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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
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50 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Back to the basics

Author: Kristine ( from Chicago, Illinois
24 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the sequel we have been waiting for! After a little slump with Halloween 5, I think a lot of Halloween fans were worried that the Halloween franchise was going to be like the typical Friday the 13th series, that as the sequels went on the stories would just get worse and worse. Why is Halloween H20 different and better than the other sequels? Because they went back into their roots, most sequels loose touch with what the original movie was trying to produce and get into goofy characters. This movie delivers in perfect scares, the story is awesome, and we have Jamie Lee Curtis back! What more could we ask for? I do have to admit that there was a disappointment that they killed the original nurse from the first Halloween movie, but the way Michael did it was classic. This is my favorite Halloween sequel because Michael is back and he's scarier than ever. We have some new great actors like Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams and even LLCoolJ was fun to have around, they were all great additions to our Halloween story.

The movie features the return of Laurie Strode, now revealed to be living under the assumed name "Keri Tate". As Tate, Laurie has a seemingly perfect life with an intelligent son and a boyfriend, a great career; however, Laurie is far from happy. The tragic events from 20 years previous still haunt her mind, and strongly take effect on her parental capabilities. To everyone, this is "just another Halloween," however Laurie still lives in constant fear. But this year is different. Marion Chambers and her neighbors are murdered by Michael after he steals a file on Laurie Strode. Michael leaves to find Laurie. To mark the 20th anniversary of the happenings of 1978, her brother, Michael Myers, appears, and starts killing off her co-workers and students one by one. And for the first time in two decades, they meet again. Laurie escapes, but chooses to go back to the school to challenge Michael in a fight to the death. She finds him and attempts killing him several times. But after all, this is Michael Myers, after several sequels you know it isn't going to be that easy.

Halloween H20 is a great sequel that is sure to give you good scares, laughs, and it keeps you interested. This is one of those rare movies that made me cover my eyes in terror, I know it sounds a little cheesy, but when Laurie is having a bad flash of Michael coming towards her and she keeps trying to close her eyes and say it's just a dream, but she opens them and he's still walking towards her, yikes! Also I absolutely LOVED the ending, this was a great closure to the series, even though sadly they created another sequel, I just have to forget about that one because this is the way they should just leave the Halloween franchise. So not only would I recommend this movie if you were looking to complete the Halloween series, but just watch it in general, this movie goes back to the basics and is just a great movie. It was a lot of fun to watch and see Michael terrorizing the new cast, even after 20 years he's still got the touch to even make us sympathize with him, ooooo, Michael, where will you take us next? Well, hopefully a much better sequel then what I had to put up with in 2002.


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68 out of 101 people found the following review useful:

Finally a worthy sequel!!

Author: Plissken-4 from USA
9 December 1998

Halloween was, is, and will likely remain the greatest horror movie of all time. None of its sequels or imitators could even come close. Until now. Halloween H20 is a fantastic film. Unlike other films of this genre, it realizes that you need to care about the characters in order for the film to scare you. Gore does not equal terror. The original Halloween knew that and H20 knows it. It allows you to get to know the characters so you can root for them in the end. Unlike the Scream-type movies of today, teenagers are not the only ones with brains here. Jamie Lee Curtis gives a performance superior to her one in the original. Her character was destroyed from the events of the first film. We get to see her rebuild herself as she finally faces the fear that has haunted her for 20 years. Kudos to director Steve Miner. He creates a perfectly creepy atmosphere, allows Michael Myers to move like a person instead of a robot, and throws everything but the kitchen sink at us in a white knuckle ending. This is the first horror movie I went to in a long time where the audience SCREAMED with regularity. There were more screams in the last half hour of this movie than there were in SCREAM 1 & 2 combined. My only complaint is the over use of false scares. But other than that, this is a first class thriller that FINALLY does justice to the original HALLOWEEN. I give it ***1/2 out of ****.

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40 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good,but nothing really groundbreaking.

Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
11 January 2003

"Halloween H20:20 Years Later" made by Steve Miner("House",the second and the third part of "Friday the 13th" series)is quite good,especially if you liked John Carpenter's classic "Halloween".The film disregards Parts 4-6,which is not necessarily a bad thing.Luckily it has plenty of suspense,and a good amount of scares-especially the prologue is quite terrifying.There is only a little bit of gore,so gorehounds will be disappointed.Jamie Lee Curtis is pretty good as a Laurie Strode,but the other characters played by the supporting cast are shallow and empty.The score by Marco Beltrami sounds exactly like the one from "Scream" and this is surely big mistake.All in all I enjoyed this one and you should too if you are a fan of "Halloween" series.7 out of 10-a solid horror flick!

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32 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Forget "Resurrection"--the series ends here.

Author: Jonny_Numb from Hellfudge, Pennsylvania
9 September 2006

Back before Lions Gate (now Lionsgate) held the monopoly on mainstream genre pics, Dimension Films was the go-to place for horror and suspense of the 'indie' sort. In 1998, with Wes Craven's 2 "Scream" films maintaining the public interest to great financial success, Dimension decided to put their acquisition of the "Halloween" franchise to good use (especially after the atrocious "Curse of Michael Myers") by making a sequel to end all sequels (at least until the atrocious "Halloween: Resurrection" turded up multiplexes).

In addition to being one of the most instantly-recognizable titles in all of horror, "Halloween: H20" came to screens with an added incentive: it marked the series return of original protagonist/victim Laurie Strode (played with cat-like veracity by Jamie Lee Curtis). Curtis' presence, in addition to the reliable skill of director Steve Miner (who cut his teeth on two "Friday the 13th" sequels), plus a story that wisely disregarded the incidents of all the sequels past "II," set "H20" up as the series payoff I was so eagerly awaiting. After leaving the theater, I was more than satisfied with the end result.

Years go by. Dimension becomes a notorious den of re-cuts, re-shoots, and re-castings (just ask Wes "Cursed" Craven) still trying to mine the 'Fresh-Faced-Teen' demographic that doesn't seem to exist anymore. Upon re-examination of "H20"'s box/poster art, I noticed a recurrent motif (from "Scream" to "Phantoms" to "Nightwatch" to "Rounders") in design: the proliferation of airbrushed faces looking Deeply Concerned about something, in addition to an over-reliance on bold, exclamatory blurbs from dubious sources (WWOR-TV, anyone?).

But I'm not reviewing the marketing tactics of a company whose former glories (namely Tarantino and Rodriguez) are now its only source of revenue.

"Sin City" notwithstanding, "H20" might have been the last good movie to come out of Dimension. At its core, it is a surprisingly compact (86 minutes, including credits) horror-thriller that moves so briskly we are never able to get too cozy with the characters. Miner goes for the subtle compositions that marked John Carpenter's original, and is fairly successful: the film refrains from the obligatory sex and self-referential attitude that would have been profitable at the time. From frame one, "H20" feels like a continuous, flowing set-piece...but the way it sidelines its characters leaves a hollow echo when it's all finished. Also unfortunate is that the suspense is so heavy-handed it seldom creates tension; this might be attributable to Chris Durand's overly self-conscious portrayal of the menacing Michael Myers. The relationship between Curtis, her son John (Josh Hartnett), and Myers is the film's intriguing familial triangle, but is disappointingly underdeveloped (though for the sake of the series, it wraps things up well enough).

In the end, "H20" is Curtis' show. She imbues her character with as much straight-faced commitment as she did in '78, in addition to a toughened exterior bent on preserving family values at any cost. The denouement, which contains a moment as touching as it is creepy, gives new meaning to the phrase, "tough love."

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38 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Change of pace for the series....

Author: Paul Hackett (PAUL-344) from Banbury, England
7 July 2001

With the success of "the new" horror film genre started by Kevin Williamson's Scream, it was inevitable that it would Halloween H20. With Williamson in an unacknowledged, co-producer role, H20 added a bit of hip teen class to the Halloween series, with Dawson Creek's Michelle Williams, Jodi Lynn O'Keefe, and the debut of Josh Hartnett heading the cast along with scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. Fans of the series have been let down with disappointing sequels soiling the reputation of the classic original, so it wasn't all bad when the producers of H20 made a controversial decision to ignore films 3-6 in the series. Set in a California posh secluded high school as opposed to Haddonfield, H20 is a taught film lasting no more than 80 minutes if you don't include the credits. In the short running time the film manages to pack in suspense and drama to satisfy both fans of the series and of the genre, with the film managing to keep both traditional and "new age" horror fans happy. In all, a healthy addition to the classic horror series, watch out for Halloween 8: Homecoming.

