Tag Archives: Jamie Lee Curtis

Halloween: Resurrection (2002) Review

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Halloween Resurrection

Time: 94 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] 
Cast:
Busta Rhymes as Freddie Harris
Bianca Kajlich as Sara Moyer
Thomas Ian Nicholas as Bill Woodlake
Ryan Merriman as Myles “Deckard” Barton
Sean Patrick Thomas as Rudy Grimes
Tyra Banks as Nora Winston
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Director: Rick Rosenthal

Six teenagers, who are eager to experience thrills, spend the night in the childhood home of serial killer Michael Myers. But he returns to brutalise them.

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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later was the film that brought back the long running horror series by starting over and not continuing on from the previous movies, it had its fair share of issues, but had some good parts to it. One of these was the ending, which seemed to try to end things for good, at least with regards to Michael Myers. However with the movie being successful it was inevitable that it would get a sequel, and that meant yet again bringing back Myers. Almost everyone who has seen the entire series has called this the worst movie in the series, and it is for good reason. The ironically named Halloween: Resurrection killed the franchise for a while. So much of the movie just felt like they gave up, it’s actually quite astounding at times. I didn’t dislike the movie and even had fun with it at points but it’s very much not good.

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First of all, what should be talked about is the infamous opening scene. The ending of H20 was easily one of the best moments in the series, with Laurie Strode decapitating Michael Myers, killing him for good. That signalled a conclusive ending but as it turns out they retconned all that. Now, the person that Laurie Strode killed was some paramedic guy that Michael swapped outfits with (and crushing his larynx so he couldn’t speak), so at the ending, Laurie killed that paramedic. Then at the beginning of Resurrection has Laurie at a mental institute (the worst run mental institute I’ve ever seen in a movie I might add). Somehow, it’s an even lazier retcon than what they did in the opening of Halloween 5 to counteract what happened at the end of 4. All of this is delivered with one big exposition dump between random nurses who are there to tell the audience what happened, accompanied by some laughable flashbacks. On top of it just making no sense and making even less sense the more you think about it, it undermines everything that made H20’s ending thrilling and was executed in the worst way. I’d say that this is a spoiler but it’s very early in the movie: in the opening 15 minutes Michael Myers goes to the mental institute and kills Laurie. Then she’s just gone from the rest of the movie. It’s the most disrespectful treatment of a character in the series, and that’s even considering Jamie Lloyd from Halloween 6 (either version of that movie). What makes it worse is that her death has no real impact on the story, it’s not even mentioned in news footage. I guess the filmmakers had to justify Michael Myers having enough time to kill obnoxious teenagers who are in his house, so that’s why they had Laurie killed. Already the movie is off to a bad start and it doesn’t really get better. I could potentially give the beginning a pass if the rest of the movie and its different direction was in itself creative and/or good. It’s not.

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The rest of the movie is some random 70 minute reality TV/found footage movie, and the plot of the movie really feels more like a parody than an actual Halloween movie. Basically, it focuses on a reality show called Dangertainment run by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks, who set their Halloween night episode inside of the actual Myers house and sends in a cast of college students for the night. If that sounds ridiculously horrible and quite possibly the worst direction to take the movie in, you’d be right, and it’s even worse than that. Plotwise on every level, it’s bad. Looking at the execution, it is made even worse. It is definitely aiming for teen audiences of 2002, and in that it has aged the worst of all the movies. H20 might’ve had a lot of references and was clearly influenced by the 90s, but at least the whole plot didn’t have a pop culture reference a key part of the narrative. There are lots of cameras set up inside the house, as well as cameras on each of the teenagers. It’s worth noting that Resurrection came after the boom of found footage horror like The Blair Witch Project, so that makes sense. The actual concept of found footage being brought into the Halloween series is not necessarily terrible and is at least trying to be something different, it just has to be handled very well. Unfortunately it really doesn’t really handle that potential well at all. Much of the movie’s premise defies logic altogether, in fact that can be said for the whole plot. The fact that people are being killed by Myers in the house and somehow people are remaining oblivious (both in the house and the people with cameras) is just ridiculous. Even though it seems to be aiming more for a creeping atmosphere than H20, with the characters, the dialogue, the bad humour, it doesn’t quite work out. Also, with the last bit of relatability of characters gone with Laurie in the opening scene, it requires some other characters to care about. All the other characters in this movie are bad, this is the first Halloween movie where you actually end up rooting for Michael Myers. With no Laurie Strode, Sam Loomis or Jamie Lloyd, you’ve either got Myers or the new characters, and there’s no way I was going to root for these new people.

