Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Jacobs, & Shem Bitterman, and released in 1989, this film initially picks up where the previous one left off, showing Michael Myers being shot multiple times and falling down an abandoned old mine shaft.
It then shows a new scene of a state trooper dropping a stick of dynamite in the shaft, to ensure Michael is dead, and closing the opening to the shaft. But we go below and see that, OF COURSE, Michael has survived, albeit badly wounded. An old hermit lives in those underground tunnels, and takes Michael and nurses him back to health, while Michael appears to be in coma. Again.
One year later, on Oct. 30th, Michael wakes up, kills the hermit, grabs his mask and heads back to Haddonfield.
Danielle Harris returns as Jamie Lloyd. But this film chose not to make her the new villain, as the ending of Halloween 4 suggested. She’s been in a children’s psychiatric ward for the past year, after stabbing her foster mother (referred to as her “stepmother” in this film, and who survived the attack instead of dying as was implied previously), Darlene Carruthers. Ellie Cornell returns as Rachel Carruthers, she comes to visit Jamie, who doesn’t talk to her, or anyone else. Rachel meets with Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence again) to talk about Jamie, and when Jamie starts screaming about Michael, Loomis figures out that Jamie now has some kind of telepathic connection to her uncle, and can sense his actions, which is how Loomis figures out that Michael is returning to Haddonfield to kill again.
Beau Starr returns as Sherriff Meeker, who is initially skeptical of Dr. Loomis’ claims. But as Halloween approaches, and Michael makes his way to town, killing Rachel and then systematically killing her friends and others in town, Dr. Loomis and the Sherriff devise a plan to use Jamie as bait, moving her into the old Myers house, knowing that Michael can sense her the same way she can sense him, and will come to get her, where they have set a trap.
I remember not thinking so when I first saw this film, but now I really feel it was a cop-out not to go with making Jamie a psycho killer, as the ending of Halloween 4 implied. I know that attempting to replace a horror icon is risky, as the makers of the Friday The 13th films discovered when they tried to have Tommy Jarvis take Jason Voorhees’ place, but it would have been interesting, in my opinion, to see a female slasher, which is rare in horror. It probably wouldn’t have worked with her just being nine years old, they may have needed to skip forward to her being an adult, but I would have liked to have seen them try.
Logically, it’s hard to imagine a Sheriff going along with the plan to use Jamie as bait like that. That stretches credibility, even for a horror flick. The notion of Jamie and Michael having some kind psychic link to each other is also a little out of left field, but I guess is used to hammer home the idea that Micheal’s fixation is on killing his family (or at least the female members of his family), as suggested in Halloween 2, when his relation to Laurie Strode was first revealed. There’s also a running subplot as we see from the beginning that Michael now has some kind of strange symbol tattooed to his right wrist, and a mysterious figure dressed in all black, who also has the same tattoo, is traveling to Haddonfield.
Overall, it’s not a bad film, for the most part. It’s just nothing particularly special. It’s pretty much a retread of the previous film, Michael stalking his young niece, and killing anyone who gets in his way. But despite the addition of the psychic connection, and the attempt at mystery with the tattoo, it just feels like a standard slasher movie. There aren’t even any memorable kills in it.
They attempt to show that Michael has some humanity left inside him, during a scene where he confronts Jamie alone in a room. She calls him “uncle” and asks him to show her his face, and he takes off his mask (we, the audience, don’t see his face, of course), and when she says they look alike, we get a close up of Michael’s eye, as he sheds a tear. But after Jamie tries to touch his face, he gets angry and puts the mask back on an resumes trying to kill her. Dr. Loomis arrives and shoots Michael with a tranquilizer dart (why not a regular gun again?) and then beats him unconscious. Michael is taken by the Sheriffs to jail (with his mask still on), and they mention plans to have the Feds come pick him up and take him to maximum security prison. Then that mysterious figures arrives in town, heavily armed and walks into the Sherriff’s station, and we hear multiple gunshots and an explosion.
When Dr. Loomis arrives he finds all the Sheriffs laying dead, and Michael’s cell is empty, with a large hole in the wall. I remember being confused by that ending, and figuring that they must have some pretty big storyline planned for the sequel to explain all of this.
Halloween 5 is not the worst of the series, but it is far from the best.