The 20 year anniversary of Carpenter’s classic ‘Halloween’ gave film makers ample opportunity, not only to cash in on the waning franchise (which was already 6 movies long) but to re-establish Michel Myers as one of the Uber-killing machines of the horror world. At the time of its release there had been a new wave of slasher movies and so, with a reputation to uphold, it had to live up to its hype.
Thankfully its release was thought through carefully. Clearly more than a cash-in, the first hint at credibility came from the inclusion of Jamie-Lee Curtis into the cast. Set along side other fodder teens (who would go on to star in other slashers) and with the addition of LL-Cool-J clearly there was definitely the potential for a decent delivery in terms of acting and script. However implementation is always the most difficult part, and in terms of its 7 th position in the franchise I was sceptical about how they were going to deliver the story from a feasible and fresh perspective.
In terms of feasibility, I’m not sure I’m that convinced, but in terms of fresh, well it certainly feels that although it could have easily backed onto the first 2 movies, it has a definite rejuvenating modern edge. The plot is aptly set twenty years from the first movie, where we see Laurie Strode trying to build a new life under a new identity as a head teacher in a secluded private school. Unfortunately for her, Michel, despite the countless attempts to end him is still up and living, and has found out her secret location. From here on in it is a fairly standard affair of stalk and slash around the school grounds with Laurie’s life, her son’s and a few other campus inhabitants lying only one knife slash away.
The plot holds up well actually, and whilst in reflection it does not seem very imaginative at all, the location is perfect for this sort of movie and the old buildings ravaged by a storm outside creates an atmosphere worthy of the few decent scares the movie delivers. As expected the cast each play their parts well, with a sensible emphasis on Jamie-Lee Curtis who in the end must face her fears and confront Michel for the final time. The only criticism I can offer is that despite several of the characters asking ‘why now?’ the only suggestion made was a pretty flimsy one relating to her sons 17 th birthday, that being the age that Laurie herself was first attacked. Still the moment passes quickly so it’s best left forgotten I think.
In terms of the movie’s slasher element, it was clearly trying to stand alongside the subtle build-up style of the original movie as for the first hour of the movie very little happens in terms of violence, save the triple whammy at the beginning of the movie. This style is always going to be a trade off, the characters are developed well and time is given for the story to develop at an appropriate pace but as a result the body count is typically low. The movie makes the most of what it has and despite the fact that only 8 or so people die throughout the movie they are reasonably brutal, within the constraints of the films 15 certificate.
Overall, Halloween H20 was as good as it was ever going to be, and credit should be given for the fact that seldom does a movie comeback credible from a franchise which had clearly past its sell by. The movie is not without its flaws, but it stands out as one of the better movies from the horde of slashers which emerged at the time. It is perfect for a pizza and movie night in, or if you are lucky enough to be with a timid girly!