Story: It’s been 20 years since Michael Meyers went all stabby in Haddonfield. Laurie Strode, now a headmistress of a “posh private school” and living under an assumed name, still has nightmares. But not for long, because Big Mike has found her…and her little (okay, teen) son too. Good thing Laurie’s son is away on a weekend long field trip. OR IS HE?
Scares: Lots of dark places where Michael can hide, and the requisite “he’s right behind me, isn’t he” moments that MM adores.
Splat factor: It’s a Halloween movie. Of course there’s blood. But as with most of the series, the blood is low-key, and usually spills in the dark.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Nope. No, seriously. I almost think they considered stopping the series at this point. Til the studio bigwigs said nah.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Movie #7 of the Halloween series.
Trick or Treat?: The Shape vs Laurie Strode! How can that be a bad thing? It’s not, y’all. In fact, it’s a whole lot of fun, especially for fans who love all of the usual MM shenanigans. H20 may not be original, but it’s definitely a good time.
This was one that was supposed to be the end of Michael Meyers. And it really does look like he bites the big one, with no way of coming back. SIKE! You could chop him into little pieces, mail him to different parts of the world, and then have the recipients set the pieces on fire…and that sucker would pop back up. He makes the cha-ching for the studio, so hey Mike!
The movie starts out with a typical killfest prologue, and then director Steve Miner runs that beautiful theme music. Miner has a good way to catch folks up – run a ton of expositionary news clippings, bits of evidence, and photos during the opening credits. Why not get all the backstory out of the way while we all wait for the credits to be over? It actually makes the time pass quickly, and keeps things interesting.
Jamie Lee Curtis isn’t the only big name in H20. Almost 20 years later, Josh Hartnett (Laurie’s son John), Michelle Williams (John’s gf , and Joshua Gordon-Levitt brave neighbor Jimmy) are on the A team as well. And is that LL Cool J playing the security guard with dreams of literary stardom? Yes it is! But the BIG THING in this installment is Janet Leigh. That’s right, Jamie Lee Curtis’ mom is in the film. Sure, it’s a brief cameo, but it’s adorable to see them both onscreen at the same time. And Leigh is freaking awesome, period.
With most of the school away on a field trip, the body count stays low. Low-ish, if you count the prologue. But there wasn’t much going on, death-wise, in the original either. It was the suspense that was key. Now I’m not saying H20 is as good as the original. But it’s got a very similar vibe. Miner obviously did his due diligence before the cameras rolled. After twenty years and five other sequels though, expect more screaming, and more shuffling around before characters getthe big kibosh. Still, H20 is head and shoulders, knees and toes better than three, four and five.
Think of H20 as a distant cousin that looks a whole lot like you. Not you by a long shot, but damn if you’re not impressed by the similarities anyway.
Score: 4 out of 5 pumpkins.