Halloween - 2018
Director(s): David Gordon Green
Writer(s): David Gordon Green, Danny McBride & Jeff Fradley (screenplay) / John Carpenter (characters)
Cinematography by: Michael Simmonds
Editor(s): Timothy Alverson
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Haluk Bilginer and Will Patton
Back in 1978, John Carpenter kicked off what many consider to be the “Golden- Age of Slasher Films” with Halloween. Despite it being inspired by many that came before it, including 74’s Black Christmas, it stands on the top of the slasher genre and is often regarded as the best of all-time. So, it’s normal to expect that sequels would take a dip, and they did, but all had their shining moments and storylines that pushed the lore of Michael Myers forward. But now, on the 40th anniversary of the original, Blumhouse and Gordon Green wants you to enter an alternate reality in which only the original exists and this is the first time Michael escapes seeking the one girl he couldn’t kill.
Quick note: it gets better four paragraphs down.
The story centers around the 40th anniversary of Michael Myers’ murders. Two investigative journalists travel to the Asylum holding Myers the day before he is being transferred to a higher security facility. It’s also the day before Halloween because if you are going to move Myers, it must be on his holiday - he will not stand to be transferred on Easter. The journalists also want to interview Laurie (Lee Curtis), now a recluse suffering from PTSD from the traumatic experience four decades ago, to get her side of the story. She has been training all this time in the likely event of his escape. During his transfer, she gets her wish, and Myers is once again set loose on the town not ready for his brand of evil.
I’ll be upfront with this review: while I’ve enjoyed the Halloween franchise, I would never go as far as to say that it’s blasphemy that this movie is telling the audience to erase the sequels from existence. They can all live on their own and let this one be the alternate reality in which Myers has only had one killing spree. What I don’t appreciate, as a fan of the franchise, is being told that they don’t exist, but we are going to pay “homage” to all the great sequences and moments within the sequels they deemed unnecessary to their storyline. I’ve always had issues with the practice of paying homage since I can’t find the line where it just becomes a, and they toe that line for the entire runtime. In my head, the writer’s room had a TV with the franchise playing on a loop, and they just picked and chose the “cool” moments within the subpar sequels.
The script has a lot of issues. Not glaring to the point that I can call it bad, but I can call it lazy if I'm frank. There is an abundance of serendipitous situations that push the plot forward to the third act. Nothing progressed naturally, and it was at times like Michael just had a horseshoe up his butt. It felt as if they had the idea of the showdown at the house in their heads and they worked backward from there. Laurie, despite having forty-years of preparation, makes many dumb decisions that just made my eyes roll. I would let this go if in the previous scene she wasn’t sold as the ultimate Michael hunter. There are two additions to the cast – well, they are characters we have already seen before, the cop and the sheriff, yet they are fueled by motivations that I just couldn’t understand. They act as if the writers said to themselves “but how do we move this character from point A to point B,” and the sheriff/doctor was plugged in to fill that gap. The script also has weird expositional lines or on-the-nose nods to the past for the audience. When Laurie meets the doctor, she says, “You are the new Loomis.” Like yeah, we get it, you really don’t have to say it.
Quick note: I loved the mask. Probably the best mask of the franchise.
With all that said, this movie is very well made and the acting, especially from Jamie Lee Curtis, was excellent. The editing is on point, cutting efficiently with the use of noise or symmetric shots. The music composed by Carpenter is used effectively. The cinematography of Michael Simmonds was better than I expected; it evoked the spirit of the original, but it’s different enough to stand on its own two feet. There are a few good moments of tension, even though they did rely on cheap jump scares a bit too much, and the violence was gorier than I expected since they wanted to stay true to the original’s subtler tone. Despite my involuntary eye-rolls at the actions and the “homages,” I enjoyed my time enough to say it’s a fine enough horror movie to watch at the theater.
Halloween is a well-crafted movie despite its many logical flaws. If you are a fan of the franchise you may have some issues with the constant “homages” to the past films they want to erase, and if you have never seen any of the sequels it serves as a highlight reel of all the great sequences, imagery and plot points of them. I can see a lot of people loving this movie, and they will have all the right in the world to do so, I just didn’t. It’s a fine entry into the Horror-slasher genre, and Lee Curtis is once again the final girl we all deserve. Lee Curtis is why I love movies.
Halloween is currently in theaters. Go watch it with a packed crowed and laugh and scream at the screen.
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