Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Adam Hann-Byrd, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, Janet Leigh, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Branden Williams, Nancy Stephens
Written by: Robert Zappia, Matt Greenberg, from a story by Robert Zappia
Directed by: Steve Miner
MPAA Rating: R for terror violence/gore and language
Running Time: 86
Date: 08/05/1998

Halloween H20 (1998)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Like Water for Slashing

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Twenty years after the original Halloween, and with Dimension Films charged up after some recent horror hits, including Scream, this sequel was greenlit. No mere quickie, Halloween H20 not only brought back Jamie Lee Curtis to the series, but also her mom, and the star of Psycho, Janet Leigh.

The rest of the cast included a selection of then-current, hot younger stars like Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, plus an adolescent Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and LL Cool J as a security guard. As a final touch, this one was written to be a direct sequel to the first two films, ignoring the events of four sequels that came in-between.

Now Laurie Strode (Curtis) is a mother of a teenage son (Hartnett), working as a headmistress at a California boarding school. Still paranoid about Michael Myers, she takes every precaution. But when Halloween comes around and most of the students leave on a camping trip, the time is right for the notorious killer to strike again.

It's too bad the movie couldn't have taken advantage of the existence of Scream and added some cleverness to the proceedings, or just a little self-awareness. The movie does reference several slasher classics, but it doesn't seem to want to build on them. However, I enjoyed the primal thrills and chills this movie provided. The actors are fine, and the characters are likable. The movie looks good, and the solid "B" movie direction by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2, Lake Placid) keeps things moving at a decent pace.

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