Prod co: Nightfall, Dimension Films
US dist: Dimension Films
Int'l sales: Miramax International
Exec prods:
Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Loius Spiegler, H Daniel Gross, Moustapha Akka
Paul Freema, Malek Akkad, Michael Leahy
Larry Brand, Sean Hood, based on a story by Brand and characters created by Debra Hill & John Carpenter
David Geddes
Prod des:
Troy Hansen
Robert A Ferretti
Danny Lux
Main cast:
Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Ryan Merriman, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tyra Banks, Jamie Lee Curtis