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Steve Miner
Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Adam Arkin
Robert Zappia, Matt Greenberg

Now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, Laurie Strode must battle the Shape one last time, as the life of her own son hangs in the balance.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 85 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 10/7/14
Available as Part of “Halloween Triple Feature”

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Halloween: H20 [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 20, 2019)

After two flop sequels in the late-1980s, the Halloween franchise went dead again for six years. When it returned via 1995’s The Curse of Michael Myers, audiences continued to avoid it, as it made a bad-even-for-1995 $15 million.

Like its lead villain, though, the Halloween series wouldn’t stay dead, and that led to 1998’s Halloween H2O. The title referred to the 20th anniversary of the original movie and also brought the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, the hero of the 1978 film.

This became good enough to inspire an actual hit. H2O snagged a more than adequate $55 million in the US, a figure that made it one of the most successful of the Halloween flicks.

Strangely, the studio waited another four years for a sequel, but that’ll be the subject of another review. Though prior movies indicated that Laurie died, H2O reveals that she faked her demise so she could hide from her past.

Now known as “Keri Tate”, Laurie acts as the dean of a private school in Northern California. Despite her best efforts, Laurie’s past haunts her, which means she experiences alcohol abuse issues.

Laurie still fears the return of Michael, and that contributes to a rift with teen son John (Josh Hartnett). The truth comes out when Michael (Chris Durand) learns of Laurie’s whereabouts and comes after her.

Between Curse in 1995 and H2O in 1998, one important event impacted the horror universe: the release of the hit film Scream. After all those bad Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, the genre sputtered, as no new franchises captured the public attention.

Scream revived horror and updated it for the ironic 1990s. This meant a long list of wannabe films that used the same self-referential template.

That means H2O reflects the series’ past in a way not previously embraced. In addition to Laurie, we get the return of other long-gone characters and winks like the use of “Mr. Sandman”, a tune that featured prominently in 1981’s Halloween II.

Curiously, I get the impression H20 pretends that Halloween 4, Halloween 5 and Curse of Michael Myers didn’t exist. We seem to work from the notion that Laurie never had the daughter seen in those films, so H20 feels like an extension of Halloween II without recognition of other stories.

Which might not be the worst decision, given how bad those three films were. Unfortunately, H20 does nothing to better them.

To be clear, H20 strongly reflects the ironic/self-referential tone of Scream. It brings back minor cast from some earlier films and winks at us via the use of Curtis’s mother Janet Leigh in a small role.

Heck, H20 even nods toward Leigh’s famous part in Psycho in a few ways. I’ll leave those unmentioned here, but the movie likes its Easter eggs.

Those would be fine if the film felt like it had anything new to say. Unfortunately, H20 comes across as just more of the same old, same old. Despite the return of Laurie, H20 mostly offers yet another story of horny teens who get threatened/killed by Michael.

Despite the movie’s potential for psychodrama ala issues connected to Laurie, it doesn’t explore them well. The movie essentially lacks a plot and just uses story points as an excuse for more slaughter.

Like Curse, H20 does offer intrigue due to its then-unknown castmembers. In Curse, we got a pre-fame Paul Rudd, while H20 gives us early work from Hartnett, Michelle Williams, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

That might be enough for some viewers, as it’s often fun to see famous actors in their formative years. No other pleasures result from this trite, predictable tale, however.

The Disc Grades: Picture C-/ Audio D+/ Bonus F

Halloween: H2O appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. That alters the original 2.35:1 dimensions, and I don’t know why. Laziness? A basic mistake?

That I can’t answer. I do know that this becomes a pretty weak transfer, though.

Sharpness looked adequate at best. Close-ups showed reasonable delineation but wider shots felt tentative and mushy.

The presence of light edge haloes made these factors worse, as did digital noise reduction. Fine detail sputtered and faces looked clay-like and smeared.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred. Print flaws became a distraction, though, with sporadic specks and marks.

The movie’s palette tended toward a dull brown feel, with occasional brighter hues. Those made little impact, as they seemed restrained and dull.

Blacks felt inky and crushed, while shadows were too dense. This wasn’t an awful transfer, but it seemed below par.

Though released theatrically – and on DVD – with a 5.1 soundtrack, the Blu-ray oddly opted for DTS-HD MA 2.0. And it’s a weak 2.0 mix, one that failed to use the side/rear speakers.

This meant the audio felt monaural, as the center channel did all the heavy lifting here. If any material stemmed from the side or rear speakers, I couldn’t detect it.

Audio quality was decent. Speech usually felt concise and natural, though some of the lines that shifted to the sides seemed a bit off.

Music showed reasonable clarity and oomph, and effects offered acceptable accuracy and punch. Nonetheless, a soundtrack from 1998 shouldn’t focus so intently on one speaker, and that factor made this a “D+”.

No extras at all appear here.

With Jamie Lee Curtis back in tow for the first time in 17 years, Halloween H2O boasts some dramatic potential. Unfortunately, it becomes just another tired slashed movie with no new tricks up its sleeve. The Blu-ray brings sub-mediocre picture and audio and it lacks any supplements. It’s far from the worst of the sequels but it still doesn’t entertain.

Note that this version of H2O appears as part of a “Halloween Triple Feature” along with 1995’s Curse of Michael Myers and 2002’s Resurrection. An individual version of H2O exists as well, though it appears to use the same picture/audio as this version.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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