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There are some ridiculous moments, including the finale with Busta Rhymes using kung fu to fight Michael. I had heard some widely disliked scenes involving those two. In fact there are at least three scenes involving Busta Rhymes and Michael Myers in which they treat the latter like a joke, and that’s the point where you know that they’ve given up. With that being said, I’m actually glad those moments are there because I found them hilarious. I was already very much not on board with the movie with the opening scene, and from everything after that I could tell I wasn’t going to like this movie, so those moments were just funny to me. I’d almost say the film is worth watching for the scene where Busta Rhymes in a Michael Myers costume telling off a very confused Michael Myers and telling him to get out the house. That and the way that Busta actually deals with Myers at the end of the movie. There are for sure plenty of hilariously bad moments in this movie that I enjoyed watching. Unfortunately, I can’t really call Resurrection so bad it’s good or anything like that, as those moments are sprinkled into effectively a bad and dull early 2000s slasher film. If you really want to get the most out of these moments, you’d be better off watching individual scenes online. Much of the movie is a bore, and the entire premise treats the plot like a joke. The film even ends with sequel bait, which was puzzling because I don’t know how they could’ve taken a look at what they had created and thought that they would be able to salvage a sequel out of it.  

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Then there’s the cast. First the (only) good performance, with Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. She has been vocal about not being pleased with the film or her role in it, that she was basically forced into taking part in the sequence due to contractual obligations in H20. Jamie Lee Curtis plays it like a pro, way better than the other performances in the movie, despite her small screentime. There are many characters introduced, with Busta Rhymes, Sean Patrick Thomas, Katee Sackhoff, Tyra Banks, Thomas Ian Nicholas. The characters are obnoxious and underdeveloped, most of the performances are wooden, and none of them are good. I will say that Busta Rhymes does manage to be at least entertaining in his scenes.

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Funnily enough, Resurrection director Rick Rosenthal made Halloween 2, which was a decent Halloween movie. I have no idea how 20 years later he managed to end up making this. The direction has problems to say the least, but the weird thing is that there are actually aspects that are decent, though it’s not enough to save the movie. I will say it does seem to get closer to being a horror movie than H20 did. In fact, the production design with the main house as well as some of the look is nicely gritty. I also like some of the way it is shot, especially with the shadows. There are even some attempts at being suspenseful. However, it doesn’t really deliver on any of the scares. The jumpscares are obnoxious, most of the scares in the first half are just pranks from other characters. Michael Myers only sometimes appears in the first half, but I will say that all things considering, his performance and the physicality are good. The mask isn’t that great and is a little too expressive, it really only looks good in darkly lit scenes. Something that you do notice is that some scenes that feature Michael Myers are slowed down, and I think it was done in an attempt to make him look more intimidating but it’s out of place if anything. As previously said, the movie does utilise found (or in this case live) footage, and every so often jumps to those cameras. When the movie cuts to video cameras however, it looks awful. Editing is bad, and some of it makes the scenes look incomprehensible. The score by Danny Lux is actually really effective, one of the better scores for the movie from the past 4 movies at least.

