Movie Review: ‘Halloween’ (2018)
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner, Nick Castle, James Jude Courtney, Haluk Bilginer
Plot: After spending 40 years in mute incarceration, babysitter killer Michael Myers escapes during a transfer to a new facility. The survivor of his last attack, Laurie Strode, sees this as a potential opportunity for revenge.
Review: Well, this is certainly the scariest Michael Myers has been in a long, long time. And from the duo of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride of all people. Unlike previous franchise director Rob Zombie these guys really do seem to understand what made the original click.
Foregoing not only the Zombie remake, but also the 1998 rebirth of the franchise but all sequels this is a direct follow on from John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween. That means Laurie is no longer sister to Michael Myers, a revision so unnecessary that they included an explanation for it in an early scene. It also means no more nonsense with cults or blood curses, which we’re ok with.
Instead we find Michael still behind bars and being studied by Loomis’ successor Dr. Ranbir Sartain. Laurie has been deeply affected by her experience with Myers, having gone full survivalist and driven her family away from her. Myers escapes his imprisonment following a bus crash and begins carving his way through the suburbs while Laurie heads out to protect her estranged daughter and granddaughter.
The original Halloween was the forefather of the Slasher movie trend of the 80s. Whilst massively popular the content was diluted and eventually ridiculed following an endless parade of sub-par and increasingly exploitative sequels. Halloween was no exception, producing 10 films in total prior to this new entry. Eventually Slashers gave way to most-modernism and then Gorno and found footage films. This movie is a powerful return to form, emphasising the scares above all else. As we said before this is the scariest Michael Myers has been in decades and the body count is very high. Whilst the kills don’t revel in the grisly details and imagery they feel more visceral than ever.
What causes a minor stumble is the degree to which the filmmakers are beholden to Carpenter’s classic. Some replicated moments serve as a clever reversal on familiar moments but many more feel like lazy callbacks. They even incorporate some footage from the 1978 film into this one, not to mention reused dialogue from Donald Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis. A few callbacks stick out like a sore thumb, such as Laurie having the same style of wardrobe doors as the ones she cowered behind during the most traumatic moment of her life. This only makes sense as a narrative choice, not a character choice. There’s also a nonsense reason to destroy a main character’s mobile phone that may make you roll your eyes.
These minor quibbles aside, it is Jamie Lee Curtis most people will be here to see and she does not disappoint. Returning to the role that made her a household name after 40 years, 20 years since her last appearance in the series, Curtis gives us a new heroine of the type we haven’t seen before. Laurie is older, tougher and somewhat unhinged. Her home looks like something a serial killer would inhabit, not a victim. The shot up mannequins and home-made security system gives us a solid setup for a finale involving her family and the deranged killer. The character’s are interesting and fleshed out enough to make them likeable and engaging, although we can’t help but hear Cheryl whenever Judy Greer is freaking out.
Slasher fans will be thrilled to have a new, high quality entry into the genre but this is unlikely to serve as a cross over hit like It or Get Out. The strongest endorsement we can give it is from the non-horror fan who was brave enough to see it with us. She’s will certainly not be sleeping tonight.
Rating: EIGHT out of TEN