Now we have another weird segue with 1998's 'Halloween Water'! Speaking for myself, I tend to see this as a direct sequel to 'Halloween II', and see 'Return', 'Revenge' and 'Curse' as its own little spin-off trilogy, where Jamie is basically the young heroine. However, it can just as easily be argued that this is all just Michael's story, and events exist in pretty much real-time from '78's 'Halloween' all the way up to 'Resurrection'. Either way, this is perhaps the most curiously critically "split down the middle" of all the 'Halloween' titles.
The film opens on October 29, 1998, where Dr. Loomis' former nurse, Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) enters Loomis' retirement house, which has been burglarized. She also finds that the file on Laurie Strode is missing. So two guesses as to who has the file. Perhaps more interesting is seeing a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this scene when he was still finding his footing as a film actor. He's accompanied by his friend, the lesser known Branden Williams, who one might eventually recognize from 'Entourage' among other roles. As for Loomis, it should probably be mentioned that Donald Pleasence sadly passed in 1995, so we would no longer be graced with his guilty pleasure Pleasence presence.
Meanwhile, Laurie is living under the name "Keri Tate", works as headmistress for a private boarding school, and has a blossoming relationship with a guidance counsellor named Will Brennan (Adam Arkin). Behind closed doors, however, she still lives traumatized by the events of Halloween, 1978. She suffers from night terrors, and has the ongoing fear that one day Michael will come back for her. Little does she know that Michael is already well on his way. Conveniently enough for the film's purposes, the academy is emptied when a load of students and teachers head on a school trip to Yosemite.
Now that the slaughterhouse is set up, Laurie is left behind with Will, her son, John (Josh Hartnett in his first movie role), his girlfriend, Molly Cartwell (Michelle Williams), security guard Ronny Jones (LL Cool J), and a couple of other classmates who throw a Halloween party in the school's basement. And while the set-up is fairly typical of a 'Halloween' movie, this just seems to have a little more to it somehow or another. Some might call this pretty slow, which I can't deny I understand. But a lot of that time is taken to get to know some of the characters a bit more as well as develop Laurie's story. On top of that, I've always really liked the final showdown here. It gives me goose bumps when Laurie calls Michael's name and the 'Halloween' theme kicks in.
Personally, I like this one. It does a good job of being creepy, it's cool to see Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) come back all grown up, it both fits in well with the teen horror craze of the late 90s and harkens back to the original. There's a certain intensity to it at times, and all though it's a bit slow to get going, once it does, it does. It's another good example of how the whole anniversary thing works with this franchise, and 1998 marked the 20th anniversary, hence the H20 (see, I knew it wasn't "water"). In all honesty, aside from the first, this is probably my favourite of the original 20+ year run. It's not perfect, but it certainly delivers what I want in a 'Halloween' movie without needing to get all dark and culty.
Body Count: 6