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Logline: Now the headmistress of a private boarding school in Northern California, Laurie Strode must confront her brother, Michael Myers one last time.

Review: Steve Miner’s Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later is a flawed but fun sequel that brings back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode.

H20 has its fair share of problems.  The film ignores parts 4-6 and instead, is a direct sequel to Halloween II (1981).  This presents a lot of problems.  I usually do not notice plot holes but the ones in this film are so gaping that they are hard to ignore.  For example, why is that Dr. Loomis is said to have died of old age when he clearly blows himself up at the end of Halloween II to destroy Michael?  This is just one of many continuity holes in the film that cannot be easily overlooked.

The real treat in H20 is the presence of Curtis, who gives a great performance.  Curtis has always been grateful to Halloween (1978) for making her a star and decided it would be a great idea to make a twentieth anniversary film.  She wanted John Carpenter to return as the director but he was not interested.  Instead, Steve Miner directs and the results are fine though the film does look a little generic.

The character of Laurie is a far cry from the young woman we knew from the first two films in the series.  Laurie is now an overprotective mother and a shrewd alcoholic whose brother, Michael Myers continues to haunt her.  While I understand her character’s progression, Laurie is not a likable character here.

H20 includes no less than three different masks used for Michael and they are all bad.  Michael is often seen wearing different masks in the same scene and it is extremely obvious.  There is even a CGI mask used for one shot and it looks absolutely terrible.

H20 has the highest production values of any Halloween film and features a cast of up and coming actors, such as Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  LL Cool J and Janet Leigh also star in the film.  All of these actors do a fine job.  The inclusion of Leigh, the mother of Jamie Lee Curtis and the star of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), was a nice touch.  She appears with the infamous car used in Hitchcock’s classic.  If Halloween (1978) is the father of all slasher films, then Psycho is surely the granddad.  H20 marks Leigh’s final screen appearance.

Donald Pleasence died shortly after production finished on the abysmal sixth installment, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), his final appearance as Dr. Sam Loomis.  His absence in this film is sorely missed.  The use of another actor to voice over his famous monologue from the first film during the opening credits is obviously not him and is done in poor taste.

The film’s third act is the best thing it has going for it.  It is a fast paced thrill ride as Laurie confronts Michael once and for all.  I love the final scene and wish they had ended the series there.

H20 was a good idea but it was not executed very well.  Despite its flaws, it is still a lot of fun, though and worth a look for horror fans.

Rating (out of ****): **1/2

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