Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

STARRING: 

 

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode/Keri Tate

Josh Hartnett as John Tate

Michelle Williams as Molly Cartwell

Adam Arkin as Will Brennan

LL Cool J as Ronald "Ronny" Jones

Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Sarah Wainthrope

Adam Hann-Byrd as Charlie Deveraux

Janet Leigh as Norma Watson

Nancy Stephens as Marion Chambers

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jimmy Howell

Lisa Gay Hamilton as Shirley "Shirl" Jones

Chris Durand as Michael Myers

Tom Kane as Dr. Sam Loomis (voice only)

 

Plot:  

Two decades after surviving a massacre on October 31, 1978, former baby sitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) finds herself hunted by persistent knife-wielder Michael Myers. Laurie now lives in Northern California under an assumed name, where she works as the headmistress of a private school. But it's not far enough to escape Myers, who soon discovers her whereabouts. As Halloween descends upon Laurie's peaceful community, a feeling of dread weighs upon her -- with good reason.


It's been 20 years and here we are, back in Haddonfield. SWERVE, we're in Langdon, Illinois. If you've ever had the displeasure of driving through the garbage hole state of Illinois, you'll know there isn't a difference from town to town. They're already hitting the nostalgia hard, setting off the film with Mr. Sandman. Which, to be fair, is a real banger. 

The nurse who had her car stolen in the first movie comes home to broken glass and weird noises. This is Halloween weekend, after all. The first person she runs into is JASON VOORHEES! MY GOD! SWERVE. It's just Joseph Gordon Levitt in a hockey mask. For some reason, this middle aged lady is letting teenage boys protect her while she sits back and smokes. She didn't even call the cops herself. Are teenage boys who you want protecting you?

Of course, JGL checks the house and steals food and beer, then swings his stick around when an ironing board falls. Piece of shit. Once he exits the house, it has apparently been a few hours, as it is night time and the cops never showed up. She heads into her office, which is torn to shit and to make sure you get it, has a close up picture of Loomis and a folder with Laurie Strode on it while music from the first movie plays. OH SHIT HE'S IN THE HOUSE. GET THE FUCK OUT. She goes back to the neighbor boys only to find they're dead as shit. The cops FINALLY show up, hours later and miss the murder in the house over because they're saying things like, "Looks like a crime" when they show up to the house. Not only did they miss the murder, but they also missed Michael stealing the car out of the driveway at the house they were now inside. These cops are dog shit. The next day, we get an exposition dump that lets us know Michael's body was never found and that Loomis died a few years ago. "Michael Myers...yeah, right." 

Montage of Loomis's crazy guy office as an impersonator gives his monologue from the first movie. This music...kind of loses its feel when it is done full orchestral Danny Elfman style. 

Wait. Laurie, who is not dead, has nightmares from Michael's perspective? That's pretty weird. "Do you need something?" "Uhh. Yeah. Thanks." She never says what she needed. It is now Halloween and we are now in California. The key conflict that sets everything off is set up here; Laurie's son wants to go to Yosemite, but his mom is overprotective due to her...Michael Myers bullshit. It's an on going issue.

Now, on this very posh private school campus, everyone speaks like sexed up Dawson's Creek characters. Including some actors from Dawson's Creek. At a truck stop, a lady pulls over to take her young daughter to pee. Mike's car is there and for some reason, it appears to have aged 25 years from the drive to Illinois Cali. God damn how long is this kid going to piss for? Mike stole her car, with weirdly comical musical cue.

Now at this giant school that Laurie is the dean of, LL Cool J is the guard at the gate. And he's also a budding romance writer. "He turned just in time to see her enter the room with her long, slender legs that climbed high up her skirt, leading to two large, tumultuous, melon breasts." "It's stupid is what it is." His wife is not supportive of his dreams. Josh Hartnett and his Semitic friend beg him to be let out for lunch so they can buy rubbers and stuff. He initially says no, but gives in because he knows what it is like when ladies love you and you love them.

Now of course, Laurie and her K-Mart George Clooney boyfriend  also go out for lunch and they run into her son. Hi-jinx ensure. As it turns out, she's a big drinker. And hallucinates seeing her brother pretty much everywhere. Maybe because she shotguns two glasses of wine in about 25 seconds? Seems like that would play into seeing things.  I find it weird that mother and son have the same haircut. Mr. Sandman plays on the radio, which Laurie reacts to. Wait. Was that ever coming from a diegetic source in Halloween II or just in the credits? Did Laurie here the credits to Halloween II? Hyper-vigilant and paranoid Laurie Strode doesn't even notice the creepy car that followed her from lunch back to the school.

Molly, the to be daughter in law of Laurie, sees Michael outside of school just like Laurie in the original. The discussion is about Frankenstein, and it is SO in the head of the Laurie/Michael story that it is actually embarrassing. No room for subtly here. Lol, Laurie finally gives John permission to go on the trip he now doesn't want to go on at all because he's got a big fuck session planned. Dramatic irony.

What a weird time to use the main theme...while kids were getting on the bus. Laurie has a scene with Norma, who is played by her actual mother Janet Leigh Who asks if she can be maternal for a second. WINK WINK. This segues into her leaving in the car from Psycho with the main theme from that movie briefly playing. You see, it is an HOMAGE. Tell me why this super fancy school has buses with clearly spray painted out words on the side. 

