After being shot down and buried within a deep pit in the previous film, Michael Myers escapes by crawling through a tunnel and floating down a river before being presumed dead for a year after nobody bothered to look for his body and confirm his demise. He is nursed back to health by a weirdo in the woods and proceeds to go about his annual routine of attacking attractive young people on Halloween night. Why is all this so contrived? Because Michael Myers makes money!
Which is stupid because this premise didn’t have to be so contrived. The early parts of this film establish that Jamie now has a psychic link to Michael (to explain the ending of the previous film) so that she know what he’s up to and who he’s killing. With these overt super natural elements coming into play, I wouldn’t have minded the film opening with Michael being dead and Jamie somehow unwittingly reviving him due to the evil she absorbed living inside her from the previous film. But instead of doing anything remotely interesting with the best thing about its predecessor, we get Jamie in a children’s clinic suffering PTSD.
And, to be fair, while not as interesting as it could have been to double down on the supernatural elements this film introduces, the whole situation with Jamie being in recovery is really fascinating. She is simultaneously taken care of well by staff and family, but routinely visited by Doctor Loomis who maddeningly interrogates her about the whereabouts of Michael at every opportunity he gets. This step in Doctor Loomis’ character – making him an absolute nut-job – is probably the one and only piece of character development in this film of any value. It feels like it’s the natural direction for this character to go.
The rest of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is unfortunately just as forgettable as it’s predecessor, if not more. Whereas the previous film had the bond between Rachel and Jamie to lean on in tense situations, this film does away with that by having Rachel be killed before the plot begins to take shape. Instead she is replaced by her friend Tina as Jamie’s partner, but the two rarely share screen time before Tina also meets her demise. I’m not sure why the decision was made to discard Rachel’s character so quickly – maybe the actress didn’t want to do the film? Maybe the writer’s didn’t want her involved in the story for some reason? Who’s to say? But the film is certainly worse-off for it.
The movie plays out exactly as you would expect with nothing surprising happening at all. Michael kills some people because the police are incompetent, Doctor Loomis comes in at the last moment to save the girl and then it ends.
Urgh. It ends…
The ending to this film is just plain bad. Throughout the film, be it through signs painted on the walls of Michael’s childhood home or the appearance of a shadowed figure, it is implied some weird cult is following Michael around. They don’t interact with the plot in any way until the end where they shoot up an entire police precinct to free him from custody and disappear. It’s an unearned ending that is purely sequel bait. Whereas every other ending within the Halloween franchise could have potentially been the definitive, yet ambiguous end, what makes me so cynical towards this one in particular is how shamelessly this film rubs it in your face that nothing you just watched mattered because there will be another one that tortures these characters all over again. Why? Because Michael Myers makes money!
The only truly stand out moment this film has to offer is Jamie referring to Michael as her uncle, which causes him to stay his hand before killing her. He removes his mask so that she can see his face, although us viewers can not. We see a tear roll from his eye before he dawns the mask again and goes in for the kill, realising he’s allowed himself to become too vulnerable. It’s the sort of sequence that would have worked better if the film had at all leant into the relationship between Jamie and Michael (beyond the necessity of Michael needing to kill a loved one) even once before the final showdown in his old home.
In so many ways it is just like Halloween 4; full of potential and even one or two bright ideas, but executed so poorly throughout that even the moments that do work never succeed in sweeping you off your feet. That and the fact that Michael wears a truly awful mask in this film – it looks like it was stretched out after being rolled under a bulldozer.
It’s a little hard trying to rank this film relative to Halloween 4 because of how similar they feel, but I think that Halloween 4 is just about better than this one. Sure, it lacks any and all horror or subtlety, but at least the few things it does do well, it did better than this movie. In Halloween 5 the good is often drowned out by the bad or the stupid.
The stupid being these two police officers introduced in the film, that the film decides to tell us are bad at their jobs by having loony-tunes sound cues played when they do stuff. There was a few moments in here where I felt like I was watching a cartoon rather than a horror movie. I also think this is where the franchise may have lost it’s ability to walk the line between corny and real. A lot of Loomis’ dialogue about evil just doesn’t land the same as it used to. It still feels corny, but isn’t grounded by anything. The tone of this movie is completely off, and what I diagnose as the cause for this.
So no, I cannot recommend Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Thusly, my ranking below will continue the trend of displaying how each of the original Halloween releases continued to only get worse and worse as they progressed.
At the end of every Halloween review I will rank the film’s I have reviewed so far from best to worst. Find the updated list below:
- Halloween (1978)
- Halloween 2 (1981)
- Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1983)
- Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
- Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
NOTE: While I am sorry it had to be a negative one, I’m happy to deliver you this Halloween review on Halloween night!