40 years ago Halloween was forever changed when masked serial killer Michael Myers slashed his way onto movies screens in John Carpenters 1978 film, Halloween.
The independent film proved successful, gaining a cult following that grew until the lone slasher flick became one of the most influential horror film franchises ever. Now 40 years later, Michael Myers is back on the silver screen and stalking a new generation of unsuspecting teens.
Now before I really get into this review, forewarning: SPOILERS AHEAD.
You’ve been warned, continue reading at your own risk!
To begin, the 2018 film Halloween borrows it’s name from it’s 1978 predecessor but Halloween is not a remake; rather, a sequel that focuses its attention on infamous final girl and Michael Myer’s ultimate fixation, Laurie Strode.
The film begins in a mental institution, where two young investigative journalist have come to see the notorious Michael Myer’s. It is established that in the four decades Michael has spent at the institution he has not spoken a single word, a perplexing and frustrating circumstance for Michael’s doctor as well as the journalists who all wish to understand, just a little bit, the mind of this silent killer. Only when the journalist realize they are getting no where with Michael do they turn their attention else where, to see if they can un-puzzle their monster by piecing together the significance of his only surviving victim- Laurie Strode. Laurie is no longer the young, innocent teenage girl from the original film but a hardened older woman shaped by the traumatic experiences that left her living in a constant state of fear and paranoia. We meet Laurie’s estranged family and see the complex family dynamics that exist between three generations of women- Laurie, her daughter and her granddaughter. In the midst of this family drama is where the film really begins. In the process of being moved to a new detention facility, Michael makes his long awaited move by attacking the personnel escorting him on his way and causes an accident that results in his escape. Finally free from his restraints, Michael launches into a new murdering spree that includes the deaths of the two journalists and the acquirement of his old mask.
Cue the theme music from the original movie and ladies and gentleman- we have the return of Michael Meyers.
Halloween isn’t a new take on an old story or a rehashing of a horror classic but rather the conclusion (or is it?) to a 40-year-old story. While the film takes place in a new era, with a mostly new cast and new characterization of a long beloved scream queen there are also many parts that harken to the past, tapping into the ideas, themes, sounds and visuals that made the original movie so iconic- sometimes too much though.
I didn’t love this movie, I liked it. I definitely could not say I hate or dislike it because there were many parts of the film that I truly enjoyed but there were also many parts that I found predictable, boring and frustrating.
My main problem with this movie was the reduction of Michael Myer’s character to typical slasher villain. Of course we all want to see Michael Myer’s being Michael Myer’s and leaving a bloody trail of corpses that has us rooting for our heroine to out maneuver the killer. But, in this film Michael was limited to his greatest hits- backseat lurking, popping up unexpectedly, a slow steady gait that can somehow catch up to teenagers who are running (that may have worked for the original but come on people if we follow the timeline Michael is 61 years-old in the film AND HE’S CATCHING UP TO THEM HOW???). The character of Michael felt slightly worn out threw this film, his actions being completely predictable and for audience pleasure not story advancement.
The saving grace of this entire film though was none other than Jamie Lee Curtis’s new take on her old role of Laurie Strode.
Curtis plays the role of a paranoid, self-proclaimed basket-case to a T. What helps her character’s credibility is the fallout we discover from years of fear and anxiety that has lead to her estrangement from her daughter, two failed marriages and an obsession with killing the man who once almost took her own life. We see the burden of time with Laurie and witness how 40 years of living with trauma and dread has convinced this woman to put her fixation on the idea that one day her killer would return for her before being present and attentive to her own family. Laurie’s terror of Michael is what elevates him from basic slasher killer to a living boogeyman come to reap his most prized soul.
Overall, I’d recommend fans of the original and even those who have never seen Halloween to go out and experience this cinematic blast to the past. Halloween has it’s problems but they can be overlooked because of a stellar cast lead by Jamie Lee Curtis, dynamic cinematography that did a stunning job of building an atmosphere of dread and terror and it’s incorporation of the old-style horror movie feel.
Discover why the terrifying story of Michael Myer’s has withstood the test of time and experience for yourself the magic movies have of transporting you into living nightmares. So go out and watch Halloween with your besties or your boo or your even mom and become apart of a cinematic experience that has spanned over decades and generations of audiences.
And remember, October 31 is right around the corner. Lock your doors, close your windows and don’t be naughty teens because Halloween is Michael’s favorite night of the year.
Good luck sisters.
Oh, and Happy Halloween Michael.