Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

100 Movies before we move: #24

Emmy says:
The tension and anticipation created by this film is palpable with outstanding performances and creative directing leading the audience through a horrific experience. This is substantially enhanced by the theme being woven into scenes and at one point having a bass line come in to heighten the dread. Horrible beautiful. 10/10.

Jeff says:
Until this weekend, this was the first and only Halloween movie I had seen. I saw it when it first came out. Of course, I knew the backstory … I just hadn’t witnessed it first hand on screen. Now, having seen the movies before it, it has so much more impact that it even did at the time. This is a tense, visceral film that – while on-screen gorier than usual – continues the pattern and style of the original while turning it up to 11. Easter eggs galore that just make it a delight in places as well. This one still hits hard, and (so far) is still my favourite (just edging out the original). Two films left to see if that stays true (we’re not including the Rob Zombie remakes). Continuity B started strong. 10/10.

IMDb

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

100 Movies before we move: #23

Emmy says:
This film has left me struggling with the plot. I’m glad I got an explanation of sorts for how Michael has more lives than a cat, but “Boots” (the nickname we have for the man in the shadows) feels like he has been foisted into the story. Loved the performances of Rudd and Hagan, and the evolution of practical effects used. I have been left conflicted. 7/10.

Jeff says:
Wow. This one is hard to review. It turns out we were watching the Producers Cut. For those who don’t know what that means, this was a version that was only available on bootleg VHS for many years before being officially released on Blu Ray in 2015. In this version at least, there were many tie-ins to the earlier films that I appreciated. There was also a commitment to the Halloween aesthetic of out-of-shot gore (apparently the theatrical cut was replete with on-screen gore and flash jump cuts, which I would have hated). While the story was engaging enough, and the acting was almost universally good, the script (and apparently production) did not treat anyone nicely – and so ends ‘Continuity A’ in this series. 7/10.

IMDb

Halloween 5

100 Movies before we move: #22

Emmy says:
Another wonderful performance from Danielle Harris, I definitely enjoy watching this young Scream Queen. Loved the work by the costuming department. The story fell a bit flat for me. 7/10.

Jeff says:
This followed 4 the same way 2 followed 1, and again it worked well. Not set over one night, though, the action is suspenseful (or tries to be). On one hand we see what looks like an over-reaction by the police to follow the vaguest hint from a little girl … but it’s Loomis, who has turned into a crusader, that they believe: because he hasn’t been wrong. Fair enough, and still so different to most other horror films. Overall, though, this movie suffers from middle movie syndrome – there has to be set up for the next film (hello boots) while having to follow what was done in the previous film. A tough act that i’m not sure came off exactly as intended. 7/10.

IMDb

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

100 Movies before we move: #21

Emmy says:
Gripping story with great tension and timing. Wonderful performance by Danielle Harris. Terrible work by the foley artist really lets down this film. 8/10.

Jeff says:
The return of Michael Myers brings a return to form. While not involving John Carpenter at all, this film adequately uses the playbook he created with the first film. Tense set pieces, realistic decisions in the moment … what this franchise does well: that Myers isn’t dead is the only thing that we need to suspend disbelief for, the rest makes perfect sense. Great acting from the newcomers to the series, and Donald Pleasence continues to be the rock this series is founded on. 8/10.

IMDb

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

100 Movies before we move: #20

Emmy says:
Solid acting and practical effects. It’s a shame they were wasted on this plot. 7/10.

Jeff says:
Remember when the Halloween series was going to be an anthology? No? Neither does anyone else. The idea was dropped when this movie flopped in cinemas. An interesting story idea, with a not-terrible cast … but the writing lacked John Carpenter’s creative genius and the whole film suffered as a result. Not the worst horror movie ever, but not great. Still Ryan Hollinger and Good Bad Flicks both have nice things to say about this movie, so each to their own. 7/10.

IMDb

Halloween II (1981)

100 Movies before we move: #19

Emmy says:
The steady cam POVs continue in spectacular fashion and build tension brilliantly. The implacable pace with which Myers continues is a terror itself. Wonderful direction and acting. 8/10.

Jeff says:
A worthy followup to the original, but there were just a few things that bugged me. I get atmospheric lighting, but hospital corridors would never be that dark would they? Also, one of the most controversial ret-conns of horror, which I’ll say no more about. Loomis continues to be excellent, and the competency of the police was evident … shame the same couldn’t be said for (some) the nursing staff. 7/10.

