Reviewed by Scott Marshall
Rating: 8.5 Beans
ust Say No to H20!
Michael Myers is killed by decapitation at the end of the new Halloween film, HALLOWEEN: 20 YEARS LATER, helpfully abbreviated as H20 by its studio, Miramax.
Oops! Did I give something away there? Did I spoil it for you? Are you throwing your hands in the air and saying "geez, now I may as well not go and see it!"?
You may not realize it and you probably won't thank me, but I just did you a big favor, because H20
is the biggest piece of cinematic shit that I have seen in many years- maybe 20! I didn't expect it to
be great- certainly not- but I didn't expect it to be that bad either. Like many fellow H20 survivors, I was persuaded by the concept- another self-referential retro horror flick, so it might be fun- and the "all-star" cast featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, her mother Janet Leigh, Adam Arkin, LL Cool J, and Michelle Williams from Dawson's Creek.
Little did I realize that I was buying a ticket for 90 minutes of pointless, boring, idiotic rubbish. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against horror films, or endlessly sequelized horror films, per se. I am probably the only person in the world who rather enjoyed HALLOWEEN III. I saw most of the
FRIDAY THE 13th flicks and all of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, not to mention stuff by Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, etc. etc. etc. Nor do I have any grudge against really bad films: I watch ROADHOUSE every Christmas in homage to MST3K, have a respectable collection of Ed Wood pictures, and am on record as a fan of MEGAFORCE.
No, the only thing that horrified me about H20 was the fact that it is an utter waste of time and
money: a chance for Those Culpable to take that money and run, trading on the familiar name of a
film series in these days of "hip" horror. I hope Jamie Lee is enjoying her new summer house or
whatever she bought with her paycheque. Her mother Janet, who really should have known better,
probably thought it would be fun to appear in a horror film with her "scream-queen" daughter.
Michelle Williams is young, and has a hit series, so she can probably bounce back. And LL Cool J
is probably thankful for any chance to appear on screen. Adam Arkin: what the hell were you
So here's what happens: the film opens with a nurse discovering that her home has been broken into;
a teenage neighbour, played by the kid from 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, investiagates without incident. The nurse goes in, sees that her office has been ransacked, and discovers that the file on
Jamie Lee's character (Laurie Strode) is empty. The camera pans over a photo of poor departed Donald Pleasance, who must be spinning in his grave as I write. Turns out the nurse is an authority on Michael Myers, having been Donald's assistant in the past. After Myers slits her throat and puts an ice skate in the face of 3RD ROCK boy, the cops look at her wall full of press clippings and we see that Jamie Lee supposedly died a few years after the first film.
Truth is, she faked her death.. must run in the family I guess.. and somehow became the headmistress
of a posh private school in California. And she has a 17 year old son, which means that she got
pregnant (by an abusive partner, apparently) at roughly the same time that she faked her death. So
did she fake her death to get away from the father too? No, because he sends his son a birthday
card and obviously knows where they live; so did the partner meet Jamie after her faked demise?
And if so, how could their child be 17?? The mind reels trying to do the math, but don't bother: the
boy is 17 because that's what the plot demands. Jamie Lee was 17 in the first film, you see. And
Michael hasn't come back to look for her since then, but the kid's birthday must have set him off...
even though it was two months before Halloween...
Oh, hell. Who cares. Did the nurse somehow know about the faked death and know the address of
Jamie's new alias, Kari Tate? Apparently so, because two scant days after her death, Michael has
driven cross-country to California and is lurking outside the gate of her school. Ineptly guarding that gate is LL Cool J, who spends most of his time reciting "sexy" prose to his off-screen girlfriend on the phone. Before most of the students leave for a long weekend, we see Jamie Lee teaching an English
class where Michelle perceptively analyzes Victor Frankenstein confronting his monster after the
death of his loved ones. Then a big flashing arrow points to Myers in case we missed it. Later,
Jamie has a scene with Janet, who gives some advice but "doesn't want to sound maternal." Hyuk
hyuk! Janet then drives off in a '57 Chevy, just like the one she drove in PSYCHO. Please, my ribs!
Adam Arkin, the school's guidance counsellor, tries to lure Ms. Tate- nice choice of name for someone running to California to escape the horror of mass murders, guys- into a normal relationship, but it is Halloween and Jamie is seeing Michael's masked face everywhere. She's even bitchy to her son, who plans on spending the night with his girlfriend (Williams) and another couple of kids in one of the empty dorms. Naturally, Myers finds the kids first. Young Dustin Hoffman is killed and stuffed in a dumbwaiter while looking for a corkscrew. His girlfriend discovers him, screams and says "fuck" a lot, and gets strung up from the only working light bulb in a one-mile radius. The Good Kids run away and meet up with mom and Adam at her place, with Michael in close pursuit.
Mom locks them in a room for safekeeping while Adam wastes her ammo on LL Cool J, then gets a lesson in surgery from Myers. Jamie looks bored, having been through this twice with Michael and once in PROM NIGHT, and participates in a shameful recreation of the closet scene from the end of the first film; only this time when Michael stabs through the door, she clocks him from behind with a fire extinguisher. Why she doesn't continue to pound his head into a bloody pulp, I don't know; instead she runs and grabs the kids, puts them in a truck and sends them down the road while she bravely locks the gate, grabs an axe, and turns to finish the job. After planting the axe in a shoulder and stabbing him half a dozen times with the preferred weapon of psychos, the butcher knife, Myers appears to be dead again. The police come and put him in a body bag. Everything is great.
Or is it?? Jamie has to make sure this time, probably so she won't be asked to do any more
sequels. She grabs a gun from a cop, which as we all know is pretty easy to do, finds her axe on the
way to the Coroner's van and drives the bagged body away from the school. After a few seconds of
suspense- is she just nuts, or will Michael somehow overcome asphyxiation too?- her brother zips
himself free. She hits the brakes and he flies out the windshield, gets up, and is rammed by the van as
it goes off the road and rolls down a hill roughly a hundred times. Jamie Lee, who jumped clear and
looks good, finds her axe in the grass on the hill in the dark and walks down to where the van has
Myers pinned against a nice thick tree trunk. There is a touching moment where their eyes meet and
he reaches out a hand for her. She almost takes it, but plays it safe and chops his head off. The
End. Even the family of four behind me, who spend the entire film predicting that each character who
appeared on screen would die soon, had to concede that Myers could probably not grow a new head and return for another film.
So who will take his place when the next Halloween film is made? Jamie? Her son, taking revenge
for being a useless tool throughout H20? Skeet Ulrich? The reanimated corpse of Donald
Pleasance? John Carpenter? Mike Myers, playing a wacky comic take on his namesake? Maybe Kevin Williamson, who did some uncredited script doctoring? Imagine what it must have been like before he had a go at it!
All I know is that I hope I am long in the ground myself before I have the misfortune to see another
piece of convoluted garbage like this. Run, don't walk, away from any theatre showing HALLOWEEN: H20. You have, I hope, been warned.
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