It’s been ten years since the events of the first beloved entry into the Halloween franchise and a new generation is upon us. After the failed attempt to take the franchise into the direction of an anthology inspired series with Season of the Witch, we are introduced to Danielle Harris’ “Jamie Lloyd”. Lloyd is the daughter to Jamie Lee Curtis’ “Laurie Strode” or the sister to the franchise’s killer Michael Myers. This entry in particular is tells the story of Michael’s pursuit of Jamie.
While she is the daughter of Laurie, she is no one where to be seen in this film. Jamie is a foster child. It feels like they were trying to truly find footing with how to continue this franchise without its’ scream queen star. This film marking Danielle Harris’ debut, she really does hold her own. Harris demonstrates a variety of emotions throughout the film; ranging from trauma to joy. It’s kind of surprising how well she pulls off the sense of PTSD she has to the uncle she’s only ever heard stories about.
However, while Jamie Lee Curtis may not be around to be the final girl; the film does possess another link to the original two films in Donald Pleasance’s “Dr. Samuel Loomis”. This is a Loomis which is a bit more unhinged than he was in the previous two entries. You really get to see first hand how this tragic event has really shaped this decade of his life. Pleasance nails the slow unhinging nature of Loomis to a tee. That again is another strong reason as to why Harris shines. She holds an energy about her performance that rivals that of Pleasance, a seasoned veteran.
The Danielle Harris movies are often overlooked in the franchise. While performances like Pleasance and Harris make the film worth wild, it’s not with out its’ rust. Take Michael Myers for starters. There’s a certain nature and grace one has to give when bringing a killer icon like Myers to life. Given the fact that you are not saying anything throughout the film. You are solely relying on body language to get your performance across. Played by George P. Wilbur, a stunt man who should have never quit his day job. The mask is just a bit too bit for the tone of the film. It almost feels like someone watched Star Trek: The Next Generation saw Mr. Data and thought “take out the eyes and you have a perfect Michael Myers”.
The motivation of Michael has always been an interesting angle to take. This film is bold in its’ approach to put the daughter of Laurie Strode; a young actress in the role of protagonist. It does work but the man behind the mask is just a bit too wooden in his delivery – even for a horror film.
By the film was released to theaters, the horror genre was already forecasting a formula on how to truly succeed as a film. This entry is no stranger to the formula. While yes, there is a good amount of blood and gore to please any horror fan. We have an unnecessary sub-plot of the film with a love triangle that really does take you out of the film every second it takes up screen time. It feels as if they had a certain running time in mind to hit but couldn’t figure out what to do – this was the best they could have come up with. The plot adds nothing to the film and the time could have been better spent developing what really happened to Laurie Strode, Jamie’s foster parents or even more Loomis. Anything but this love triangle.
Overall, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, is a film that’s often forgotten in the Halloween cannon but it’s not without its’ charm. Strong performances from Danielle Harris and Donald Pleasence make give the film depth with its’ psychological nature. Even the motivation and direction of the franchise with this film will entice you. However, with a wooden antagonist and some plot issues it’s not the strongest entry into the adventures of Michael Myers.
FINAL SCORE: 3/5
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