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For better or for worse, Halloween H20 rips the Thorn storyline out of the franchise to focus on what really matters to Michael Myers: his sister, Laurie Strode. What we get are current teen stars at the wrong end of a butcher’s knife.

Movie: Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)

Plot: After twenty years, Michael Myers gets it in his head that his sister, Laurie Strode, is still alive. He’s right of course. Laurie Strode faked her death and has been living as Keri Tate, with a son and a broken marriage and a job as headmistress for a private school in California. So naturally, Michael goes for a visit.

Killer: Michael Myers, with a shiny new mask.

Critique: As mailed in as it might feel, the plot behind Halloween H20 is pretty sound. Maybe the fact that the past three films featured a cult angle that ended on a down note for the franchise is helping this plot get a pass, but I have to give credit where credit is due.

The problem is, the rest of the film just feels like teenie-bopper slasher filler.

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The best scene in the film is when Keri/Laurie tells Will about her past. We all know the story, but the fact that Keri/Laurie talks about it is a liberation for her from all of the Michael Myers hallucinations we see her having. PTSD is a hell of a monster. This scene also acts as a climax to the film, which would be great if it were some psychological drama that Brad Anderson was directing. But it’s not. It’s a slasher film where the killing seems nonsensical to the point of boredom. Sure, Keri/Laurie may have found the power to behead her serial killer brother because she works through her fear of the past in a 3 minute monologue spits in the face of twenty years of therapy, but by then we just needed an ending to the Michael Myers story.

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Scene of Awesomeness: Sarah’s agonizingly slow chase scene and death was as close to awesome as this movie gets. It probably has something to do with her crawling around with an extremely detailed broken leg.

Scene of Ridiculousness: After teenager Jimmy checks out Marion’s house for a burglar and declares the coast is clear, Ms. Chambers goes into her house instead of just chilling out for the cops. Something tells me teenagers have a little less experience checking out a crime scene than the police.

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Body Count: 7. The body count hasn’t been this low since the first film, but at least that film was classic.

1 ice skate to the face

1 knife to the back

2 throats slit

2 stabbings

1 beheading

No breasts. This is a teenie-bopper horror movie, so no surprise there.

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Actors/Actresses of Note: Who isn’t an actor or actress of note? We have Jamie Lee Curtis back, joined by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams of Dawson’s Creek fame, LL Cool J, Adam Arkin, and even Janet Leigh from the legendary shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho from 1960, complete with car.

Quote: “Oh, we’ve got a psychotic serial killer in the family who loves to butcher people on Halloween, and I just thought it in bad taste to celebrate.” – John

Grade: D+

By Pat Emmel

Patrick began collecting a library of VHS tapes, DVDs, and CDs when he was young, and continues to build a library that could easily double as a video store and/or a revitalized Tower Records.