Halloween: H20

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Steve Miner

REVIEWED: 08-10-98

It's been 20 years and five ineffectual sequels since John Carpenter tried to capitalize on the legacy of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho with Halloween, and in the wake of Scream and its coyly reflexive progeny, the timing of this reprise seems especially irrelevant. Neither as viscerally bold as the original nor as hip nor as slyly irreverent as the upstart new generation of teen-slasher knockoffs, this anniversary issue is nonetheless an efficient if grimly produced exercise.

It boasts not only the Queen of Scream herself -- Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode -- but the archetypal victim of Psycho violence, her mother, Janet Leigh, in a teasing but substanceless cameo. The past two decades have been hard for Laurie: though she has a good job as headmistress of a boarding school, a callow teenage son (Josh Hartnett), and an understanding boyfriend in the school's guidance counselor (Adam Arkin), she still wakes up screaming. With Halloween coming on and her 17-year-old son now the same age as she was when the masked knife wielder first struck, she realizes what we knew all along -- Michael Meyers is back.

To its credit, H20 taps into the pathology underneath the mayhem -- Michael is, after all, Laurie's brother, and most of the victims are sexually active. For the most part, though, the film's only dynamic lies in who does, or doesn't, get it. As for what evil lurks behind that death-white mask, maybe in another 20 years some filmmaker will get it right.

--Peter Keough

Halloween: H20

Full Length Reviews
Halloween: H20
Halloween: H20
Halloween: H20

Capsule Reviews
Halloween: H20

Other Films by Steve Miner
Friday the 13th, Part 2
Friday the 13th, Part 3
Lake Placid

Film Vault Suggested Links
Friday the 13th, Part 3
The Shining
The Crazies

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