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34 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

A Very Good Franchise Movie

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
30 October 2005

Don't ask me why but I couldn't help being involved in the pre title sequence of H20 . I mean how many times have we seen a madman stalking his victims in a dark house ? Too many you say ? I couldn't agree more but director Steve Miner has managed to make this sequence tense and exciting

The story is held up slightly after this as we're introduced to the characters . Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode who having survived the previous encounter with Michael Myers now has a drinking problem . Perhaps not the most radical or original example of character development but character development of a sort . Obviously Michael Myers is just as you'd expect him to be . He says nothing and goes around killing horny teenagers

Interestingly enough while horny teenagers having sex are expected to be bumped off in this type of movie there is no on screen sex in this movie and there's nothing to indicate that none of these teenagers have lost their virginity . They're no angels but they're not promiscuous sex pigs either . Deliberate post modernism on the part of the writers ? Possibly since we see two teenage girls watching a clip from SCREAM on TV so make up your own mind and it's good to see a horror film with some lighter moments which come from a performance by LL Cool J as a cop while at the same time the humour never becomes OTT

By no means a classic example of cinema H20 is a fairly impressive movie for what it is - Yet another sequel in a horror franchise but one that kept this sometimes demanding viewer entertained

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22 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A Lot of Fun For Fans of Carpenter's Halloween

Author: dogstar21 from United States
3 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love Carpenter's Halloween and, frankly, wish there had never been any sequels. Halloween is a near-perfect horror film: very suspenseful, stylish, subtle, and loaded with amazing, spooky atmosphere. None of the sequels even come remotely close to duplicating any of the qualities that make Halloween so amazing. H20, however, - while not similar in style to the original - is the only Halloween sequel to display any sophistication and wit. There are lots of knowing and witty allusions to the original and the film actually doesn't insult the audience's intelligence. I love the ending to the film; it is very gratifying to see Laurie finally confront and defeat her monster, both figuratively and literally. And the final image and sounds of the film demonstrate an intelligence nowhere to be found in any of the other Halloween sequels: just as the original ended with the ominous panting of a disembodied Michael, H20 ends with the victorious panting of Laurie as the credits roll.

The other sequels are for the most part embarrassments. This entry, however, is a lot of fun for anyone who loves the original. Of all the sequels, it's the only one worth checking out...

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

This should have been the last true sequel to "Halloween".

Author: Lucien Lessard from Canada
5 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When a nurse (Nancy Stephens) comes home from work but she thinks, her house is been rubbed. After finding broken glass on the front door, when she's too frighten to check inside. She asks one of her neighbors to check it out, but they don't find nothing inside. Expect her office is been trashed. When the nurse goes back to her home, she finds out the file of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has disappear. She slowly realized that her estranged murdering brother Michael Myers (Chris Durand) has find out, where she lives. But the nurse finds herself killed by Michael and the neighbors as well. Now Laurie is living the life as a head mistress at a private boarding school in California. But Laurie is living in the name of Keri Tate to protect her real identity. Laurie is a alcoholic, she also has an 17-year old son John (Josh Hartnett), she has an boyfriend Will (Adam Arkin) who's also working in the school but she still fears that Michael will find her one day. Since Michael's dead body disappear 20 years ago from the hospital. Now Laurie feels that the day is coming that Michael will strike again anything soon.

