Monday, January 19, 2015

Movie Review: Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later

Picking up the pieces of an already broken franchise, Moustapha Akkad once again tries to reclaim the series back what it once was. However, he brought an unlikely star along for the new project. And it turns out it's none other than....Jamie Lee Curtis.
the project would be a love letter to fans, not just some bloody gorefest. It was going to be a slick and more suspense-laden. The creators behind it even took the risk of ignoring parts 4,5, and 6, and to be honest, you guys, this was a GOOD idea, because I never really cared for those sequels that much, especially 5 and 6 which ruined the franchise completely. So now there is a fresh new story with a fresh new concept. And since this came out during the Scream era, it was definitely the right time to show the glory days of the original.
I like this movie. Some people might dismiss it as a scream copycat but that's not the case with me, it was a nice, slick entertaining throwback to the original Halloween and earlier slasher from the decade. It's got a great, charismatic cast, good writing, great story, and brilliant directing. It's a big step up from the last film and I greatly appreciated that. It's by far the more decent Halloween sequel in the franchise.
The Story: It's been 20 years after the disappearance of notorious serial killer Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, the once terrorized 17 year old girl, has now grown older and wiser, changed her name, and moved to another state. But somehow the past keeps coming back to haunt her. She tires to live her life the best way she can, however, a certain person from her demented past has come back and even the score. So Laurie must protect her teenaged son and his friends before Michael strikes again.

The cast was actually likeable and pretty solid, though, there's not much to say about the teen characters but they were cool enough.

Jamie Lee Curtis is back and better than ever! It takes guts for an actress to reprise this kind of roles cause unlike some big stars they would disown the fact of ever starring in a horror movie but Jamie Lee Curtis, she takes it with stride, putting a lot of passion into her character.

Laurie is kickass! this a woman that has been to hell and back and she isn't going to take it anymore. Once victimized and even disturbed by the memory of her long lost brother, she's like screw this and takes charge. And boy does she.

The fight between her and Michael was epic. Sure, it has it's silly moments but it was worth seeing Laurie finally kicking some ass and bring in the pain on Michael.

Alan Arkin was very charismatic as Will Brennan, even though there's not much to say about his character other than the usual love interest for Laurie. To think of it, he kind of reminds of an older version of Jimmy. Particularly because he spends so much time trying to get in Laurie's pants. Overall, He seems like a nice guy with a few funny moments.

Let's see what's interesting about LL Cool J's character....Not that much really. He basically spends half of the movie reading a novel he wrote to his wife. The scenes are amusing enough, but it doesn't add anything to the story. Though he does sneak in John Tate where most of the climax takes place, so he is somewhat useful.
So here are the teen character, though the most important is John Tate and Molly Cartwell. The other two are fine but nothing really too memorable about them:

John Tate is supposed to be a slight contrast to Laurie, who was a quiet, responsible good girl at 17 where as John who is the same age, 20 years later, is more rebellious, outspoken and assertive. Him and Laurie have a sort of complex Mother-Son relationship, if not complicated. Laurie is very overprotective of John, so it makes sense for him to rebel against her. Soon, Laurie becomes more reasonable and lets John go have fun with his friends. But only to find himself in the same position as his mother once was on that same Halloween night.

Josh Hartnett did a really good job. Not to mention, he's really handsome and charming as the mischievous bad boy.

Molly Cartwell, however, signifies the comparison between her and younger Laurie. She's around the same age, she's a good girl/girl scout, she has good grades, is intelligent, caring, nice and all around likeable. There is also an homage to the original where she looks in the window and spots Michael cemented her final girl status next to Laurie.

Future Oscar Nominee Michelle Williams really brought the aura of the Girl Next Door. She was so likeable in fact that it makes you care for her till the end.

There's not much development on Charles and Sarah but they are at least likeable and funny as Annie and Lynda, So I could at least give them some credit other  than being your usual horror movie victims.

Michael Myers is new and improved and I never been more appreciated. What's so great about him is that he's actually scary and seems like an actual threat. This villain who lives of on death and destruction.

So is Michael is back to his roots of being this dark entity, this evil who manifests himself and not some copycat of other horror villians.

The one scene I love the most is when Michael and Laurie comes face to face, good vs. evil, all the while she is trying save John and Molly. It's probably one of the most iconic shots of 1990's. How awesome is that? So I definitely like this version of Michael. He's not too bulky, not too powerful, just a guy who happens to be evil and a bit impeccable.
Steve Miner was the perfect choice on the director's chair. Mostly known for his work on Friday The 13th part 2 and 3(connection!), Miner was able to capture the feel of the original. Say what you will about the man, he knows how to craft suspense. He actually worked with Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham once, so I think the man knows what he's doing.

The scenes that I enjoy the most is the climatic fight between Michael and Laurie and the triumphant  ending. It is glorious. You think it's going to end but Laurie is like, "Hell no!", takes a cop's gun, steals the ambulance truck, runs over Michael and chops his head off:

That is one of the best horror movie endings ever! who's with me on that?
Now for some Trivia.

  • Janet Leigh makes an appearance and for all of you who don't know, Janet Leigh is Jamie Lee Curtis's mother. Her character in the movie is somewhat based on Marion from Pyscho, the movie which inspired Halloween. She even has the same car the character drives in the film.

  • John Carpenter actually was on board to work on the project but financial disagreements caused him to back on it.

  • Kevin Williamson was offered to co-wrote the script. So you can sort see a Scream influence on the film.

  • The working title of the film was once called Halloween 7: The Revenge Of Laurie Strode. Rightfully so.

  • The first Halloween movie that doesn't take place in Haddonfield.

  • Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees) once auditioned for the role of Michael but was rejected.

  • The movie was supposed to have Michael speak for the first time in the ending but  Moustapha Akkad scrapped it, so he could fill in the continuity for the 8th sequel. A sequel that I wished never happened.
The film came in third at the box office but despite not reaching number 1, it still ranked in 55 million domestically.
Again, I love this movie. THIS is how they should've ended the series. It seems like such a definitive sequel. I mean the filmmakers actually put their full head and heart into this. Some small portion of people don't really care for this but for most people, including myself, think this is by far the best sequel in the franchise. It was definitely refreshing to see Jamie Lee Curtis reprise the role that made her famous. And what I love most about this is that  they actually paid their respects to the franchise including offering their blessing to Donald Pleasance and his character Dr. Loomis for how they both contribute the series. I thought that was pretty cool.
I repeat, this is how the series could've ended. Could've ENDED. I mean how could the series get any better after that? and to be honest this is the best the series could offer. This should've been Halloween 4 and the series would stop there.
THIS is the Halloween sequel everybody waited for and that's how it will always be. Period.
My Last Word: Watch it! It's so worth it.


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