Friday, June 24, 2016

Film Review: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (Review)
United States/1998
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's obviously not as great as the original, but it is better than most of the sequels."

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Michael Myers' sister, struggles to cope with life as she fears her murderous brother will return to finish the job...

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later follows Laurie Strode, Michael Myers' sister, approximately 20 years after the events that haunted her in 1978. Laurie has changed her name, she's birthed a son, Josh Tate (Josh Hartnett), and she became the headmistress of Hillcrest Academy, which Josh attends. Anyway, Halloween is coming around and Laurie is afraid Michael Myers will return. Laurie's irrational fear, in turn, interferes with Josh's life, stopping him from going on an overnight field trip with the rest of his classmates. So, he stays behind with his friends, a few faculty members, and a security guard. And, of course, Michael Myers shows up. The story isn't bad, but there isn't much to say about it. It all leads to a decent ending.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is an all-around decent film. In a genre recently dominated by ghost and possession films, it is refreshing to revisit a few slashers. They just don't make them like this anymore - or often, at least. The film isn't perfect, but it offers plenty of thrills, especially towards the second half. The characters are also interesting. I wished there was a bit more development for a few, but I liked Laurie in this. In terms of horror, it is a bit too reliant on cheap scares. I mean, it uses the same "bump into someone with loud music" scare at least five times. It has its fair share of plot contrivances, too, but it's nothing too annoying.

The cast is great, though. Jamie Lee Curtis and Josh Harnett perform very well. The supporting cast is also strong – even LL Cool J is good. The film is shot well and the music matches the tone of the film. The practical effects aren't the highlight of this film, but they're good, too. H20 is written by Robert Zappia and Kevin Williamson and directed by Steve Miner. The writing could have used a bit more character development and a little more variety, but it isn't bad. Miner crafts some suspenseful and exciting scenes. From the chilling intro, you can see he knows how to craft a scene filled with suspense. He could use also use a bit more variety. I mean, if you're going to rely on jump-scares, at least make them creative.

Overall, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a good horror film. It's obviously not as great as the original, but it is better than most of the sequels. It's certainly better than Halloween: Ressurection. If you're fatigued by the overwhelming supernatural output in today's horror, H20 is not a bad slasher to get some fresh air with. Give it a rental or a cheap purchase.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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