I’ve loved Halloween for as long as I can remember, both the time of year and John Carpenter’s absolutely classic, terrific original. Whilst the 1978 film has always held a special place in movie history, I’ve pretty much forgotten any sequels but this new ‘go’, even in its early stages, sounded intriguing due to those making it, who respected Carpenter’s film, and also being backed by Blumhouse, a horror house that has been endeavouring to bring back old favourites but also make sure they’re doing something different.
2018’s Halloween does tick many of the boxes, in terms of tension and story, and while it may not be full of surprises, it gets everything right in terms of what the fans what to see, well, for me anyway. Firstly, forget anything you know after the original because it takes on the persona that Michael Myers was caught and has been in prison for 40 years. Whilst he is chained up in a high security facility, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis returning to her iconic role) also lives in a heavily guarded home, imitating her historic foe, which comes down to years of paranoia and, perhaps, a suggested form of PTSD.
During those 40 years, Laurie’s been raising her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and teaching her to defend herself, and also become somewhat estranged because although her family know about events in Haddonfield all those years before, they’ve only learned it through Laurie’s stories and town hearsay. One rainy, stormy-ish night, and for no reason we’re aware of, a bus transporting Michael Myers from one facility to another crashes and he, along with a bunch of other crazy people, all escape and, so, this is the moment she’s been preparing for all those years.
From here, the film drags into the classic cat and mouse-type showdown, with Myers loose on the town where it all began, in scenes which offer us inventive deaths as he makes his way to an eventual finale with Laurie. The smart decisions include not showing Myers face, which would have killed all the mystery, and also Laurie obviously waiting for him to get to her house. On the flipside, our killer appears from place-to-place a little too easily, without much of a clue for how he got there. That style redefines that ‘supernatural’, almost anti-superhero, vibe they give him with super strength (I have to assume some brutal deaths were down to years of repressed aggression) to take out those trying to stop him. I wasn’t sure if the ultra-violence was necessary, with a character like Michael, but it brings it forth to a modern, more desensitised audience. The ‘security light’ sequence though… is inspired.
Overall, David Gordon Green’s Halloween is a solid, enjoyable 3-star affair, taking the franchise on whilst honouring what went before and actually expanding the story. While there are top class performances from Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead role, a lot of the rest is a customary affair but it holds enough scares, freaky moments and homage to be exciting enough and far ahead of any sequels played out before.
The Special Features are also enjoyable, letting us in the world of the film-makers and their views on wanting to make something worth of the original but also bring their own progression to the Halloween world. Find a full list of what to expect right here.