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Release Date: September 26th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1998

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook

Overview -

25 years ago, Jamie Lee Curtis returned to the franchise that launched her career (for the first time) with Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. A solid relaunch for the franchise, Curtis holds point while the then-upcoming cast gets their moments to shine. Previously issued on 4K UHD from Scream Factory, Paramount slices up their own bare-to-the-bone disc with the same Dolby Vision transfer and 5.1 audio but zeroed out of any bonus features. It has a nifty SteelBook but collectors with the previous disc are all set (unless you really love SteelBooks). Worth A Look

Oscar® winner Jamie Lee Curtis* returned as Laurie Strode in 1998 for a terrifying reunion with Michael Myers, 20 years after the original Halloween.  Now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, Laurie must face the horrifying events of her past as the life of her own son hangs in the balance.

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR10 / Dolby Vision
Audio Formats:
DTS-HD MA 5.1
Release Date:
September 26th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

From our 2022 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (Scream Factory) 4K Ultra HD Review 

After surviving the brutal rampage of one of the deadliest mass murderers in history, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is haunted by the encounter with her brother Michael Myers. Living under an assumed name in seclusion as the headmaster for a posh boarding school, she struggles to get by as her son John (Josh Hartnet) tries to live a normal life as a teenager. When most of the school leaves for a field trip, Michael Myers turns the school into his own personal bloody killing ground until Laurie is forced to face her worst nightmare. 

Given that I was a fan of the sixth film, I was curious to see where the franchise was going to go next. After seeing the teaser for this film revealing the return of Jamie Lee Curtis, my excitement was at peak levels. I had no idea Friday the 13th 2 and 3 director Steve Minor and his writers were going to roll back the clock and expunge Halloween III through Curse of Michael Myers from the rolls. The follow-up I’d hoped to see after the off-camera death of Doctor Loomis and the son of Jamie Lloyd would never come. Sitting there in the theater with my best friend on opening night, I was pissed, but he was having the time of his life because he wasn’t as absorbed into the series as I was. It took me a bit to get on board with this franchise reboot, but I eventually got there. I like it more as the years pass and I become more forgiving of its little peccadillos. 

Today I dig the film overall, but I don’t shy away from how messy it all is. What should have been a grand return for the franchise turns into a great showpiece for Jamie Lee Curtis, but little else. Being wrung through the Dimension Films horror machine, the constantly changing Michael masks, the low kill count, the flashy editing, it all just feels like a would-be Scream sequel that doesn’t know what it's doing or where it's going. After the shocking ending, the franchise should have stopped there, but Evil Doesn’t Die Tonight and a misguided sequel was quickly called up.



Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

As they continue to mine the depths of the Miramax/Dimension horror vaults, Paramount delivers Halloween H20: 20 Years Later on a single-disc 4K UHD + Digital release for the film’s 25th Anniversary. Pressed on a Region Free BD-66 disc, the disc is housed in a stylish SteelBook case with a plastic slipcover that alters the cover art. Between the original poster art (that was a Scream knockoff really), the Scream Factory custom art, and this SteelBook, the SteelBook wins for style, presence, and overall horror impact. The disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

Slipping in on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the second time, this release from Paramount appears to source the same transfer that was supplied for Scream Factory’s efforts. This shouldn’t be a surprise really since Paramount’s logo was on the disc and case artwork for Scream’s Halloween 1995-2002 4K collection. My wager is Paramount will issue Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween: Resurrection in solo editions in due course. For this outing, the Dolby Vision transfer is virtually identical. Not quite bit for bit the same, obviously the disc encoding is different, in some cases this disc has a higher bitrate, some cases the Scream Factory disc is higher - but ultimately there’s no real marked differentiator to say one is better than the other. To that end, I’ll repost my thoughts from our 2022 review: 

Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later celebrates nearly 25 years of terror with a slick new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision HDR release. Like Curse of Michael Myers, there has been a slight change to the color timing of this film, but it’s no way near as dramatic. It actually complements the film giving a more fall-like appearance and helps skin tones, whites, and primaries come to life. Past disc releases had far too much of a red push so blood would be too pink and skin tones always looked too flush as if the entire cast ran a 10-K before each take. Sourced from a new 4K scan, the image is significantly cleaner without the speckling issues of past releases and the image doesn’t show any signs of past edge enhancement or smoothing sins and the film grain is appealingly cinematic. 

Dolby Vision (and HDR10) has been smartly applied to allow the deep shadows and black levels to become more stable and inky without crush issues or detail loss. For the film's final act with the variable light sources, shadows offer more light gradience so when Michael creeps out of the shadows it's much more effective. Colors are handled well with reds again appearing more natural, blue skies or Janet Leigh’s car from Psycho looking the correct shade of baby blue. Whites are also clean and crisp without that pinkish hue of past discs. Likewise, the included 1080p Blu-ray showcases these changes for an overall very pleasing release. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

Like the video transfer, it would appear that Paramount used the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track - and again, that’s not a bad thing. Would Atmos have been cool? Sure, but not necessary. With DTS Neural:X it opens up nicely giving the track a little extra presence and sense of atmospherics. The DTS-HD MA 2.0 track has not been brought over. Here’s my comments from 2022:

Flipping between discs, it sounds like the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 AND 2.0 tracks were brought over for this release. Which isn’t bad at all. Dialog is clean and clear throughout without issue. Sound effects are lively enough to keep the channels engaged and moving. I have my qualms with the overworked score for this film, but it accents the mix nicely and keeps things engaging. Activating my receiver’s DTS Neural:X function really kicked things up a notch giving the mix a bit more imaging and presence throughout the channels. 

Special Features

Ranking:

Here is where the knife guts the proverbial pumpkin, there’s nothing here. No audio commentary. None of the interviews. None of the archival extras from Scream’s previous sets are here so for a 25th Anniversary Disc - this isn’t the area to celebrate.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a solid Halloween flick. Despite it feeling a bit more like a Scream cousin, Jamie Lee Curtis’ first retcon requel return to her famous character is still a fun creepy flick. Steve Miner keeps the suspense building with Curtis fiercely taking point for this franchise follow-up. One year after Scream Factory’s big box set, H20 gets its first solo 4K release in time for its 25th Anniversary. While the transfer is still excellent and the audio is solid, fancy snazzy SteelBook packaging isn’t quite enough to make up for the egregious lack of bonus features, new, legacy, or otherwise. To that end, for those who didn’t pick up the big three-film 4K set last year, you can now add the film to your 4K collection at a lower price point, but the better release really is found in that three-film set. For those that already have this on 4K, this one is only a novelty for the SteelBook - Worth A Look