Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween H20

3/4

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, Adam Arkin, Jodi-Lynn O'Keefe, Adam Hann-Byrd, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Janet Leigh

Rated R for Terror Violence/Gore and Language

"Halloween H20" was the brainchild of star Jamie Lee Curtis.  She thought it would be a good idea to finish the franchise once and for all, bringing back not only her character, Laurie Strode but John Carpenter as well.  Carpenter ultimately declined to return, so in his place we have Steve Miner, a director-for-hire (he did direct the first two "Friday the 13th" sequels, though).  All things considered, this is a lot of fun.  For a horror movie.

Laurie Strode (Curtis) has spent the last 20 years living in fear that her brother, Michael Myers (Chris Durand), will come back to kill her.  She's not handling it very well.  She faked her death, changed her name, moved to Northern California to become the headmaster of a private prep school, and in the words of her son John (Hartnett), is a "functioning alcoholic."  But she's always jumpy on Halloween, and John isn't able to take it anymore.  The school's populace is going on a camping trip to Yosemite, save for John and three of his friends.  Laurie is hoping to use this time to cozy up with her boyfriend Will (Arkin), who's the school counselor.  Of course, Michael has different ideas...

Horror movie sequels are rarely any good, and although I haven't seen the "Halloween" sequels without Jamie Lee Curtis, according to James Berardinelli, I should be glad.  The filmmakers decided to leave out any reference to the sequels in which Curtis did not appear, which makes sense, since from what I gather, the plots got quite strange.

It is rare to find a horror movie with good performances.  We're not talking Oscar stuff, but they cast is appealing enough to the point where remembering that some, if not all, of their lives will be cut short by a homicidal maniac is a little disheartening.  Jamie Lee Curtis in particular is worth mentioning.  The actress always has tremendous appeal, and she gives depth and feeling to her role.  She's been running for half her life, and she begins to realize that the only way to make it stop is to face her brother.

But at just a hair under 90 minutes, the film is too short.  The film moves too quickly and many people who watch this will wonder, "Is that all there is?"  Five or ten minutes more could have beefed up the plot and given it a stronger impact.  And a few more characters to fill body bags would have helped too.

"Halloween: H20" is a worthy sequel to the franchise (it did not put the franchise in the ground...the film's success earned the film another sequel, "Halloween: Resurrection," which Curtis called "a joke").  Sure, characters do some amazingly stupid things, the plot is paper thin, and the gore is at times giggle-inducing.  But that's why we go to these movies in the first place.

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