Directed by Steve Miner (Day of the Dead "2008", House, Lake Placid) made an enjoyable if flawed sequel to the classic "Halloween". Which "Halloween:H20" is certainly better than most of the "Halloween" sequels (Although i did enjoyed "Halloween 4:The Return of Michael Myers"). Director Miner certainly knows the rules of a slasher/horror movies. Since he directed the better "Friday the 13th" sequels (Part 2 & Part 3) and he also worked with Curtis before in "Forever Young". Curtis gives one of her best performances in her career returning to the role that made her famous (especially her old days as the "Scream Queen", she was certainly one of the originals). She originally wanted John Carpenter to directed this but he wisely walked away and let some other director handle the material. Since he was never comfortable with the sequels.

DVD has an sharp non-anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an good Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The Canadian DVD says it's enchanted for 16x9 televisions but it is not true, since it is the same transfer from the 1998 DVD. But it is at least, one of the better non-anamorphic transfer from that time. DVD also included an featurette, music video and an amusing trivia game (Which it should been more complicated). I would have loved to hear an running commentary track by director Miner and actress:Curtis but sadly, we didn't. There's no deleted scenes as well, since some television versions added some additional footage. The cast are good here including Michelle Williams as John's girlfriend, LL Cool J, Jodi Lyn D'Keefe and Adam Hann Byrd. There's also cameos by Janet Leigh in a good scene with Curtis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the opening sequence.

"Halloween:H20" was a surprise box office hit. Many critics enjoyed Curtis' performance, which it is one of the reasons why "Halloween:H20" is worth watching. But the screenplay by Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg (The Prophecy 2, 1408, Reign of Fire) has some major problems. The seventh film of the series suffers a bit too much from false scares and humour (Certainly from the LL Cool J character, i liked this actor/rapper but his role as the security guard/wannabe cheesy romantic writer seems out of place with the film). Also one of the problems, i felt it was too short. The screenplay should have been more complex. But it has enough thrills, suspense and excitement to make it better than it is. Overall "Halloween:H20" is truly a good sequel that should have ended there. Although i enjoyed "Halloween:Resurrection" on a guilty pleasure level. I felt the final scene between Laurie and Michael to be oddly intriguing, especially it nearly humanized Michael. This is certainly one of the most underrated sequels of all time, this is worth re-discovering since it's been 10 years from its release. Kevin Williamson, the then hot-screenwriter of "Scream" and "I'll Know What You Did Last Summer" did some re-writes in the screenplay. Which he's only credited as one of the co-executive producers. Super 35. (****/*****).

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Arguably the best of the "Halloween" sequels, "H20: Twenty Years Later" serves as the wonderful book-end to the story, offering a satisfying and entertaining conclusion.

Author: MaximumMadness from United States
1 October 2016

Ah, the mid-to-late 1990's... sort-of a rebirth of horror in a way. After all, the period from 1990 to about 1995 was wholly and decidedly a relatively murky period for the genre, with quality releases being very few and far between. Audiences were tiring of the holdover 80's slasher flicks and ho-hum ghost stories, with really only a handful of stand-out creep-shows to keep horror fans satiated. With so few quality-choices (notably the mini-series "It" from the book by Stephen King and the wonderful thriller "Candyman" from the stories of Clive Barker), it was no wonder that the early 90's were considered a "dead" period.

Then, "Scream" happened and changed everything. It proved that not only could horror be widely appealing at the hands of gifted writers and quality filmmakers, but also showed that the old tropes and clichés could be "hip" and "cool" again when handled with care and a degree of nostalgic love.

So, it should come as no shock that after the colossal misfire that was the previous film ("The Curse of Michael Myers"), the "Halloween" series got a new lease on life with a post-"Scream" sensibility in this 1998 release- "Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later." A minor degree of self-awareness, a focus on modern teenage and young adult culture and a fun blast from the past by way of original star Jamie Lee Curtis made the series relevant and modern in a way that both worked to re-invigorate interest and also pay homage to the series origins.

The film was lovingly crafted to serve as a book-end to the original, cleverly taking advantage of being released on the twentieth anniversary of the John Carpenter classic as part of it's schtick. It was built up as the "Halloween" to end all "Halloween's"... A "Halloween" for the modern era. A "Halloween" for the sharp and post-modern 90's crowd. And a "Halloween" that honored the long- beloved roots of the series.