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Halloween Resurrection is easily the worst movie in the long running Halloween series. It starts off with a borderline insulting opening and doesn’t get better from there with tired horror, bland and annoying characters, and some poor writing. Really, I can only recommend this movie to completionists and people who want to see if the movie really is as bad as everyone has been saying it is. I don’t hate it, and there are actually a couple things here that I liked (in addition to the hilarious moments especially towards the end), but the fact that the filmmakers clearly gave up and the series had ran out of steam just cemented it as the worst.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) Review

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Halloween H20

Time: 86 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Adam Arkin as Will Brennan
Michelle Williams as Molly Cartwell
Adam Hann-Byrd as Charlie Deveraux
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe as Sarah Wainthrope
Janet Leigh as Norma Watson
Josh Hartnett as John Tate
LL Cool J as Ronald “Ronny” Jones
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jimmy Howell
Director: Steve Miner

After escaping serial killer Michael Myers’ attacks, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) relocates to California and adopts a new identity. However, years later, Michael returns to finish what he started.

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Despite how the original Halloween movie from 1978 is widely regarded as a classic, the reception of the sequels have generally ranged from mixed to negative. With that said, I heard that H20: 20 Years Later is one of the better movies in the series (despite having the worst title of the whole series, and that’s considering that the next entry being called Resurrection). After seeing the 6th Halloween movie, I was definitely interested to see what direction they would take it next. I can say that at the very least, they took it in a different direction, some of it works, some of it really doesn’t.

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Something to note is that H20 basically erases Halloween 4-6 and instead follows on from Halloween 2. That means no Cult of Thorn business, so that’s already a plus. Not only that, but they are also bringing back Halloween lead character Laurie Strode, along with actress Jamie Lee Curtis to reprise her role. Both changes are very welcome in this movie. We see how despite 20 years later, the events of the first two movies have still had a long lasting effect on Laurie. H20 explores Laurie’s PTSD from her encounter, and storywise it was probably the strongest aspect of the movie. The movie does open relatively well, reintroducing audiences to Laurie with her new life (she has a son named John), and her trauma. However you notice that the pacing is really slow, especially with the second act. It takes too long to kick off, you’re basically just watching Laurie and other characters interact. The first act is one thing as it is setting the scene for the whole movie, but the second act just focuses on John and his group of friends who have decide to sneak away from a field trip to have a double date at the school. It’s not interesting like the Laurie-centric narratives are, and feels really out of place. In fact, the movie does feels a little loose with its plot, and it really could’ve been much tighter. I actually checked the time, and it’s around an hour into the movie before things actually start getting real and Michael Myers begins doing a lot of killing. Keep in mind that the movie is less than 90 minutes long. With that said, the third act and the overall climax is really the star of the whole movie. It’s very satisfying, and without getting into the ending, would’ve been a great and fitting way to end the series (and then they made another follow up for some reason).

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Storywise, H20 does feel like fan service more than an eager or ambitious follow-up, but I guess that’s not a terrible thing. One new change was that it’s the first Halloween movie (at least of the ones featuring Michael Myers) that doesn’t take place in Haddonfield, instead being set in California. Not only does it make sense from a plot perspective (Laurie would logically move out of Haddonfield after what happened), but it also gave the movie a distinct look and feel. The setting for much of the movie is a school campus, and while it does set you at this location well, it’s not really creepy at all. Something to note is that the movie is clearly influenced by Scream, which came out in the mid 90s. Kevin Williamson wrote Scream, and then Miramax had him do a treatment for what would become the H20 script. He only has a producer’s credit, but his fingerprints are all over this. It doesn’t feel like a Halloween movie at all. With that said, considering the last 3 movies felt like they were on repeat, maybe a change in style and approach is what it needed. The end result is a mixed bag, however. It does feel painfully 90s, dating the movie painfully. H20 even feels older than Carpenter’s original film, which was pretty much timeless. There’s humour in it, some of it hits, some of it misses. There are references to the original (they flat out quote the original sometimes), and references to popular horror movies at the time, including Scream. While it does make itself distinct from the other movies, it just doesn’t work all that well. The tension and atmosphere just isn’t there, and even Halloweens 4-6 felt more creepy, even if they were worse movies.

