Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

Directed by: Steve Miner

Release Date: 1998

A rewatch for me since I actually saw this on the big screen, I was thoroughly impressed with the story and pacing of this installment in the series. Additionally, this film was a throwback to the horror landscape in the late nineties as well as the actors starring in the picture. From the top of the dome: Michelle Williams, LL Cool J, Jamie Lee Curtis (of course), Janet Leigh (mommy!), and wait for it - Josh Hartnett's film debut! Can you believe this was his first picture and then he did The Faculty? Some shyt, I know.

This being the first Steve Miner picture I've ever seen (haven't seen the first two sequels to Friday the 13th but they are on my list of films to watch!), I went with the movie. Plot is real simple: Laurie Strode (under a new name) is the dean of the school her son, John (Josh Hartnett) attends. He turns 17 and the Shape is back to get her.

What worked particularly well was the pacing of the story. The audience knows it's been twenty years since she tussled with her brother and survived. What was glossed over a bit was how Michael learned her whereabouts - a nurse obsessed with what happened twenty years ago, has a shrine to the tragedy full with pictures and articles. The rest of the movie follows Laurie, her paranoia, the Shape hanging around campus, LL Cool J as campus security who writes erotica (hysterical), Michelle Williams as Hartnett's girlfriend (Jen Linley comes to mind in this role), and the forgettable other couple who we know is going to die anyway. The performances worked for the movie and the Shape was as menacing and lumbering as ever.

Overall, a great horror picture for any occasion (or Halloween) and serves as a time capsule of the late nineties when every other picture was targeted to teenagers. But especially being introduced to Josh Harnett.

Josh Hartnett was so young in this movie! Not to mention, he was in every other picture in the late nineties to early 2000s. What happened to his career? Pearl Harbor tried to turn him into Leonardo DiCaprio (think Titanic); 40 Days and 40 Nights could have been great but the movie fell flat; the debacle of The Black Dahlia - it was a clusterfrak because he couldn't carry the movie, the story was interesting but too overblown, and it was an exercise in gorgeous cinematography but not enough to keep the viewer invested; and 30 Days of Night was fun but the only details I can recall are that it's a vampire film in a cold state with neat effects. I'm sure with a few well reviewed indies he can bounce back. I ain't hatin' on him, just highlighting the fact that he was "the shit" back in the day and now, not many people even remember who he is. Oh the plight of an overhyped actor.

For your perusal, the trailer: