A guy who cranked out episodes of coming-of-age suburban dramas like The Wonder Years and Dawson’s Creek, might not be the first choice to helm an installment of one of horror’s most beloved franchises, but there you go. Steve Miner was put in the major role of masterminding Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and while by no means a classic for the ages, it has enough oomph and thrills that it’s a worthy enough successor to the John Carpenter original.* And the jump scares feel earned.
What really works is the performances.
Horror films, particularly 80s slashers (the kind Halloween, the original, left in its wake) were not exactly known for their robust ensemble casts. Here, you get the always exemplary/dependable Michelle Williams (ooh, a Dawson’s Creek tie-in), a terrific Josh Hartnett, and of course, Jamie Lee Curtis reprising Laurie Strode. Also, there’s the bonus of an awesome dispatching of triple-threat Joseph Gordon Levitt, who meets his maker in the most Canadian of fashion.**
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later focuses on a PTSD Laurie Strode, whose son John + classmates are trying to get out of a prep school sojourn to Yosemite Park, so they can get down to what teens always wanna do: throw a party in their parents’ absence and get down to friskiness/drunkenness.
Meanwhile, Michael Myers is on the loose, doing what The Shape does best: decreasing the life expectancy of everyone within the immediate vicinity.
And no, Steve Miner not John Carpenter, and seemingly every reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes feels compelled to point out. But really, who is?
Halloween H20 is better than it has any right to be…And that’s all we can typically hope for as sequel after endless horror sequel leaves the assembly line. It’s basically quality control, right?
*** (out of 5)
*Please see our review of the terrible Rob Zombie Halloween reboot
**This killing made it into our book, Death by Umbrella! The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons!