*This review contains spoilers for Halloween 4 and Halloween 5.*
The beginning of Halloween 5 picks up exactly where part 4 ends, but that’s just to show how Michael survives another implausible situation. The bulk of the film takes place exactly one year later: Jamie is in a psychiatric children’s hospital of sorts thanks to her attack at the end of H4, and Michael is being kept alive by some random guy who happened to find Michael dying on the side of the lake. Apparently comatose until now, Halloween sees Michael Myers wake up, kill his savior (which is a feat that Rob Zombie homages in his remake of the original with the character played by Danny Trejo), and head back to find his 9-year-old niece. The rest of the film plays out as expected.
Halloween 5 is interesting because the first two-thirds of the movie are an excellent slasher film. But then something happens later on. Specifically, two scenes happen that really kill the momentum, and take the movie down a couple of pegs. First is a barn scene at a party. This scene is clearly built to deliver a kill, which is fine. What isn’t okay, though, is how pointlessly long the scene takes get to that final endgame. It drags, but not nearly as much as when Michael traps Jamie in his house. This scene is almost laughable it’s so stretched out! How long can one make climbing up and down a clothes hamper (I think that’s what it was, anyway) exciting? Not very long, as this film proves.
Director Dominique Othenin-Girard also adds in some controversial elements in Halloween 5, the two most notable being the Myers house, which looks nothing like the original house in the first two films, and the introduction of the “Man in Black”, played by the director himself (his shape, anyway). The only solid connection that is made between Michael and this Man in Black is an identical tattoo on both their wrists. Though we see the Man in Black multiple times throughout the film, his origin is never explained. He even shows up at the end of the film to, presumably, shoot Michael out of jail. This could have been an interesting addition, but, as the director admits in the commentary track, he didn’t really know what his purpose was. There’s no doubt he had an idea, but his unwillingness to share that idea both in the commentary track or in the film is frustrating, and a big hit on the movie. (I’m lead to believe that this will be given some justification in the next movie, but it’s been way too long since I’ve seen it to make the connection.)
Halloween 5 could have been my favorite sequel in the series, but some directorial choices ruin an otherwise solid slasher. The end of the fourth film sets up a really interesting premise that this fifth film could have followed, but instead, it takes the traditional, expected route, and doesn’t do it as well as it should have. Danielle Harris is excellent again, but this is the lesser of her two sequels.