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Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, it’s so great to see her come back in the role that really started off her career. She does some amazing work here, and considering how underserviced and passive the character was in her previous appearance on screen with Halloween 2, it’s nice to see her have such an active role in the third act. She covers a lot of ground as Laurie goes from being an in-hiding over protective mom, to a full blown badass at the end. She really adds a lot of credibility and is easily one of the best parts of the movie. I wouldn’t say the other characters are great, but having more experienced actors on board definitely makes a difference especially when compared to some of the other Halloween sequels, and they had more chemistry together. Josh Hartnett is solid as Laurie’s son John, but is saddled with some bad material throughout most of the movie. With that said, he really works well in his scenes with Jamie Lee Curtis, their dynamic feels real and believable. If they focused more on those two in the movie, I think it would’ve worked better but they have probably 10 minutes of screentime together and John is forgotten for much of the rest of the second half of the film. Michelle Williams is also here in an early role for her, Janet Leigh also makes an appearance, even if it seems to be mainly to be meta with her being Jamie Lee Curtis’s mother, and to make some Psycho references. There’s also an early appearance from a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the opening sequence.

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H20 is directed by Steve Milner, and you can definitely that he was influenced by Scream on a visual level. The 90s influence also clearly carried over to this movie. On a visual level, it just looked a bit wrong to me. Now I’ve only had glimpses of Dawson’s Creek, but for much of the movie, H20 looks like a horror themed episode of Dawson’s Creek, from the look of the movie to the production design. The movie does well at setting you in this location of a school, especially with the long takes. However, it’s nonetheless just a school, it doesn’t feel creepy, claustrophobic or anything like that. I mentioned earlier that there isn’t much of a tense atmosphere, and again H20 is one of the least scary movies of the entire series. There isn’t much atmosphere at all honestly, with not much tension even in the third act. Michael Myers doesn’t feel very scary, and much of that has to do with the mask, or masks to be precise. There are 4 masks used over the whole filming of the movie (largely with reshoots), including one shot where they used CGI because the real mask wasn’t ready in time for the scene. The only version of the mask I liked in the movie was in the opening sequence where they used the mask from Halloween 6, but it wasn’t used much more because some people thought that audiences would be confused with that mask being from a different Halloween movie. Most of the kills are pretty forgettable except for one in the third act. Speaking of the third act, I did like how much of it was filmed, even if it wasn’t very scary. The score does have some moments but a lot of the time it doesn’t sound anything like a Halloween movie. This time they got John Ottoman to compose. He steered away from the synth heavy aesthetic that Carpenter and Howarth used in the early days of the franchise, and instead went for a fully orchestrated symphonic score that sounded more like Danny Elfman than John Carpenter. It feels very out of place and is among my least favourite scores in the series. It only really works when it actually plays the classic Halloween theme. Also, this movie has a Creed song playing over the end credits. I don’t know why.

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Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a mixed bag of a movie, I think I would’ve liked it more if I saw it in the 90s. It is a movie that should have been way better than it actually is. The script has some missteps, and its new directions aren’t fully fleshed out, some of its influences holds the film back, and other aspects like the score and the mask have issues. With that said, there’s some good in here too. Jamie Lee Curtis is great, I liked the direction they took Laurie, Miner has some solid direction at times, and the third act, especially the ending, was satisfying. If you like any of the Halloween movies, I do think H20 is worth checking out, despite its many issues.

Halloween II (1981) Review

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Halloween 2 1981

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence
Cast:
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis
Director: Rick Rosenthal

After Doctor Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasence) shoots Michael Myers size times and falls off a balcony, Michael escapes and continues his massacre in Haddonfield. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is also sent to the hospital and Dr Loomis gathers a group of police officers to hunt down Michael and put an end to his murderous rampage.