LL is pretty shitty at his job, as he gets distracted by a car at the gate and Mike enters the campus RIGHT BEHIND HIM. He opens the gate for a running car with no one in it, goes to check it out without a weapon or flash light, leaves the gate wide open. Then the car manages to shut off on its own as Mike plays all of his stalker killer tricks in LL's little booth. 

Of course kids are watching Scream. They and Mr. Brennan have a weird sarcastic conversation about date rape and nipple piercing. Even weirder because these girls are underage.  That's super inappropriate, man. 

The remaining four kids have their sex dungeon lit up, stealing next week's dinner. Did they not think the school would notice? At the same time, Laurie reveals to Mr. Brennan that she is Laurie Strode. He doesn't care and wants to fuck immediately after she says her brother killed her sister with a giant knife. What a dick. This guy is a creep. Bootleg Clooney creep. 

                                                                                                                         Me, on most nights of the week

                                                                                                                         Me, on most nights of the week

Creepy Charlie looks for a corkscrew. He, of course, drops it in the garbage disposal. MICHAEL IS IN THE KITCHEN! HE'S GOING TO TURN IT ON! MY GOD! Lol. Nah. He just scares him. Is that mask CGI? It looks weird. And definitely not the same mask from earlier. Charlie's girl manages to get locked in the building. Of course. Charlie is found dead in the dumbwaiter. So far, only one of Michael's kills has been on screen. Little lady gets her leg broken in the dumbwaiter. John and Jen Lindley hear it and go check on it, making sure to turn off the CREED they were blasting and talking about "cheap scares". Mike stabs the shit out of her, but it is all off screen. How weird. Of course, Mikey puts the body in a cellar with a light INSIDE the chest cavity or something. Good thing they checked in there. 

Mike chases John and DC girl. John can fun fast as fuck even after getting stabbed in the leg. Mike and Laurie finally have their face to face moment. Mike is wearing a different mask from just a scene ago. K-Mart Clooney gets gungho and shoots LL, thinking the black man was a scary giant white guy with a BRIGHT WHITE MASK.  He then gets immediately killed with the first on screen kill in about an hour, which is a direct "homage" (aka rip off) of a kill from Halloween II. At also makes no sense how a full grown man's body was supported in mid air by a knife. It is especially bad at the end because the dude is clearly on a rig or harness to keep him in the air. This was just after Laurie repeated lines from the original, you know, because poetry. 

Lol, the car won't start. Of course it won't. But it finally does and Laurie decides to send the kids off and stay, because she's got UNFINISHED BUSINESS. She also fucks up the gate mechanism so police can't get in, even though she just told those kids to get the cops and an ambulance. Mixed signals, lady. Get your shit straight.

You see, Laurie is now the hunter, because she has an ax. She's calling his punk ass out, right here, right now, BOOOOOOY. Oh hey, Mike cuts her in the same spot he did in the original. What a surprise. Michael's footsteps are super inconsistent. Sometimes they're loud as fuck, and other times he's basically gliding on air. After a long chase/ fight scene, Mike finally takes a huge balcony bump through a table. CZFNW! Surely that was the finish. No one should kick out of that. She goes to stab the dead body, but LL does a run in and breaks up the pin. 

Laurie, having now been in three horror movies with this cunt, knows he's never just dead, so she steals the morgue van. And she was right, that fuck head sits up on that Undertaker 1991 shit. He's also thrown from the van gets right up. Then she runs into him and rolls off a cliff. The van smashes him against a tree. He's STILL ALIVE. So she chops his head off. FIN.

The credits cut straight from the original Halloween theme right into Creed. What's this life for? Even with the credits, this movie is under 90 minutes. This is a pretty shitty movie, for a multitude of reasons. First off, it tries to combine the feel of the original movie with the feel of Scream and doesn't do either well. The idea for Carpenter like directing was an occasional long shot and kills and lines directly ripped off from Halloween 1 and 2. In the original, the camera work was integral to the movie. It was another main character. This movie is shot just like every movie from 1998. As for the writing, it was dog shit. Kevin Williamson wrote Scream and Dawson's Creek. He was an executive producer for this. His influence is pretty obvious, as there are scenes straight out of Dawson's Creek but more sexed up for an R rating and Scream is playing in the background in a scene. Plus Michelle Williams is a main character. It has none of the pop from Scream, none of the direction from Halloween, and basically could have been a special Halloween homage episode on Dawson's Creek. Probably would have been better that way, since Dawson's Creek was dope. As a sequel in this series, it's just marginally above part 5, for sure better than Resurrection, but worse than 1/2/4/sometimes 6. It's just dumb late 90s trash. JLC must have fallen on hard times to come back for this shit, daddy.

Speaking of Resurrection, that movie reveals that after the cops and paramedics arrived, Michael put his mask on a worker and crushed the guy's trachea. So everything Michael survived (being in a body bag, being ejected from a car, being hit by a van, getting thrown down a mountain, getting crushed by the van against a tree) was actually survived by just some random guy.  The series should have died with Donald Pleasence.