Now the headmistress of a private school, Laurie Strode (Curtis) is still struggling with the horrifying, 20-year-old memories of the maniacal killer Michael Myers…when he suddenly reappears with a vengeance. Laurie’s rebellious son (Josh Hartnett, 30 Days of Night), his girlfriend (Michelle Williams, Shutter Island ), and the school security guard (LL Cool J, TV’s NCIS: Los Angeles) will become Michael’s newest victims unless Laurie can conquer her greatest fears and put evil in its place once and for all. The time has come again for you to experience the frightening fun of Halloween – the motion picture series that totally redefined terror.
20 years after the events of the first two films, Laurie Strode is now a slightly alcoholic headmistress in a posh, but totally secluded school. She’s been in an abusive relationship and has a son to show for it. Unfortunately, no form of therapy has helped her; she’s been afraid of the boogeyman for all of two decades. Now, out of the blue, Michael Myers returns.
‘Halloween H20’ essentially ignores everything that’s happened after ‘Halloween’ and ‘Halloween II’; this is a direct sequel to them and could theoretically be called ‘Halloween III” (if not for the fact that they have something like four dozen sequels since ). Nice way to mess with continuity and piss off fans of the series, huh?
But the film was put together by the same people involved with the ‘Scream’ franchise and it shows: the style is similar, visually and storytelling-wise, and you can tell that they were trying to cash in on the success of ‘Scream’ and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’. Sadly, the revamping of the series’ style doesn’t work here.
I have to blame it on two things: the director and the screenplay. The director is the man behind ‘Friday the 13th 2 + 3’. Not a good start – it’s a popular series, but it’s weak as all get-out. As for the screenplay, the producers basically got some no-names to do the writing; the dialogue was terrible. So between Miner and no-names, the tone of the film was really off.
I mean, the basic idea is good, but it’s delivered in such a monotonous way; you don’t care about the characters and there are nothing but fake scares – which get tiresome and aren’t really scary anyway. In fact, there’s no real tension at all until about an hour into it, when Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams are trapped between locked gates and doors and Michael is trying to get to them.
B-t-w, now I remember why I hated Josh Hartnett so much (until seeing ’30 Days of Night’, that is). He’s so irritating here, and his character looks like a total spazz. It’s too bad, ’cause I should have enjoyed the dynamic between him and his mom, Laurie Strode. I should have sympathized with both of them, but didn’t at all.
Speaking of which, they got Janet Leigh to play a small role opposite her real-life daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis. That was cool, even if the scenes were lifeless. Actually, none of the characters were connectors; we didn’t care about any of them. And Laurie Strode, who should be the core, only barely. What a missed opportunity.
Even the things you should be able to count on were neutered:
The iconic and genuinely spooky ‘Halloween’ music was barely used; the original themes hardly ever recurred and, instead, we got a more orchestral or ambient score – neither style capable of replacing the simplistic, eery original score. Honestly, the music by John Ottman and Marco Beltrami was okay. It just wasn’t suitable for ‘Halloween’.
Michael Myers should be scary; he should creep about and feel like he’s omnipresent. The director inserted him here and there, but he didn’t make his scenes scary at all. And what’s with the mask? It is so $#!tty-looking. It gave me the willies not because it was scary, but because it made me think of someone who’s had way too much plastic surgery, like Michael Jackson or Joan Rivers. I think the painted-on eyebrows is what really sealed the deal. Yes, painted-on eyebrows.
There were only three highlights in the whole 80 minutes (thank goodness for the short run time!):
-The musical nod to ‘Psycho’ when Janet Leigh does her final scene was a nice touch. And then her character heads off towards an old car that bears a ressemblance to the one she drove in the Hitchcock classic.
I had seen ‘H20’ ten years ago, after its release on DVD and was totally underwhelmed by it, despite being a fan of both the ‘Halloween’ and ‘Scream’ franchises. I never saw it again. The only reason I picked it up again was to complete the collection. And even then I waited years until I could get it for a couple of bucks.
Frankly, I’m still underwhelmed. It’s not a stupid film like some of the other ‘Halloween’ sequels (although it has its moments, trust me ), but it’s so emotionally dead that it’s very hard to be involved in any of it.