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I have watched some of the Halloween movies, I had seen the original, I had seen the recent follow up to it, and I had seen the reboot movies from Rob Zombie. However, I had never checked out Halloween 2 from the 80s, the original follow up to the original movie. Even though the current series continuity is going down a different direction (with Halloween 2018 onwards), I did want to check it out. It’s definitely not as good as the first movie and has a ton of problems, but it does have some decent moments.

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With Halloween 2, you really get the feeling that the sequel was made only because the original was successful. It does aim to be a second half to the first Halloween movie instead of a sequel, as it picks off right as the first movie ended. There are opportunities for Halloween 2 to show the effects of the last movie, as the town is shown to react in disorder and mayhem after the massacre. The hospital is also a classic horror and slasher setting, and works for this movie for some horror moments. On the whole though, it is a very by the numbers slasher. Also, it feels in many ways different to the first movie (despite trying to be a part 2 instead of a sequel), being over the top, less serious, and not as creepy or atmospheric. There are also some leaps in logic, whereas the first movie seemed somewhat grounded in comparison (invincible bogeyman aside). There is also a reveal added into the story that felt unnecessary, not to mention, it feels really forced. To the movie’s credit, Halloween 2 does try to actually end the storyline, with no hints at a sequel. Although of course it would continue with numerous sequels.

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Donald Pleasence is really good as Dr Loomis once again, especially as he’s under more stress and pressure after finding out that Michael Myers is still alive despite shooting him 6 times at the end of the last movie. Jamie Lee Curtis gives it her all as Laurie Strode but she doesn’t get much to do in this movie aside from be unconscious for half her screentime, and limp and run away for the remaining half. Everyone else just felt like bodies for Michael Myers to slaughter, you don’t care for any of them and some of their actions are rather dumb, it’s like they might as well be in a Friday the 13th movie.

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It isn’t Halloween 1 director John Carpenter directing this time, instead it is Rick Rosenthal. Still, Carpenter and Halloween 1 writer Debra Hill were closely involved as producers and writers. I found some of the direction to be a mixed bag. John Carpenter wanted to go insane with the over the top violence and bloody that was popular in the 80s (which explains the blood compared to the first movie). Rosenthal wanted to keep the film similar in tone to the first movie so it felt like a continuation. However his direction just wasn’t on that same level for it to work as well. It does utilise some of the familiar and successful aspects from the original, especially in terms of the overall look. Unfortunately, it doesn’t manage to create the same real tension, suspense and dread and instead goes more for gore. There are some memorable kills, though a lot of them were pretty silly. Halloween 2 does have one or two creepy moments, but overall isn’t very effective on the whole. With that said, it is a very well shot movie, with great tracking shots and POV sequences, and I also liked the use of colour and lighting. I also like the hospital setting, the empty rooms made it work, dimly lit rooms and the addition of Michael Myers really make it work. The mask of Michael Myers looks a bit off and worse than the first movie, it’s weird particularly seeing as it is a follow up to the original, which is right before the sequel. The score is also by John Carpenter, however it makes itself stand out by being more synth based.

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I wouldn’t say that Halloween 2 is bad, I’d say that it is relatively decent. It’s a by the numbers slasher that does have its moments, as well as aspects of the direction which work, but on the whole it is rather forgettable. However, if you liked any of the Halloween movies beyond the original and Halloween 2018, I’d say give it a look.

Knives Out (2019) Review

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc
Chris Evans as Hugh “Ransom” Drysdale
Ana de Armas as Marta Cabrera
Jamie Lee Curtis as Linda Drysdale
Michael Shannon as Walter “Walt” Thrombey
Don Johnson as Richard Drysdale
Toni Collette as Joni Thrombey
Lakeith Stanfield as Detective Lieutenant Elliot
Katherine Langford as Megan “Meg” Thrombey
Jaeden Martell as Jacob Thrombey
Christopher Plummer as Harlan Thrombey
Noah Segan as Trooper Wagner
Director: Rian Johnson

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death.

