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“Halloween” Movie Review

Michael Myers is back, baby.

In a bloated franchise overstuffed with bizarre sequels and unnecessary reboots, David Gordon Green has finally crafted a worthy successor to John Carpenter’s iconic 70’s slasher. In a Hollywood machine that increasingly relies on cheap jump-scares, and which has begun to fetishize extreme gore, Halloween (2018) is like a breath of fresh air.

The movie is a masterclass in subtlety, often relegating action to the background, so that the viewer is forced to look upon the periphery of the film itself to make a sense of the action. In doing so, the viewer is constantly kept on guard, and the palpable sense of dread that would falter in other movies is instead kept all throughout the course of the film.

Though the premise remains simple, the slick camera techniques of modern filmmaking keep this remake feeling familiar yet refreshing, punctuating long stretches of intricate visual storytelling with sharp, quick moments of brutality. The camera never lingers on the violence, making the film ideal for true horror fans who cannot stomach the sight of excessive gore. The film also feels more believable than some of the recent slate of horror movies, as there is no extradimensional monster, nor a vengeful spirit, nor some indestructible revenant in a hockey mask – simply a madman with a knife. The scattered moments of darkly humorous dialogue help to break the tension, and keep the audience guessing at what comes next.

The renewed focus on the character of Laurie Strode – 40 years older from the original Halloween – as well as her daughter Karen, and her granddaughter Allyson, gives the film a surprising – but welcome – feminist bent. Rather than remain the passive victim, Laurie has spent the last 40 years preparing for the return of Michael Myers, and it is the ladies of the Strode family that lead the movie. Each of the three generations has a distinct personality, with individual character arcs that feel believable, and motivations that make sense.

All in all, Halloween (2018) is a welcome return to form for the franchise, and a worthy addition to the legacy of Michael Myers. Everything, from the performances of its three leading ladies, to the appropriate aging of the iconic mask, even to the soundtrack – headed by John Carpenter himself – comes together to create a thrilling, yet subtle slasher film that any horror aficionado could enjoy.

Jordan Rodriguez

UC Irvine '18

UCI '18 PhD hopeful
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