Halloween: H20 review by The Grim Ringler

For a very long time I was a huge fan of the Halloween franchise. I thought old Michael Myers was too cool for school, I mean, he looked neat, was scary, and never chattered on like old Freddy K. Sadly though, the more you saw of the old Shape, the less interested you got. No one bothered to try to do anything interesting with the franchise past the third entry and no one every tried to create a scary, effective film any more. I have no problem with slasher movies, they aren’t groundbreaking, but they are fun, but dammit, if you can’t even try to do more than paint by the numbers then why bother continuing? The hell of this horror franchise too was that they screwed the pooch royally by continuing after part three. With three they had a chance to 1. keep the originator of the series involved 2. let Myers stay dead 3. have an annual horror film which stood alone as a story, like the third did. Alas, no. Instead they took the franchise back in the direction of the silent killer and then when part seven came around, realized that they’d ruined the franchise with mediocrity and weird sub-plots. So by the time we got to the seventh installment the masters of Michael – the Akkad family – decided it was time to try to save the franchise (though they shoulda just let it die, but hey, who am I to tell them what to do?) and return it to the roots. So by the opening of H:20 we find that parts 4, 5, and 6 have been forgotten (which, how the hell do you legitimize that to your fans? Oops?) and that good old Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis being a very good sport and pulling off a pretty good performance to boot) is alive and well. So essentially, with H:20 you have the true third film in the franchise and what should have been the capper. But, alas, that was not to be.

H:20 opens with the murder of a nurse that had survived the initial Michael Myers murders, the lone person to have still believed in what Dr. Sam Loomis had believed all along – that Myers was nothing but pure, unstoppable evil. And with her death, Michael has also found exactly what he needs – proof that his sister is alive and well and where she is living. Only now, she has a son, a son who just so happens to be the very age Laurie was during her attack, and the same age as their sister was when Michael began his murders at the age of six (not fifteen, contrary to what this film claims – umm, fact checking anyone?). Laurie Strode is a shadow of herself, a woman dependent on booze and pills to take the nightmares of her past away and living on the very edge of a razor. Laurie is the head mistress of an exclusive (and very secluded) California prep school and has managed to maintain the thin link to sanity she has, but now Halloween has arrived again. This weekend also is the weekend that the students at the prep school are to go on a weekender to Yosemite, a trip Laurie’s son is forbidden to go on. But he has lived under a sort of house arrest long enough and, after a fight Laurie changes her mind and decides to let him go. Which of course screws his plans to party with his gal and their two friends at the all but deserted school. So, ditching the bus trip and gathering his friends, Laurie’s son sneaks off to get some food, some drink, and maybe some hot ass, and of course, lurking just outside of the campus is uncle Michael, back to finish what he began so long ago. And all of this leads up to lots of murder, lots of running, a fair amount of screaming, and a couple of very good climaxes between big brother Mike and little sis Laurie. And as a fan, this is where it should have ended.

But that’s not what was meant to be, naturally. This really is a very good slasher film. Perfect? No, far from it, and it is pretty by the numbers, but with a spirited direction and some pretty good acting, this has some style. And the ending really makes the movie as we finally saw an end to the series, and whomever won, it was definitely the end. There are a LOT of plot holes here – where was Michael all these years? – why doesn’t anyone go for help? – how does no one ever outsmart the guy? – but if you are watching this, odds are you are willing to buy into the subgenre’s contrivances. And there are many. Me, I can get past some of the stuff that make people mad about this and all the genre movies of this era – the ‘pretty’ teens, the hit song soundtrack, and the lack of major plot originality. Yes, all this stuff bothers me, but as long as none of it really gets in the way of the fun, and to me it didn’t, then I am fine with it. Michael is still scary in this though, still mysterious, and they don’t really dumb down the characters all that much. But I will say that it’s high time that filmmakers stopped going to the well on these movies. Yes, I liked this one, but after this, I lost interest. How can you have THIS ending and then make another one? It’s crap, and it cheats the fans. But what do they care, right? Yes, I like some of the cheesier horror movies ‘cause, well, if it’s fun it’s fun, right? But if they aren’t going to even try to come up with a plot, decent acting, or some sort of REASON to see it, why bother?

This should have been the end to this series, and while I wish it would have had a lot more characterization – come on Laurie is a WONDERFUL horror heroine and we barely get to know her – and a dash more originality, I can accept this and do like that it has an ending. And a hell of an ending at that. This isn’t high art and this ain’t the stuff that will revolutionize a genre or get people excited about horror again, but it’s a worthy sequel in a flagging franchise. And naturally, this wasn’t the ending as they made Halloween – Resurrection afterwards. Good for them. Grr. Give up the franchise after this Shape fans.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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