Directed by Steve Miner, the film revolves around Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode, now living as a teacher under a false name. Still haunted by nightmares of her murderous sibling Michael Myers, Laurie is trying her hardest to move on. But when her brother comes calling, the stakes are set for a final and apocalyptic battle from which only one can emerge alive.

The success of the film really falls onto its clear adoration of the original and the desire to "evolve" and "complete" the story that it started in a new and fresh way. You can feel the love for that film oozing in virtually every scene here, with many subtle homages and call-backs. Yet it also builds and evolves the franchise in a way that previous films hadn't. Whereas prior sequels truly did feel like they were simply trying to re-create the magic of the original to increasingly diminishing results, "H20" actually has the guts to say "No, the best way to pay tribute to the origin of the series is to make homage and continue the story, but allow it to change with the times." A huge part of that is the result of that late-90's self-aware mindset popularized by other films, and I think it works wonders. There are numerous levels of subversion that make you second-guess where it's all leading, there's plenty of banter and humor that satisfies the audience, and it also makes the wise move to make all the characters likable... nobody here really has their own agenda as so many other slasher-sequels have done with their characters.

Miner's direction is strong, with a keen sense of scope, atmosphere and composition. He finds just the right balance between old- fashioned cinematography and 90's era aesthetics, giving the film a unique tone and visual palate that both compliments and contrasts with the Carpenter original.

Performances are uniformly strong for the material. Curtis is a joy in her returning role, giving Laurie a grand sense of pathos but also a drive to finally face her fears. Supporting roles by the likes of Josh Hartnett, Adam Arkin and even rapper LL Cool J round out a likable and believable cast. And there's no sore thumbs to be found. Also of note is voice-over artist Tom Kane, who perfectly re- creates the brilliant dialog of the late Donald Pleasance in a wonderful opening sequence. (Also, keep your eyes peeled for future superstar Joseph Gordon- Levitt in a small role in the opening sequence!)

Should I have to address any negatives, I would definitely have to dock some slight points for a frankly shaky first act, which does fall back on the old tropes and clichés a bit too much. It just feels contrary to the much stronger second and third acts of the film, and it doesn't do much to subvert expectations or built on the legacy of the series. I also take some slight issue with the film's at times break-neck pace... it's already a fairly short film, and it rushes a bit too much for everything to really set in.

Still, those flaws being stated, I can't help but feel that for my money, this is the best of the "Halloween" sequels. It built off of what came before, served as a loving tribute and also book-ended the series with what was at the time built up to be the final entry in the series. To me, the "Halloween" franchise is a trilogy- Carpenter's "Halloween", it's first sequel "Halloween II" and this film, "H20." Everything else to me is pure fan-fiction.

I give "Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later" a strong 8 out of 10 as a horror fan and in particular as a fan of the franchise. Definitely worth seeing. (It's follow-up "Resurrection"... not so much.)

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18 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Good

Author: evanston_dad from United States
1 November 2005

"Halloween: H20" makes an obvious effort to return to the franchise's roots and recapture the qualities that made the first one so good. It doesn't come close to succeeding, but it does manage to become, in my opinion, the second best of the series, though that's pretty faint praise.

There are some creepy scenes early on in this film (the one in the deserted rest stop bathroom, most notably), but this movie really exists for the sole purpose of having Jamie Lee Curtis kick Michael Myers's ass, and the catharsis in watching her do so is worth the price of admission. There are some obligatory killings, but they go for gruesome rather than frightening, which was not John Carpenter's approach. But when Laurie Strode takes matters into her own hands and comes after Michael with guns blazing (so to speak), hold on to yourselves--violent tendencies seem to run in this family.

The producers of this movie use a bigger budget to add some modern "scary" sound effects for atmosphere and fill out John Carpenter's original score with a sweeping orchestra--it's like John Williams' version of the Halloween theme. The whole thing feels like it's running on an I.V. drip of pure adrenaline. But fans of the series, or at least of the first two films, should enjoy it.

LL Cool J is totally wasted in the token black character role, and Janet Leigh makes a pointless appearance as well, but listen for the brief strain of Bernard Herrman's "Psycho" score in one scene with her.

Grade: B

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