Monday, May 24, 2010

Review: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Williams

Well, anything would look good after the awful Halloween 6, but it turns out that H20, the seventh installment in the Halloween name and the sixth about Michael Myers, is actually a good movie. Or, at least as good as a Halloween sequel that isn't the original can be.

One of the things this has going for it is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is a powerhouse of an actor, and always great to watch in whatever he's in. I was pretty surprised to see him here, but again, he does a really good job. Especially paired with Jamie Lee Curtis, who still has what it takes to scream and act scared with the best of em; truly a Scream Queen for the ages. It really says something when a pair of actors can take a film so far, but even the side actors are good. It really seemed like they were trying to make a good film here instead of just cashing in for another fuck-ride on the Myers-train again like the last three movies felt like increasingly more and more. It's cool that they actually did make it exactly 20 years after the original 1978 movie, too. Props for that.

So the basic story is that everything from Halloween 6 has been completely retconned, thank god, and that Jamie Lee Curtis now lives up north at a fancy boarding school where she is the principal, or something. Her son, played by Gordon-Levitt, has been sheltered his whole life because his mom is afraid that Michael Myers would come back someday. This leads to actually some pretty alright character depth, as we see the conflict between them building up to the horrifying realization that maybe she was exactly right to be afraid for her son, as Myers returns to start slashing.

Now, a few of the kills are on the lazy side and seem like they were just written in to move the plot along rather than to create suspense. But that's just because the eventual climax is really good. The setting is kick ass, to boot, with the boarding school looking really elegant and mysterious, allowing for a lot of suspense once the night falls and it is deserted. It's something new for the series and it works well. The final fight scene between Curtis and Myers is pretty intense, and it really leads to some kick ass chases and shadowy suspense that serves as a good epitaph to the series. As she cuts off his head at the end, that should've been where it ended. That should've been the very end to all of it. It should have been a trilogy with the first two, and then this one, if they so insisted.

But unfortunately they made another one after this. Grumble, grumble, grumble...