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FW Weekly Jamie Lee Gets Revenge

By Joe Leydon

AUGUST 10, 1998:  Twenty years after surviving an assault by a masked maniac on a murder spree, former baby-sitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still seriously bummed out. She drinks too much, medicates herself too often, and remains obsessively protective of her teen-age son (Josh Hartnett). Even though she's able to work as a boarding-school headmistress and sustain a relationship with the school's guidance counselor (Adam Arkin), Laurie is haunted by memories of the blood-stained bogeyman who, to make a bad situation almost unbearably worse, is also her blood relation.

Everyone tells her that she should stop worrying, that Michael Myers, her insane sibling, is long dead. Unfortunately, everyone is wrong.

Halloween: H20, the surprisingly clever horror thriller that re-introduces Laurie and Michael, is not so much a sequel as a respectful homage to John Carpenter's trend-setting 1978 classic. Halloween, the first and best of the so-called "slasher" movies, has lost none of its power to fascinate and frighten, even after two decades of imitations, follow-ups and blatant rip-offs. The makers of H2O - director Steve Miner, co-executive producer (and Scream screenwriter) Kevin Williamson, scriptwriters Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg - have wisely returned to the original roots, ignoring almost everything revealed in the sequels following Halloween II and concentrating on the inevitable rematch between the one-time baby-sitter and the full-time psycho killer.

You could say that H20 is the movie that Halloween fans have always wanted, in that it gives Laurie the long-overdue chance to take charge and fight back. Jamie Lee Curtis proudly reclaims her crown as Queen of Scream here, but that's not the best of it. When Laurie finally grabs an ax to arm herself for a counterattack against the fiend she knows and loathes so well, you can't help cheering. Call it poetic justice: After shedding so much blood, sweat and tears, she's entitled to empower herself.

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