Top critical review
on 26 October 2017
The 'Halloween' bandwagon rolls on to its inevitable fifth chapter, following a great return to form with the underrated last entry, just a mere year earlier. This time, the plot thickens with the screenwriters attempting to deviate the generic 'stalk and slash' formula (which has been the bread 'n butter of the series, bar the other misjudged third entry) into a deeper mystery, highlighted by the surprise inclusion of a mysterious stranger decked out in black; wearing cowboy boots - who for some reason has a vested interest in the murderising ways of our man Mr Myers…
Anyhoo onto the review: We pick up following Michael's shotgun dispatch at the end of the last movie, where he falls down a mine shaft. Believed to be dead by the local authorities, he hides by making friends with a local hermit who over the following year nurses our favourite lunatic back to health. However, once Mikey's back on his feet, its 'stabby time' again dispatching his kindly carer (which is a shame as I still think there's a missing sequel in there somewhere with 'Michael's Lost Year' - with a focus on him and the hermit living together, ala 'The Odd Couple'. Just think of the sequence where old hermit fella forgets to pick up the Arrabbiata sauce, completely blowing Mikey's 60 year family recipe italian dish. Boy, he'll be miffed!) and then off to Haddonfield to locate his now mute niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) who herself has been committed to a children's hospital. Before long, she develops a telepathic link with her uncle Mike and when returning avenger Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasance) learns of their connection - he once again tries to convince the authorities (led by Beau Starr's Sheriff Meeker) that The Shape is making a return visit with his sights not only set on Jamie, but every fornicating teen who are all out busy celebrating the town's annual halloween shenanigans…
This fifth entry directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard, a Swiss helmer also responsible for 'Omen IV' and 'Night Angel' is largely disliked by the core fanbase, but for a generic slasher its not the worst thing in the world. Sure, the script (by Girard, Shem Bitterman and Michael Jacobs) maybe limp and lacking any real tension but as always the ace in the hole for this series is lead Donald Pleasance. This time he's truly deranged and going for broke as if it were his last chance to finally dispatch the evil of Michael once and for all. He delivers a multi-layered character who between his advanced years and disfigured visage evokes a memorable figure who you ideally want to win, but know deep down won't. He was a true cheerleader for this series and makes these late '80s sequels that much more special and if honest they haven't been able to re-capture. Co-star Danielle Harris is great again, but as she's mute is tasked with creating a character out of basically nothing but she manages to embue the role with a certain dignity and you genuinely fear for her at certain points… I'm not going to cover the handling of Ellie Cornell's returning Rachel character, but suffice to say it was botched. Besides the obvious screenplay problems and odd choices, the movie looks great, lensed by Robert Draper and Charles Tetoni's razor sharp editing ensures everything is tight (plus, whomever created that great opening credit sequence deserves major kudos) adding up to a fun, if decidedly hamburger version of a 'Halloween' movie.
Anchor Bay's UK DVD release sports a fine transfer with vibrant audio and a small selection of extra special features such as a "Halloween 5: On The Set" featurette, Halloween 5: Original Promo and Theatrical Trailer. All in all, this one is just okay and finally ends the initial 1980s run for the series, before the rights were picked up by Dimension and they slowly started to reboot, remake and generally muck about with the timeline and characters. This one is definitely worth a watch for fans of the series and inquiring slasher fans, but go in with your expectations suitably in check.