Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, LL Cool J, Janet Leigh
Director: Steve Miner
Don’t worry if you missed the last four “Halloween” sequels because “Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later” effectively ignores them all. The seventh movie in the series is the first to feature Jamie Lee Curtis’ character since 1981’s “Halloween II” and the first not to feature Donald Pleasence (with the exception of the unrelated “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”) who passed away in 1995.
Laurie Strode (Curtis) is living a seemingly idyllic life in California, using the assumed name of Keri Tate. She is the headmistress at a boarding school, is romantically involved with fellow teacher Will (Adam Arkin) and has a beautiful home. But the events of 20 years previous – when her brother Michael Myers escaped from a psychiatric hospital and tried to kill her on Halloween – have left her a nervous wreck and she operates from day to day with an alcoholic crutch. Her 17 year old son John (Josh Hartnett’s big screen debut) is a handsome, intelligent fellow who is tired of her over-protective ways and her hang-up on the brother she hasn’t seen for 20 years. But of course Michael Myers thinks the 20th anniversary has a ring to it and he returns to finish the job he started in 1978.
When two police officers survey a murder scene at Dr Samuel J Loomis’ (Pleasence’s now-deceased character) office and jokingly speculate that perhaps Michael Myers had returned and done the deed, the scene is set for the contrived script. As unlikely a conversation as that might be, we’re then subjected to hearing John tell his mother that Michael is absolutely, definitely not coming back. No way.
There’s nothing awful about “Halloween H20” but it all feels rather underwhelming and unnecessary. It’s thankfully kept short at 86 minutes but disappointment stalks most scenes, none more so than when Laurie/Keri comes face to face with Michael again through a window. This should have been a focal point of the movie, benefited from a strong soundtrack, perhaps some slow motion shots. But it was just limp.
LL Cool J is fun as the security guard Ronny, Josh Hartnett does a decent job in a limited role and it’s interesting to see Michelle Williams way before “Dawson’s Creek” and “Brokeback Mountain”. It might be considered the best “Halloween” movie since the original but that’s pretty faint praise.