Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Halloween-h2o-main-reviewFor its time, I guess “Halloween H20” felt like a good idea. Jamie Lee Curtis who was once a scream queen spent most of her career attempting to re-invent herself beyond the horror brand. But the reunion of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers seemed inevitable. Since Donald Pleasance died during the making of “The Curse of Michael Myers,” his lack of presence sorely hinders the reunion between Michael and Laurie. Even with bringing back the nurse from the first film, and introducing Laurie’s son who happens to be Michael’s nephew, Donald Pleasance is very painfully missed.

As Dr. Loomis, he knew Michael and became obsessed with stopping him once and for all. It’s a sad fate that he never could tame the demon in Michael. After breaking in to the Nurse Chambers home, Michael learns of the location of Laurie Strode, and decides to leave Haddonfield to pay her a visit and sew up old wounds. Laurie is now Keri Tate, a teacher at a prep school where her son John attends with his friends. When the school leaves for its annual ski trip, John and his friends stay behind. Oblivious to his presence, Laurie stays behind in the empty campus as well. Thanks to a series of circumstances, Michael sneaks in to the private school and the fight for survival begins.

“Halloween H20” doesn’t offer much of a story, even though it builds up to the confrontation with Laurie and Michael. Laurie is a paranoid psychotic who can barely move an inch without thinking about Michael, while her son John is burdened with her psychological problems. The rest of the film revolves around Michael devising ways to get to the campus, sneaking in to the campus, and murdering whatever poor saps are lurking within the school. The reason why anyone came to see the movie is for the big meet up.

Director Miner provides the big money shot where Laurie helps John barely escape the clutches of Michael, and confirms for herself that he is indeed alive and well, as they glare at one another between a door and window. I’m honestly surprised that there is only one security guard in a private school. I’m also pretty surprised that the teachers didn’t conduct head counts to ensure all the students boarded buses. In either case, Miner is tasked with getting these characters in one setting, and he accomplishes his duty for the most part. The movie is dripping with tension and suspense, while Jamie Lee Curtis is now a bolder and stronger woman who fights tooth and nail against Michael.

It’s a damn shame Pleasance wasn’t around long enough to engage in this final fan service as his dread filled shell of a once prominent doctor ruined by a patient who embodies evil, would have really helped burn the film as a bonafide horror film. Everything before the big match up is really all padding and filler (save for the fun appearances from Marion Chambers, Janet Leigh, and Joseph Gordon Levitt), along with a call back to an iconic scene from “Halloween” except with Michelle Williams in place of Curtis.

I wonder if they were planning on making Ms. Williams the new Strode of the series before she branched out and became a huge star. LL Cool J is pretty funny as the inept guard of the school forced in to this horrific situation, and becomes the start of an odd trend of casting hip hop stars in “Halloween” movies. “H20” is really all a fan service for folks clamoring for one final fight between Laurie and Michael, and it’s a solid if very flawed slasher flick that delivers with a huge throw down between the pair until the bitter end. It’s a film that should have been the final installment. Oh boy, how I wish it’d been the final installment.