Movie Review: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Halloween 5 poster
Halloween 5 poster

[Editor’s Note: Halloween: The Ultimate Collection is now available and contains EVERY Halloween movie made! Check it out!-TMW]

Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers – 1989

Directed by Dominique Othinin-Gerard. Starring Donald Pleasence; Danielle Harris

With the success of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers, the fires of the franchise had again been stoked.  To capitalize on this renewed interest,  a year later horror fans were treated to Halloween V (subtitled The Revenge of Michael Myers in all of the promotional materials and later home video releases, but on screen referred to merely as Halloween 5).

 

The film opens a year after Return, with a now-mute Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) spending her days under care at a pediatric hospital. Also present at the hospital is Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who has become aware that a strange psychic bond exists between Michael and his niece. Whenever Michael is on the hunt anywhere in the vicinity, Jamie can sense where he is. Loomis realizes that this could give everyone the edge they need to stop Michael and wants to exploit this connection, but Jamie is understandably reluctant.  Unfortunately, Michael -having survived the assault at the end of the previous film- has resumed his murderous rampage, once more targeting Jamie, leaving her little choice but to face him again.

Dr. Loomis tries to appeal to Myers.
Dr. Loomis tries to appeal to Myers.

 

This flick is wildly uneven. In the negative column,  Director Othinin-Gerard has no clue how to elicit performances from his supporting cast. The secondary characters here are all interchangeable cannon fodder, existing specifically to set up gruesome kill shots (it must be noted, though, that the makeup effects here are terrific. Halloween V features some of the bloodiest deaths of the franchise and they are well executed).  Also, the ending to this one is convoluted and bombastic, another cliffhanger involving a mystery man who breaks Michael out of a cell. This time it comes off as irritating, not intense.

 

Countering these faults are solid performances by Pleasence and Harris, the latter really taking it up a notch. Considering she doesn’t have any dialogue for roughly the first half of the film, Danielle Harris does an incredible job here.

 

This little girl has gone through Hell and back.
This little girl has gone through Hell and back.

The cinematography is pretty sharp, too. There’s a car chase through some fog-enshrouded woods, a scene in a barn and a cat and mouse chase through a dilapidated house that are all eerily shot and really capture the creepy vibe of the holiday.  It’s also worth mentioning that Michael himself is an impressive visual presence here. A stuntman/actor by the name of Donald Shanks assumes the role, and the man stands about 6’7. Michael is an imposing force throughout and he’s graced with a redesign of the classic mask that looks unusually sinister. There’s a real sense of physical danger in the scenes where he’s pursuing Jamie.

 

Factor all of these elements together and you have a sequel that only partially succeeds as a Halloween film, but is a surprisingly effective slasher flick.

 

It’s flawed, but you could do a lot worse than Halloween V.

***1/2 out of ***** Standard slasher fare with a bit more story and style.

Check out the Halloween 5 trailer:

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