Ok, yeah yeah yeah, I can take the easy way out and only lambaste this flick for being the wussy whaa whaa teen Horror that it is, but there are some things it does right. This is the first film in the series to have a glossy, professional look. Steve Miner is responsible for a great deal of Horror classics including the fan favorite FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, and he does give H20 a sleek and stylized look and feel. After fans and critics panned the previous installment, it was also a good time to jump-start the series by creating a divergent timeline and re-introducing a stronger, bolder Laurie Strode to a new generation of moviegoers. Even though the film doesn't really kick into gear until about the hour mark, the pacing never lets down, and moves rapidly as Michael closes in on the school. There is a pretty low body count, but there is some degree of suspense knowing The Shape could be lurking down any of the halls. Michael also seems more collected and less impusive than he had become later in the series, which recalls the original portrayal of the character.
The problem is that the film was made under the tyranny of the post-SCREAM 90s Horror industry, where Horror had to have big teen icons, had to be safe for the kiddies, and had to suck in order to rake in that sweet sweet teen dollar. It is a straightforward, formulaic Slasher, but it can't really be faulted for that. The deaths are all very tame, and the entire film feels like a teen-edgy episode of Dawson's Creek complete with music by the post-awesome Creed. Laurie does comes off as being an ultimate badass, but the rest of the characters get the smack downs they deserve for being such boring teen stereotypes.
In the end, H20 isn't a total loss, and it is arguably a better film than the two sequels preceding it. But then.. It paved the path for RESURRECTION..
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