Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later

1998, Movie, R, 87 mins


When bad sequels happen to good movies, they look like HALLOWEEN III; fortunately, you can pretty much forget that it ever happened, along with HALLOWEEN IV, HALLOWEEN 5 and HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. For the purposes of this picture, from the third sequel on (except for an isolated fact interpolated from HALLOWEEN IV), it all happened in an alternate universe -- the druids, the possessed child, the mysterious men in black, everything. Babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who at age 17 escaped the clutches of a knife-wielding psycho who turned out to be her older brother, did not actually die in a car crash, as HALLOWEEN IV intimated. She faked her own demise, changed her name and tried to get on with her life, eventually becoming the high-strung headmistress of a gated Northern California prep school. She has a 17-year-old son (Josh Hartnett) from a failed marriage, she drinks too much, doesn't care for Halloween parties, has a medicine cabinet full of mood-altering pharmaceuticals and regularly wakes up screaming. And now her brother is back, looking to wrap up the unfinished family business. Brought back to life by director Steve Miner, who cut his teeth on FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels, and executive producer Kevin Williamson, whose SCREAM goosed the moribund stalk-and-slash genre to megabucks respectability (but not by John Carpenter, the man who started it all), this efficient fright machine features a knowing cameo by Curtis's mom -- PSYCHO's Janet Leigh -- a couple of bloody good scares and a genuinely affecting performance from Curtis. The body count is surprisingly low (a plus), Carpenter's instantly recognizable minimalist score is heavily orchestrated (a minus), and the ending is about as satisfying as it could be. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later
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