Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle
Runtime: 106 Minutes
As I stated in my SP HorrorFest 2018 feature that I did, the original Halloween is my favorite horror movie. So when I heard they were making another film in the series, I thought nothing of it. When I heard they were erasing all the other sequels, I became interested. Then so many details kept trickling out about Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode and how much passion the writers and director had about his and film I was on board. Then came the stills from the movie and finally the first trailer arrived, and I was hooked.
I came to the movie as a huge fan of the original and a huge fan of all things horror. I am not a casual viewer of these films, so this review is from a die hard Halloween fan. Halloween (2018) is set 40 years later after the night of October 31st, 1978 when Michael Myers went on his killing spree in Haddonfield pursuing his sister, Laurie. In the four decades, Laurie went through marriages and raised a daughter. Her experience in 1978 completely shaped her and she raised her daughter to be prepared for battle. Of course, her daughter, Karen, realized her upbringing was unhealthy and left for a normal, more healthy life eventually settling down in a marriage with a daughter of her own. In the 40 years, Dr. Loomis has passed away and Michael naturally came under the care of a new doctor. Through a series of events, Michael gets loose and returns to Haddonfield on Halloween night in 2018.
The original Halloween inspired a lot of slasher films and gave us many tropes we still see today in horror. I would say Michael’s strength has never been on display like it is here. He is a brutal killing machine that many think they could handle until the time comes. The death scenes are what director David Gordon Green does well in this movie. He uses a lot of techniques including tracking shots to follow Michael through his murders, and every death was well done. A scene of contention is the stand-out twist that happens three-quarters in. In my opinion, the twist derailed the film and was not in the spirit of the Halloween franchise. It was cheap and easy and they went for it. However, I feel a lot of the fanatics like myself thought this was a misstep in the film.
Going into this movie, I was expecting a slew of references and callbacks to the 1978 film, and it has those in spades. It is a veritable “Where’s Waldo?” for people like myself who remember so much from the classic film. A lot of these movies rely on the showdown and this was another excellent moment by the writers and director. The finale has some good moments for Judy Greer and Curtis who work in tandem to use Laurie’s fortress as the final trap for Michael. The film is directed wonderfully, and I am excited to revisit this movie soon just based on the pacing and cinematography alone. Another high note was the score, which uses the original by John Carpenter and has some new and very notable additions.
This movie is still better than 95% of the slasher films released today, but it is stopped short of being great. The twist does take away from the rest of the movie, and it does hurt the overall feeling. There are quite a few characters who were existing in this film only to be killed. Some them are useless, and others would have been better served to survive. For all the Halloween sequels we fans have had to endure over the past 40 years, this is nice fan service and was written and directed by a team who shared our affinity for the first film in the franchise. It would be nice if there were another cut of the film that existed that cut some of the bad scenes. However, I give thanks to everyone who made this movie happen, because it is a worthy film in the franchise and the second best Halloween movie of all time and that is still a high mark in the industry.
Whether you are a huge fan of the 1978 Halloween or just casually like the slasher sub-genre, this movie is still worth your time. That said, bigger fans will get more out of the experience.