Synopsis: Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance.
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, Adam Arkin, Nancy Stephens, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, LL Cool J, Janet Leigh, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Adam Hann-Byrd
Director: Steve Miner
Running Length: 86 minutes
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: Even the death rattle that was Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers couldn’t put a nail in the coffin of the Halloweenseries. Three years after that last cruddy installment was released direct-to-video in most markets, the rumblings began that a new Halloween would be making its way to us to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the original film. In a real coup, producer Moustapha Akkad tempted original star Curtis to come back to the role she created and go head to head with her murderous brother that has been terrorizing her (and audiences) for two decades.
The resulting film is an enjoyable entry in the franchise that returns to the roots of what made the John Carpenter original so scary – that sometimes evil just can’t be stopped no matter how far away you run. The Michael Myers of 1978 was so terrifying because of his detached yet controlled stalking technique. He didn’t have to employ fancy methods to kill or hide in the darkness ready to jump out…no, it was his utter lack of motivation that made the hairs on the backs of our neck stand up. Knowing that there was no method to his madness left the possibilities of where he’d strike next open and endless.
Pretending sequels 3-6 never happened (probably a wise choice), the movie opens with the popular-at-the-time pre-credits prologue where someone famous gets offed by whatever killer was the star of the show. With Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, it’s sadly Nurse Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens, reprising her role from Halloween and Halloween II) and a few pesky kids that get in the way of Myers locating information on the whereabouts of his sister.
Faking her death, Laurie Strode (Curtis) now lives as the headmistress of a boarding school in CA with her son (Hartnett) and sometime lover (Arkin). Using alcohol to keep her sanity, Strode still sees her brother in her dreams…until his all too real form appears one Halloween night when the campus is deserted. Well, she thinks it’s deserted but her son, weary of her overprotective nature, has elected to hide out with his girlfriend and chums for the weekend instead of going on a camping trip. Now, Strode has to save herself and her son from her big brother that’s again out for her blood.
It’s a fairly trim movie and packs a sizable punch when it really gets going. Director Miner is no stranger to directing sequels…he helmed the respectable first sequel to Friday the 13th. Here, Miner provides more than a few spooky moments as Myers sneaks his way in and goes about his business. Some of the scares may feel a bit cheap but don’t try to tell me you didn’t jump a teensy-bit.
Another nice touch is the presence of the real life mother of Curtis, Janet Leigh, in a cameo role cleverly tied to Leigh’s own famous horror film Psycho. The two women share a really delicious moment that is sure to please Halloween fans as much as devotees of Mr. Hitchcock. In their first major film roles, Hartnett and Williams are solid…though if you asked me then I’d have said that Hartnett would be the one with the lasting star wattage.
Everyone is really window dressing for Curtis who comes back to a genre she helped define (and created the Scream Queen) with a fierce vengeance. When Curtis comes face to face with Michael for the first time it still makes me shiver a bit. There’s a lot of history in both the character and the actress on display and Curtis looks like she’s having a grand time traipsing around wielding an axe.
Silly title aside, Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, is a well-received return to form for the Halloween franchise, providing enough scares and blood to satisfy audiences while giving enough nods to the legacy of the Myers clan to please longtime diehard fans.
Click here for my review of Halloween II
Click here for my review of Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Click here for my review of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Click here for my review of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Click here for my review of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers