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IN SHORT: Referential but not reverential. A long overdue and fitting conclusion to the Horror that is Michael Myers.
The last slice'n'dice flick Cranky deliberately paid hard earned cash to see (as opposed to review) was director Steve Miner's Friday the 13th Part 2. It's somehow appropriate, then, that Miner helms Halloween: H20 (as in years) with Jamie Lee Curtis returning in the role of the now deceased Laurie Strode. Hold that thought . . .
As always, Cranky doesn't compare with the Source material, and most certainly not with sequels 3 through 6, though I'll make a couple of references 'cuz it's necessary. As yes, I would paid real money to see Jamie Lee's reprise in this flick, so off we go.
. . . Laurie Strode is now Keri Tate, headmistress of the Hillcrest Academy, a locked up tight and gated and very remote private school. With a fresh identity, a fistful of Percodan and the alcoholic beverage of choice, Keri survives day to day fearing the return of the murderous brother, Michael Myers, whose body never was found. She's found comfort in the arms of guidance counselor Will Brennan (Adam Arkin) and is mother to a seventeen year old son, John (Josh Hartnett).
Seventeen is an important number, as is Twenty, and both play prominently in the story. If you walk into the theater with high expectations, expect most of them to be met. H20 is a simple "Michael Myers is alive. You're gonna die, unless . . ." story [you can finish the sentence from what you've seen in the TV commercial. Cranky ain't giving it away.] A scattered, thick brained, portion of the sneak preview audience Cranky sat with yelled eight letter obscenities at the screen as the inevitable conclusion approached -- one called out "this doesn't happen in real life!" [well, duh] -- but everyone else got more than they paid for.
If you've never had exposure to Halloween, there's enough background in the script to fill you in. It doesn't explain why Michael is the seemingly unstoppable and unkillable killing machine that he is. The de rigueur burst of screeching soundtrack music at every kill, or would be kill, is about as manipulative as it gets. If Scream is your primary reference to scary flicks, you can't fail to see the hand of Kevin Williamson (who apparently did a treatment for the movie, though you won't find his name in the credits).
Like Scream, there are prominent co-stars (LL Cool J, Third Rock From the Sun's Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dawson Creek's Michelle Williams) prominently dying, though not all of them, and the killings are all brutal. Jamie Leigh Curtis' real life mom, Janet Leigh offers "maternal advice" as a concerned secretary. Leigh's appearance triggers Psycho references all over the place -- you do know that she starred in that landmark Hitchcock movie, don't you? -- both visually and in the soundtrack. Appropriate, since Psycho composer Bernard Herrmann was the man who first penned the screeching soundtrack chords that have stunned in every horror flick since. There may be an earlier use, but I don't remember it. Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" is used to parody a sequence from the original movie and also to foreshadow a later plot device. Yum.
H20 is scary, and just as manipulative as any run of the mill horror movie. It looks good. It knows its place as a sequel. Characters from the original flick appear, one way or the other. The story is just enough to support a reason for this killing spree, but barely so. Some of the killings are extremely gruesome, and the soundtrack is trés manipulative. In short, Halloween H20 is everything you want. Cranky knows the history. Cranky had a blast.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Halloween: H20, he would have paid . . .
In my gut I feel like "the older you are" the more you'll like it. That's the draw of the history.
And despite what you
may have heard, Michael "Mike" Myers isn't dead. He's making
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
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