Halloween: H20 (1998)
Directed by Steve Miner

Starring Adam Hann-Byrd Jamie Lee Curtis Joseph Gordon-Levitt Nancy Stephens

Really excellent movie turned out to be the best in the series since the second, if not maybe even the first. "Scream" had done so well at the box office that the entire film industry had renewed faith in the slasher genre and were already cranking out copycats such as "Urban Legend." With dollar signs in her eyes, Jamie Lee Curtis decided to reenter the lucrative Halloween franchise. With her name on the project, Dimension Films (which had taken over the series from MCA) put big bucks behind production of the seventh in the series. They recruited "Scream" scribe Kevin Williamson to write the plot.

The result is a kick-ass horror film directed by Miner, who has come a long way since directing "Friday the 13th Part 3" more than a decade earlier. John Carpenter had been the producers' first choice but didn't want to have anything to do with it. Although fans have criticized this movie as not being sleazy enough (it was, some critics charge, way too much like the "Scream" films), the truth is it marked a major uptick in the slasher genre. For a brief time in the late 1990s, slasher films were respectable again and they could afford to hire top-talent to make them. "H20" boasts top-notch actors, great writing and stellar production values. It was also directed by the man who helmed an absolute fan favorite of the Friday series: Part 3.

"H20" wisely disregards everything that happened in parts 4-6, even though Part 4 is actually a pretty damn good Halloween flick in its own right. The problem with it, however, is that Laurie Strode was reported dead in that movie and even left behind a daughter. Not so in the "H20" universe. Strode has instead gone into the government's witness protection program since police never found the body of her masked-killer brother, Michael Myers. She's now the dean of a secluded private boarding school which her teenage son also attends. Twenty years have passed since the events of parts 1 and 2, hence the "H20" in the title.

Of course, Myers shows up, kills some teens and has a final confrontation with his sister. The gore is wisely kept at a minimum; the emphasis here is on suspense. That's probably the reason some horror fans hate this entry in the series -- it's very politically correct. But, heck -- it was either this or nothing. The Halloween series was ready to go into the direct-to-video dung pile before Curtis decided she wanted to do one more.

Donald Pleasence had passed away by the time this film was produced, but the nurse from the original film (played by Nancy Stephens) was brought back and serves as Myers' first victim.

Highly recommended. Unfortunately, the series would once again start to suck, when yet another sequel would be made. None of the creativity and intelligence that made H20 such a great flick would be present for the follow-up, "Halloween: Resurrection," which is arguably the worst Halloween film ever.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

USER COMMENTS

Posted by terrornights on September 16, 2008
one of the best in the series


Posted by Vesus on February 18, 2011
Gonna do some hardcore nitpicking here. Myers first kill isn't the nurse, it's that annoying kid from "Angels in the Outfield" and "3rd rock from the sun". In one of Michael's better kills, dude gets an ice skate through the face. Unfortunately you only see the aftermath. Then he offs the nurse lady.


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