Halloween (2018) Review

Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language & horror
Cast:
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Judy Greer as Karen
Andi Matichak as Allyson
Will Patton as Frank Hawkins
Virginia Gardner as Vicky
Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers/The Shape
Director: David Gordon Green

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers (Nick Castle) on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. – but this time, she’s ready for him.

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The original Halloween in 1978 has been cemented as one of the all time horror classics. When it comes to the sequels however, none of them really received a great amount of love, with most of them seeming to have mixed results at best. Even the remakes by Rob Zombie were really divisive. It’s been 16 years since the last film of the main series, and 9 years since Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 and now we are finally getting another Halloween movie. This time its not another remake, instead it’s a direct sequel to the original set 40 years ago (appropriately), not acknowledging any of the prior sequels. I really dug the first movie (it’s the only movie in the series I’ve seen), and with Jamie Lee Curtis returning and David Gordon Green (director of Stronger, Joe and Pineapple Express) directing this, things were looking rather good for the newest instalment. As the direct follow up to the original movie, Halloween 2018 succeeds really well. It doesn’t quite instil the amount of horror and creepiness that I would’ve liked but I nonetheless had a great time with it.

As previously mentioned, Halloween 2018 (I’m calling it that to separate it from the first movie otherwise its going to get really confusing) retcons all the Halloween movies except for the first movie. It also retconned the whole thing about Michael and Laurie being siblings from Halloween 2. Unless I mistook some aspects of things, it seemed like it might’ve retconned some things about the ending of the original film as well. On top of that they wanted to tell the story with Laurie Strode being traumatised, and how trauma stays with the victim and how it affects others (particularly her family). If there’s anything that Halloween 2018 has contributed that the other Halloween movies seemingly hadn’t, it’s that. That whole aspect was done really well. The writing of the movie was pretty good as well. One thing that it does get better than the original movie is the dialogue, the first movie could have some good dialogue and some really bad dialogue, but Halloween 2018 has some consistently good dialogue. There is also quite a noticeable amount of humour in it, and it’s not surprising considering that Danny McBride is one of the writers. None of it took away from the movie in terms of scares, and does make the experience more fun. This brings me to the next aspect, the scares, Halloween 2018 didn’t really scare me. Now the original Halloween didn’t scare me much but it still handled the tension pretty well. While there is some good tension in the third act of Halloween 2018, the rest of it wasn’t that creepy or that tense at all, I still had fun with it but I was hoping for more of that. Most horror movies don’t scare me so this wasn’t a huge bummer for me, I just wished there was more than what we got. The movie also has some clichés and tropes that follow on from the Halloween movies, for example some people do some really stupid things that put themselves in direct danger. With that said, it’s not an easy task making a newer Halloween movie, because if you remove a lot of the tropes and clichés that might be holding the movie back, you might remove the aspects that make the movies what they are. It wasn’t a huge problem for me, just a little annoying to see some of them re-emerging. Although at some points they do poke some fun at them. Halloween 2018 is an hour and 40 minutes long, which was overall the right length for the movie, it certainly helps that the pacing is good, considerably faster than the original movie.

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode is one of the best part of the movie, she’s fantastic here. 4 decades from the first movie, Laurie is traumatised and has basically prepared for Michael’s return since his killing spree on Halloween, something that has pushed her away from everyone, especially her daughter and granddaughter. She is convincing as a strong and capable person, yet is very vulnerable at the same time, it still feels like Michael Myers could easily kill her. The rest of the cast also works really well. Judy Geer and Andi Matichak play Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter respectively and they also did very well.

David Gordon Green’s direction is pretty great. The way a lot of the movie is shot is reminiscent of the way that the original Halloween was shot, the cinematography on a whole was great. There is also a tracking shot following Michael Myers in one part and it has to be one of the best directed sequences of the Halloween movies. There are even scenes and moments which are calling make to the original movie, and it never feels forced, you’re aware of it but its not like over-relying on nostalgia. The violence of Halloween 2018 is a lot more bloody and gory than the original movie. At times the violence is minimalistic and restrained, at other times it is fully brutal and on display. Think 80% of the graphic violence from Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies mixed with the silent but deadly Michael Myers from the original. He’s also gotten very creative with his kills, stand out kill involves Jack-O-Lanterns, that’s all I’ll say. Michael Myers is back and with a vengeance. As I said, the movie didn’t really convey a very creepy or unsettling vibe in the movie (although it does have some good tension in the third act), but it does make Myers really an intimidating force of nature. The score is once again done by John Carpenter and it is great, its very similar to the score of the original, yet updated and modernised enough and really adds a lot to the movie. Both films wouldn’t work as well without them. On a side note, Michael Myer’s mask is great here. Just on appearance alone, its up there with the original Halloween and the Rob Zombie Halloween movies as the masks that are good.

Halloween 2018 is a great follow up to the 1978 classic. As a horror movie its not as great as I would’ve liked, it isn’t very scary and falls into many of the clichés and tropes that the original movie and series was known for. But much of the aspects are praiseworthy, the cast is good (with Jamie Lee Curtis being particularly great), Michael Myers is a force of nature and it’s entertaining overall. I haven’t seen the other Halloween movies after the original but I can’t imagine that the sequels are better than this one. I feel like Halloween 2018 ended things perfectly for the Halloween series but I have a feeling that there’s going to be more of them. If that’s really what’s going to happen, I hope they at least add or do something to make each movie feel fresh and new.

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