Quick Movie Review: Halloween H20 – 1998 – directed by Steve Miner

Posted: April 10, 2013 in horror
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For years Laurie Strode has been haunted be reoccurring nightmares of her older ‘serial killer’ brother Michael. Now 20 years later he is back and this time Laurie must fight back or risk her son’s life.

‘Halloween’ was the first horror film I remember seeing as a kid that truly scared me and as such has always been the blueprint I judge other slasher/horror films on. I worked incredibly well and the atmosphere created has yet to be beaten in my view. Michael is on screen very little but you have the constant feeling he could be anywhere and that anyone could die.

The films that followed never reached the same standard set by the first film although I do really like all of them (minus the remakes and resurrection.). I even like the third film that has no relation to the franchise.  The first two films painted Michael as this unstoppable human that could take a ridiculous amount of punishment whereas the later films painted him as some kind of supernatural monster which I never felt worked as well. I find that villains are scarier if they’re human instead of being a ghost or demon.

This is where ‘Halloween: H20’ comes in. Set exactly 20 years after the original (and also released exactly 20 years after the orginal) this could be argued to be the true continuation after part II. Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode which is great and it’s great to watch her character evolve throughout the films runtime from hunted to hunter.

H20 goes back to the suspense that made the first film so good (although tries too hard to appease modern day horror fans by upping the pace). The director Steve Miner obviously loves the first film and as such has echoes of it running through his film, from Laurie hiding in a cupboard, to the reoccurring silhouette shots of Michael. For a modern day slasher film (well 1998) there are very few deaths and the ones there are generally committed off-screen. I think this is a great move as a few come as surprises when the other characters find the bodies. This helps the films overall atmosphere. It unfortunately looks a little too ‘glossy’ for its own good and at times draws you out of the picture. The music helps bring you back in which on the whole is very good.

The acting is overall very strong with a great performance from Jamie Lee Curtis. Josh Hartnett is great as her son (in his first lead role). You also have LL Cool J, Janet Leigh (Jamie Lee Curtis’s real life mother) and you even get an early performance (if very short) from the great Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  All of the main characters are likeable and you actually care for them.

The only real failing of the film is the fact that we see Michael too much and he never really comes as a surprise like in the original. The tension is never there 100%. That’s not to say there isn’t any. It’s just doesn’t pull off the tension like the original did.

Saying that, H20 is probably my second favourite ‘Halloween’ film after the first (although I do love the third film as a different kind of horror film. I like what they’ve done with the character of Laurie and it’s nice to see her magnificent return (feeling a little like the return of Nancy in ‘Nightmare on Elm Street 3’).

I’d say it’s well worth watching if you are a fan of the series (although I’d expect most fans to have already seen it) or even if you just like a good slasher flick… 7/10

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