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Knives Out was one of my most anticipated films of 2019. I’m always interested in seeing what writer/director Rian Johnson does next, and with him going from Star Wars to a much smaller movie and especially a whodunit, I was already on board. However, you add on top of that an insane cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon and more, and I’m absolutely going to be excited for it. Knives Out is not only one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of the year, it’s one of the best films from the year too.

Rian Johnson’s script is nothing short of fantastic. Talking about how and why much of it works so well is quite difficult without revealing important things, so don’t go in knowing too much. Even the non spoilerish aspects are best experienced for yourself. Thankfully the trailers do a good job at not revealing too much about the movie beyond the premise and setup. What I can say is that Knives Out is quite different from what you’d initially expect it to be at first. What Johnson did with the noire genre in Brick, he does with the whodunit here, modernising it, and adding some twists on it. I will need to watch it again to see if much of the reveals still hold up, but on first viewing I’m more than satisfied with where he took the story and characters. I genuinely was surprised at some of the twists that happened. It’s also a hilarious movie, with some great and memorable dialogue. At 2 hours and 10 minutes long, it has your attention from start to finish. Early on I can see people wondering where this movie is going. However, at a certain point, I think most audiences are going to be locked into the plot.

As previously mentioned, the cast is massive and they played their roles really well. Daniel Craig is instantly iconic as Detective Benoit Blanc, a private detective investigating the murder. His performance is definitely over the top, especially with the southern accent, he’s playing on detectives like Hercule Poriot. With this and Logan Lucky, Craig has been really showing that he has a solid comedic side to him that we don’t get to see often. There have been talks about having more movies featuring the character of Blanc, and I’d definitely like to see that. However one of the biggest surprises is that Craig isn’t even the main character. When I say that Knives Out is Ana de Armas’s movie, I’m not just saying that because she steals much of the movie, even though she does that. Her character of Marta is at the centre of the film, and without revealing too much of the movie, she’s ultimately Knives Out’s secret weapon, she’s going to take a lot of people by surprise. The cast making up the rich family at the centre of the mystery with Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell and Christopher Plummer are all great, and have plenty of moments to show off. They work well at both the dramatic and comedic parts. Some of them get to do more than others, like Martell out of them is really only noticed in a few scenes, but the rest of them do well to make themselves known. Out of them however, I’d say that Evans is the standout. Plummer as the murder victim at the centre doesn’t get a massive amount of screentime but he’s nonetheless a major part and is a presence felt throughout. Additionally Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan also work well in supporting roles as a detective and a police officer investing the murder along with Blanc, though I did want to see a little more from Stanfield.

Rian Johnson’s direction is still on point, and he’s got a fantastic handle on the whole film. When the first trailers came out from Knives Out, I noticed some people commenting that it looks like a tv show rather than an actual film. I can say that sitting in a theatre and watching the movie begin, that couldn’t be further from the truth, it was stunning to look at. It’s very much stylised, and like with Johnson’s debut with Brick, it throws back to the movies of the same genre that its clearly inspired by (in Knives Out’s case that of course being the whodunit).

With Knives Out, Rian Johnson shows once again that he’s one of the most unique and exciting filmmakers working together. It’s very well directed, and the script is outstanding, with some effective twists, fleshed out characters, and is much more than what you’d expect it to be at first. Add on top of that a fantastic cast who perform excellently (highlights being Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas and Chris Evans), and you have one of the best (and most entertaining) movies of the year. Definitely don’t miss it at the cinema.

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.

Halloween (1978) Review

Time: 91 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Nick Castle as Michael Myers/The Shape
P. J. Soles as Lynda Van Der Klok
Nancy Kyes as Annie Brackett
Director: John Carpenter

On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.

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With the latest Halloween movie coming out less than a month away, I decided to have another look back at John Carpenter’s horror classic, Halloween. Halloween was revolutionary for film, especially for the horror genre. Even with a smaller budget and a simple premise, they really caught lighting in a bottle with this.