IMDb

Halloween (1978)

100 Movies before we move: #18

Emmy says:
Good use of steadicam for long POV shots. Good use of ‘peek-a-boo’ is he there/isn’t he shots to build tension and suspense. Excellent use of just-off-screen killing to allow imaginations to do more than special effects could. 8/10.

Jeff says:
The movie that essentially created the slasher genre, the final girl trope, Jamie Lee Curtis’ career, and became the benchmark for so much of ‘modern’ horror. This movie is definitely all of those things. By today’s standards it’s fairly tame, but the music still works; the tension is palpable; and Curtis’ Laurie is a worthy final girl who tries to do everything right – and is rewarded for it by surviving (although she could have turned more lights on). This is the sort of horror film I like – they don’t need to be bloody to be good. 8/10.

IMDb

The Darkest Minds

100 Movies before we move: #17

Emmy says:
Enjoyable and predictable. 6/10.

Jeff says:
I don’t think there was anything in this film that I didn’t see coming, or that hadn’t been done before in some other dystopian YA series. The story, as it is, moves along well enough but little is allowed enough time to develop real depth or meaning. The ultimate villain is predicable but made more heinous in ways that really weren’t necessary to the story. The ending left it clear this was aiming to be first in a series of films, but I don’t think the situation can really sustain anything believably. At its best when it is four fugitives on the run, let down by lazy formulaic world-building. 5/10.

IMDb

I Kill Giants

100 movies before we move: #16

Emmy says:
The imagery presented is shadowy and distorted, yet beautiful and morbid. A gripping tale with an artful script that doesn’t over indulge. This is a director worth watching. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This was not the movie I thought it was going to be from the trailer I saw quite some time ago. I’m not sure I was ready for this – I spent most of the movie struggling with the premise and wondering when the other shoe would drop (are there giants or is she just mentally unwell?) … but that’s not what the movie did. Instead, this film turns out to  be about something completely different and much more devastating. Solid acting, and the pay-off is quite powerful. It’s just unfortunate that the main character is just so abrasive and unlikable (without us knowing why) for too much of the story. 7/10.

IMDb

The Seagull

100 Movies before we move: #15

Emmy says:
A walk through melancholia with just enough highs to illustrate the low you are visiting. A great cast support this Russian story and bring terrible life to the humanity within. 8/10.

Jeff says:
This is not the movie I was expecting. I am aware of Anton Chekhov, but I didn’t know The Seagull at all. The trailer intrigued and the cast looked excellent … and that much was true. However, this is a story of thoroughly unlikable characters who don’t notice how damaging their actions are to the people around them. Everyone is so self-absorbed (none more so than Irina, played amazingly by Annette Benning), they even talk AT each other rather than with. I can’t say I enjoyed this film, but it was very well made and the cast did a superb job of making me hate their characters (which I think was the point?) 7/10.

IMDb

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

100 Movies before we move: #14

Emmy says:
A fun glimpse into the legend that is Vivienne. Great details with the get up and go possessed by the woman and the beliefs held by her. 8/10.

Jeff says:
An intriguing look into the story of an icon of fashion. The insight into the times when she wasn’t an icon of fashion – because the establishment didn’t want to recognise her – was fascinating. There’s a lot of material covered, but there was a lack of coherence that made it hard to follow at times. This seems to be a deliberate choice (the movie is framed around Westwood not wanting to deliver a standard biography, but it was distracting. The stories, fashions, and causes were all there though – but not all that deeply, the movie could have done with being longer to spend more time fleshing out details. Worth watching though. 7/10.

IMDb

Next Gen

100 Movies before we move: #13

Emmy says:
I’m not feeling well, so my review is somewhat limited. I enjoyed this movie, the animation was great (the flowers looked amazing), I got emotional at the parts I was supposed to get emotional at. Momo’s comic relief was very enjoyable. I’m not sure what else I can say. 9/10.

Jeff says:
This is a well-made film: the animation is well done; the cast is excellent; the stated moral is a good one. So why didn’t I enjoy this movie more? I felt the ‘technology is isolating us’ message was too heavy-handed; I felt the ‘bully antagonist who is just misunderstood’ side plot was a misstep – she WAS a horrible person, and there was no acknowledging this; the protagonist was NOT a likeable person, despite her having reasons to hate the world. This is, of course, a kids movie – but giving some robots ‘personality’ and making us see them as people while at the same time blithely destroying hundreds of others (amongst so much other destruction) seemed to completely undermine the point about making friends. Meanwhile, happily destroying symbols of authority (police bots) is a GOOD message for kids? A fun action ride, but at what cost to our humanity? 5/10.

IMDb

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