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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (4K SteelBook Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

It's twenty years later, Laurie Strode is living under an assumed name, and is the headmistress at a Southern California boarding school -- but her past catches up to her again in the form of the masked killer Michael Myers.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The seventh entry in the horror franchise started by John Carpenter in 1978, Halloween H20, coming twenty years later, is also one of its weakest. We find out that Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) faked her death to escape from the unkillable Michael Myers. She changed her name and became headmistress at a private boarding school where her son, John (Josh Hartnett), also attends. Josh is tired of dealing with his mom’s trauma and her overprotectiveness of him because of it. All he wants is to enjoy a good time with his friends and his girlfriend. With Halloween arrived, the worst day of the year for Laurie, the tension between Josh and Laurie boils over, and Josh and his friends, his girlfriend, Molly (Michelle Williams); Charlie (Adam Hann-Byrd); and Sarah (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), plan a romantic evening in the school alone, drinking and eating while the school is empty. Everyone else is away on a trip to Yosemite from which, Laurie blocked Josh going. Meanwhile, as Laurie has a date with the school counselor, Michael Myers, who has tracked her down to her Southern California school, begins his killing spree again, and people finally begin to understand the reasons for her paranoia.

Directed by Steve Miner (Lake Placid, Friday the 13th Part 2), Halloween H20 feels too much like it is trying to capture the zeitgeist of 1990s horror, such as in films like I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) or Scream (1996). It has a sleek, stylized look, spends a lot of time on nineties teenage angst in its first two acts, and does not get to the bones of it all – the slasher element, the kills – until the final act of the film. The shoehorning in of the big reasons to watch the film, Michael Myers, is a definite failure. Jamie Lee Curtis is also tragically underutilized in the film, as if she were only cast for fanservice, same with her mother Janet Leigh.

The who’s who of 1990s young actors such as Michelle Williams and Josh Hartnett, do what they can with the paper thin material and try to martial on with the franchise, but this is a paint-by-numbers entry that feels like it is out of steam and uninspired.

  • Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Josh Hartnett and JLL Cool J in Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Josh Hartnett and Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Josh Hartnett in Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh in Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Halloween H20 (1998)
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 4K SteelBook (Paramount)
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 4K SteelBook (Paramount)
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 4K SteelBook (Paramount)
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 4K SteelBook (Paramount)

The Video

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later was remastered in 2022 using a 4K digital intermediate. Originally shot on 35mm film stock with a 1998 vintage, it is difficult to call this 4K edition terrible given the film grain is very consistent, looks natural, grain density seems very fine, and the source is clean, but detail just does not standout with a strong sense of textural information, there is an overall dimness to the picture, and not much dynamic range. At times, the picture looks a bit soft to me. The Dolby Vision grading is a non-factor, with some slightly boosted specular highlights in lights, but the shadow details are weak, with some slight crushing.

The Audio

H20 comes with English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo mixes. The sound is good, with a lot of clarity and strong use of the surround channels. The balance is good between the front and back and there is solid underpinning with the low frequencies.

The Supplements

This release comes with no bonus features or extras, not even a Blu-ray copy of the film. Only a digital copy code – not a Movies Anywhere digital code because Paramount STILL does not support that – is included in the package.

The Final Assessment

Halloween H20 is far from being the best entry in this franchise and not one of the best looking on 4K from the franchise either. That said, it looks acceptable, just not like a reference level disc. The lack of bonus features does not help the situation either. There is only so much the admittedly gorgeous SteelbBook artwork can do.


Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is out on 4K SteelBook September 26, 2023 from Paramount.


  • Rating Certificate: R (for terror violence/gore and language)
  • Studios & Distributors: Dimension Films | Nightfall Productions | Trancas International Films | Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Director: Steve Miner
  • Written By: Debra Hill | John Carpenter | Robert Zappia
  • Run Time: 86 Mins.
  • Street Date: 26 September 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: German DD 5.1 | French DD 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | German | French | Mandarin
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It's twenty years later, Laurie Strode is living under an assumed name, and is the headmistress at a Southern California boarding school -- but her past catches up to her again in the form of the masked killer Michael Myers. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (4K SteelBook Review)