Director – Steve Miner
Cast – Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, LL Cool J, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Adam Hann-Byrd, Janet Leigh
Release Year – 1998
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Being an avid fan of the “Halloween” franchise that was so expertly created by John Carpenter, I have a love for these films. Watching Michael Myers with his emotionless gaze and creepy stalk bring back many memories of when I was a young child sitting in my room and imagining myself being confronted by “The Shape” and how I would react. Call me crazy…but it’s true. Some fans of the franchise highly despise the last 3 or 4 “Halloween” films, and although they may not be as intense and spooky as the original, I still have mad love for the masked killer from Haddonfield, Illinois who so passionately displays his hate in the most suave of killing styles.
The film starts off with the late Dr. Loomis’s nurse coming home and realizing that not only has her home been broken into, but Dr. Loomis’s old files on Laurie Strode are missing. A brief and ill fated encounter with Michael Myers then answers her questions of who stole the files. Fast forward a bit and the rest of this film takes place on Halloween night in 1998, 20 years after Michael Myers first tried murdering his sister, Lourie Strode(Jamie Lee Curtis) back in 1978(Halloween I and II; They took place on the same night). Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, and is now the head-mistress of a very nice private school on the hills of northern California. Laurie Strode has since changed her name to Keri Tate, and even went so far as to fake the death of “Laurie Strode” in order to make sure that her deranged brother can never find her again. Aside from dealing with her rebellious 17 year old son John(Josh Hartnett in his debut role), who is tired of hearing her nightmares and complaints about her “dead” brother, she is turning to “the bottom of a bottle” to help ease her anxiety. However when her son John and three of his friends decide to skip out on a class trip and have their own Halloween fun in the abandoned school, Michael makes his way in, and the bodies start to hit the floor(Insert overrated Drowning Pool song reference). Instead of running, and hiding this time, Laurie Strode AKA Keri Tate is going to stay and face her brother, in an epic battle to end her nightmares once and for all.
This film basically disregards the events of Halloween 3-6 and focuses on the story of Laurie Strode, without once mentioning the infamous Jamie Lloyd character from Halloween 4, 5, and part of 6, or Tommy Doyle from Halloween 1, 2, & 6(his character is also in the 2007 Halloween remake). Although most franchise fans will gawk at the idea of this bad continuity between the previous films and H20, I find the story behind Laurie Strode to still be quite interesting and liked the idea of Jamie Lee Curtis coming back to reprise her role instead of another actress. Jamie Lee Curtis doing her role brings back memories from the first two Halloween films and adds more credibility to the “20 Years Later” concept as she really is 20 years older than she was when she was first dueled with her infamous brother.
Director Steve Miner is no stranger to the horror genre, given that he directed another famous uber-slasher, Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th II and III. I really like how he did not stray away from showing us some pretty gory stuff and awesome kills. There were a few kills where I would have preferred to see them happen instead of the aftereffect, mainly because they were pretty sweet, but it would have more than likely detrimented from the creepiness and stealth of Michael Myers. This is another one of those films where I really liked the setting. The fact that this film took place in a dark, empty school without anyone having an idea that Michael Myers is lurking just around the corner really set the mood for this positive addition to the Halloween franchise. It’s not the strongest of the series, but it does deliver an enjoyable product to fans of the franchise.
I really wish there would have been more scenes involving Michael throughout the film. Of course the last segment of the film has a good amount of Michael doing this thing, however I felt that there were sections of the film that went too long without Michael hacking someone up! Haha! Instead we were just given some shout outs to the first film with someone looking, seeing Michael staring at them, then turning away and looking back a few seconds later and somehow Michael pulled a Criss Angel and disappears. I know this won’t sound right…but my biggest complaint for this film would have to be Michael Myers himself. I was not a fan whatsoever of Chris Durand playing Michael Myers in this film. He did not have the usual smooth, creepiness we are used to seeing Michael have in previous films. Mr. Durand simply moved too fast during some scenes, and quite honestly looked “dopey” a lot of times. Shame on Steve Miner for not seeing this or bringing in George Wilbur, who is the only actor to play Michael more than once(twice) and has done quite possibly the best portrayal of Michael so far.
Overall, this is a positive addition to the Halloween franchise. It is not the strongest in the series, but will surely please fans of the franchise who just want to see Michael do his thing. Those who are into the Laurie Strode aspect of the franchise will especially enjoy this addition to the series.