Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

halloween h20 20 years later poster 1998 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun relaunch of Halloween, feels like the original

Sometimes feels a bit too Scream-like

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Halloween H20:  20 Years Later

Studio:  Dimension Films

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  August 5, 1998

MPAA Rating:  R

halloween h20 20 years later jamie lee curtis michael myers

Hey, Mike…long time no see

For years, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has remained on the run from her past.  Now, she’s the headmistress of a elite private school and has a teenage son of her own named John (Josh Hartnett).  Michael Myers has returned to hunt his long-lost sister, and he’s cutting his way through whoever gets in his way.  It is Halloween night, and the events of Halloween night of 1978 have returned to haunt Lori Strode in 1998.

Directed by Steve Miner, Halloween H20:  20 Years Later also goes by other variations on the name (including Halloween 7:  20 Years Later).  The horror thriller follows Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers from 1995, but disregards all the sequels after Halloween II from 1981.  The movie received mostly positive reviews and was a box-office success.

The Halloween franchise has always had its ups and downs.  Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers was definitely a low-point for the franchise, and it was unknown if the series would rebound.  The horror renaissance of movies like Scream provided an in for Halloween in the form of a story by Scream writer Kevin Williamson.  Halloween H20 (with one of the worst names) is one of the best in the sequels.

halloween h20 20 years later josh hartnett michelle williams michael myers

You’re uncle totally sucks!!!

The movie has a lot of “thrills” put into it with a lot of smart and tense moments built into the script.  It has a lot of survivor trauma with the Laurie Strode character and gives her a means to round out her character’s story.  With an “older” female lead, the movie smartly weaves in younger teens to give the movie the feel of a regular slasher movie, but you could argue that the jettison of the last three films was a bit problematic for fans of the original series.

The cast is good.  Jamie Lee Curtis helped build the franchise, and it is good to see her back.  Both Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams were the “hot young actors” that helped make the movie more appealing.  The movie also has some fun with Jamie Lee Curtis’s mother Janet Leigh with both a visual and musical homage to her role in Psycho.  LL Cool J breaks the “guard duty” survival rate as Ronny, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a small role at the beginning of the film.  Nancy Stephens who first appeared as a nurse in Halloween returns to be a victim of Michael’s killing streak.

halloween h20 20 years later ending jamie lee curtis kills michael myers

Hey, sis…sorry I didn’t get you anything from Christmas…and I tried to murder you…multiple times….no bad feelings?

The key to Halloween movies is good jumps and scares.  Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers kind of failed in this sense and it was good to see the franchise back in good form with this movie.  The scares well executed and the movie has some nice tense moments (more along the lines of Halloween II than the original Halloween in my opinion).

Halloween H20 feels like a finish to the franchise.  Jamie Lee Curtis has her final showdown with her brother and the battle is bloody but cathartic.  With the success of the film, Michael Myers of course couldn’t stay dead and the Halloween:  Resurrection was released in 2002…and took much of the good-will built by this sequel and trashed it.

Related Links:

Halloween (1978)

Halloween II (1981)

Halloween III:  Season of the Witch (1982)

Halloween 4:  The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 5:  The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween:  Resurrection (2002)

Halloween (2007)

Halloween II (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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