The night HE came home… again.

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After the runaway success of Scream in 1996, slasher films found themselves thrust back into the limelight like a kitchen knife through supple teenage skin, so it was no surprise that the Sultan of Slashers would make a stirring comeback just two years later.

The Halloween franchise had started to look tired and irrelevant in the 90s, with only the disappointing Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers to show for nearly a decade of cinema. Luckily, Scream provided a much needed shot in the arm for the entire genre of horror but particularly the sub genre of slasher movies. The problem that arises from Scream‘s ubiquitous influence is that Halloween: H20 feels more like a Scream film than it does a Halloween film at times. The first half of the movie finds an uneasy mix between a group of teenagers dodging a school trip (including Josh Hartnett and Dawson’s Creek alumni Michelle Williams) and the more familiar Laurie Strode/Michael Myers plot line that Halloween fans know and love.

There are some smart moments and a couple of nice nods to the original, but again, this meta approach works better in a Scream movie than it does a Halloween one. Michael Myers and the films he appears in, have always benefited from a complete lack of self awareness, therefore avoiding the knowing campiness that invaded both the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday 13th franchises, so jokes at Myers’ expense don’t really sit well here.

That being said, the conclusion to Halloween: H20 is genuinely, breathtakingly, brilliant. The decision to ignore every other Halloween sequel and reunite Jamie Lee Curtis’ iconic character Laurie Strode with her big brother Michael Myers, is inspired, and lends the ending a gravitas and finality that no other character possibly could.

It is a shame then, that the worst Halloween sequel of them all would follow this one, but to long term fans Halloween: H20 is the final and best Halloween sequel.