Getting some of the worse elements of the movie out of the way, some of the dialogue can be really bad, especially when it comes to the teenage characters, it’s like someone is badly trying to imitate teenagers from the 70s. With that said it’s a minor issue. The film does also set all of these characters up to be one dimensional bags of blood to be stabbed by the masked killer, something that other slasher movies following it would be doing as well. Since it was the first to do it I guess I don’t have too much to complain about. A lot of the clichés and tropes that would happen would be because of this movie, for better or for worse. No, Halloween wasn’t the first slasher film to be made. It was however one of the first slasher movies to introduce the idea of a killer coming to a familiar location instead of going to a place where the killer is (like Psycho or Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Halloween is about an hour and 30 minutes long and that was the right length, it doesn’t drag and even in the scenes where nothing much is happening, Michael Myer’s presence will usually be felt during it. Halloween is quite a simple movie, with a limited amount of locations, a simple premise, a straightforward killer, yet all of it works, it’s simplicity is the key to its success. The portrayal of Michael Myers is really effective. The only bit of backstory that we get about him is from Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) who describes him as being pretty much pure evil and you completely buy it. Making it even more intimidating is how Myers seems absolutely unstoppable. He doesn’t run when chasing after people and when he kills he’s not over the top with it, he walks slow, he kills silently, the only sounds from him are his deep breaths. From what I understand the sequels and the remakes try to make an explanation for him, however while they might be able to explain why he acts how he does (which does take away from him as a character), nothing can really explain his immortality. I much prefer the pure evil explanation for him.

Donald Pleasence is fantastic as Sam Loomis, the doctor who is the only person who truly knows how dangerous Michael Myers is. True there’s not much to the character but it’s by far the best performance in this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis makes her debut acting performance here as Laurie Strode and she does pretty okay in her role, nothing great but nothing bad either. It’s worth keeping in mind that she essentially became the first “last survivor” character in a slasher film, so a lot of the tropes with that sort of characters started with her character. She’s at least better than most of the other actors. Most of the actors are pretty bad, especially the teenage characters.

John Carpenter’s direction was one of the main reasons why Halloween works so well. Halloween has a budget of about $300,000, which even then in the 70s was pretty low and yet he did so much with that budget. Sometimes you can feel some of the restraints with the regard to things like the sound design is not always the greatest but most of it is fine. Something about how small scale it feels really adds to this movie, you feel much more confined to what is going on. The cinematography is absolutely masterful, the use of wideshots was really effective, especially for building tension and suspense. Carpenter made Michael Myers a real presence throughout the movie, even when he isn’t killing anyone. In fact, him just standing somewhere in the background is really effective, way more effective than just him killing people. The kills are actually pretty tame for a slasher film but they are pretty effective. They aren’t overly bloody or gory and are usually somewhat in the shadows, fitting in with the rest of the movie and not being a typical bloodfest (which the movies would eventually become). The cinematography is only made better with the use of John Carpenter’s score, which is absolutely excellent. I don’t think Halloween would have been as iconic or effective without the score. Every time that main theme comes on, you are just wondering what’s going on, whether Michael Myers is there or what’s happening next, and only continues to build tension and really sets the mood. The design of Michael Myers is simple but effective. A William Shatner mask and a jumpsuit is all there is to his physical appearance and yet it remains one of the most iconic horror costume designs ever 40 years later. As for the scares, most of them didn’t affect me but that’s just me, I’m difficult to be scared. It does have some jump scares but all of them are effective, it’s not cheap at all and even the fake out jump scares are pretty effective.

Halloween is still a horror classic to this day and it’s easy to see why looking back at it. John Carpenter’s direction of this simple premise was really effective and led to a huge change for the horror genre (for better and for worse). It’s actually the only movie in the long series that I’ve watched but I can’t imagine any of the sequels being even close to living up to the original. The sequel coming this year will be ignoring all other sequels and it looks like it will at least somewhat close to being at the level of the original, which is saying a lot considering how great the original is. 40 years on, John Carpenter’s Halloween still remains a classic.