John Carpenter priced himself out of the production, so it was up to Friday the 13th Part II and III director Steve Miner to fill his shoes for Halloween H20.
But can anyone really fill Carpenter’s shoes?
In this update (terrible title, my god) we meet Laurie Strode again, 20 years after the Haddonfield massacre and living under an assumed name. And she’s moved to California, which is rather hilarious as there were a few unintended palm trees as well as a mountain range popping up in the supposed “Illinois town” of the first film.
Strode is still being tormented by visions of The Shape, creepy masked killer Michael Myers.
Gotta hand it to Myers. Maybe he had a private investigator? Or maybe he’s telekinetically connected to his sis. Who knows? Either way, he managed to find her and make the 2,000-mile trek out west.
Rarely can horror films be accused of being blessed with acting talent. But…There’s an embarrassment of riches here. There’s Jamie Lee Curtis (a given), but also Michelle Williams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Hartnett, Adam Arkin, and LL Cool J as well. So with a running head-start, how does this one fare?
Upon revisiting…not so well.
Sense of place can make a world of difference in horror. The very best horrors have exceptional, memorable settings. Think The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or the grimy streets of Ed Koch-era New York in Maniac.
This is a humdrum stucco prep school. Dull-as-dirt.
And there are two ways to go with antagonists: either they’re the focus and you go inside their heads like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, or there’s the less-is-more mystery…what we’ve come to expect from Michael Myers. Here, he “insists himself upon you,” to paraphrase Peter Griffin’s take-down of The Godfather.
By the admittedly low standards of reboots, H20 isn’t even close to being the worst. That being said, it occupies space alongside Zombie’s Halloween as thoroughly unnecessary.
** (out of 5)
[Check out our podcast discussion of Halloween H20!]