Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween H20:Twenty Years Later

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later 1998
Director: Steve Miner
Writers: Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, LL Cool J, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, Jody Lynn O'Keefe, Janet Leigh, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Nancy Stephens

After the huge misstep of Halloween 6, the series found its footing again with this superior sequel. This is the best one featuring Michael since Halloween 2. They went back to the roots in bringing back Laurie and it relied more on suspense than just plain old gore. It also grabbed a great horror director with Steve Miner, who had directed 2 of the best Friday the 13th installments, parts 2 and 3. It is a solid installment in the genre and one that gets better with each repeated viewing. I also think that this one would have been the perfect capper to the series if not for the abysmally horrible Halloween Resurrection. The ending really ends everything as it should, and the only fault this film has is that Donald Pleasance had passed on, so there was no way for Dr. Loomis to make an appearance. But, looking past that, this is a great addition to the series.
The plot basics are this, we open in 1998 and in a small town we meet up with Nurse Marion (Stephens) again, and her home has just been broken into and her office ransacked. It seems that her file on Laurie strode has been taken. It then becomes apparent that Michael has returned and he dispatches her and then proceeds to find Laurie (Curtis) who has faked her death and is living a new life as the Headmistress of a private prep school. She also has a son, John (Hartnett) and it is Halloween and everyone in the school is planning on going on a camping trip to Yosemite, but Laurie has issues she is still dealing with due to the attack by Michael 20 years ago. She is very over protective but finally acquiesces and allows John to go on the trip. He has other plans with his girlfriend (Williams) though. John, his girl and 2 other friends decide to stay and have a romantic Halloween party and everything is going well, until Michael sneaks his way in and begins to dispatch his friends. Laurie knew this was coming and she rescues John and his girl and rushes them out while she plans to finally end her ordeals with her brother once and for all.
This is a tense and fright filled horror film. Miner's direction is taut and suspenseful, he opens it really well with the cat and mouse attack on Nurse Marion. He also sets up all the scenes very well, it is very reminiscent of Carpenter's classic, but he still makes it his own. The script is very good too, the character arc of Laurie and how she is so emotionally scarred from that attack years ago, is really very well fleshed out. I also liked Ronny Jones, he was very cool and funny. Will Bennett is a very good romantic foil too Laurie, but you know he is ultimately doomed. The cast is great, spearheaded by a bravura performance by Curtis, she really amps it up past the 10 mark in hysterics here and does it wonderfully. Hartnett is good as her son and Arkin and LL Cool J are great as the ancillary male leads too. They support Curtis well, but still give her the room to steal the film. The SFX is quite good my favorite kill in the film is when O'Keefe gets it and is suspended with a light through her stomach, still a shocking scene. The score by John Ottoman is very good, it is used very well through all the chase scenes in the film and is different enough that they do not rely on Carpenter's theme too much. This is a great film in the series and one all Halloween fans should see if they have not already.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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