Film Review – Halloween (2018)
It was only a matter of time before the Halloween franchise had another chance to simultaneously scare and please audiences around the world. But unlike many cynical cash grabs of recent memory that came about from needlessly resurrecting a known property, 2018’s Halloween — now the third movie in the entire franchise with that title — had its creator, John Carpenter, involved once again thanks to an impassioned pitch from David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Jason Blum for their new vision of Halloween. Thankfully, that vision turned out in a manner that is sure to please fans of the franchise.
The following review will be spoiler free.
Directed By: David Gordon Green
Written By: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley
40 years after killing a handful of residents in the town of Haddonfield, Michael Myers (Castle) has escaped his mental institution in which he’s been living ever since that fateful night in 1978 and returned to the small town, ready to kill more innocent townspeople.
But Laurie Strode (Curtis) has been waiting — and training — for the moment that Michael would inevitably escape so that she could end his reign of terror once and for all and save her loved ones from premature death.
Ever since producing Halloween III: Season of the Witch back in 1982, John Carpenter has largely stayed on the sidelines as various companies made seven more sequels to his 1978 classic. He’s watched angrily as his baby has turned into a farce at times only to then get rebooted…into another farce.
But this “soft reboot” was different. After news broke that Miramax and Blumhouse would come together to co-finance a new Halloween film, producer Jason Blum went to John Carpenter’s home and brokered a meeting with the legend and the film’s source of creativity: David Gordon Green and Danny McBride.
When asked why he gave his blessing and offered to help out on the film as an executive producer, creative consultant, and even as the writer of the film’s score, he explained that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride simply “get it.” They wouldn’t turn the Halloween name into a mockery once again.
A new Halloween movie was going to happen whether Carpenter liked it or not, but it’s pretty great to see a producer and creative team come together to pay their respects to a great man AND property before the camera ever started rolling.
2018’s Halloween Comes from Those that Loved 1978’s Halloween
The notion that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride “get it” is fairly obvious right away in this new version of Halloween. They understand what makes the Michael Myers character terrifying. Myers is an unknown force of nature, one without a discernible reason for his killing. You see this in this movie’s insistence in not showing Myers’ face without his mask — through a few inventive camera moves and placements I might add — in combination with his wonderfully eerie movements. Halloween 2018 is a return to form for the character. Michael Myers is back to his roots.
David Gordon Green’s style is all over this movie, most notably with Myers. This is one of the few horror movies where showing MORE of the monster makes that monster and the film better by extension. Halloween (2018) makes a concerted effort to follow Michael Myers as he walks around Haddonfield, highlighted by one pretty incredible scene on Halloween night that shows a few kills by Myers in quick succession with limited cuts. One could even argue that this is his movie despite some kickass ladies stealing the show from time to time.
Halloween is clearly an homage to the entire Halloween franchise — not just the original — in its recreation of certain sequences, moments, and musical stings. The movie is more of a soft reboot than a direct sequel to the original in this way, sprinkling in bits of what you remember and love. Admittedly, some of these familiar beats are hollow, but a lot of them are very clever, used in a way that inverts those beat and repackages them for a fun twist on what came before. This is the 11th Halloween film — can you really blame it THAT much for skirting near familiar territory?
Characters are Handled with Fun Intricacies
Jamie Lee Curtis is badass as an older, grizzled Laurie Strode. In this new timeline, she has lived her entire life with Michael Myers’ looming presence over her. That fateful night forty years ago damaged her for good, ruining most of her relationships along the way.
Jamie Lee is simple the best. She always brings it, no matter the project. But what really struck me about David Gordon Green’s version of Halloween are its fun, little bits of hilarity and character. Some characters are merely there to accidentally run into Michael Myers and meet their demise, but there are a lot of individuals that add to Halloween‘s personality. From characters that have odd and humorous quirks to timely comedy amid the horror, 2018’s Halloween is a hoot with a playful spirit that just so happens to have a murderous, tension-filled core. Sometimes, the movie just wants to relax and showcase a few characters as they go about their business in rather silly ways.
A special shout out goes to Toby Huss for making me holler with laughter for a much longer period of time than I should have on one occasion.
A Few Contrivances Make Halloween Suffer
There’s so much fun to behold in this latest version of Halloween. It’s so great to see Nick Castle back as The Shape along with a general feeling of filmmaking skill back into a Halloween movie. But I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t notice some of the film’s logical inconsistencies. The plot is full of contrivances that allow Michael Myers to move from place to place, all so that he turns up around characters who we know and enjoy. Some of which are simply lame, and others will shock you with their level of idiocy. If the bits between those artificial sequences weren’t so great, we’d have a serious problem on our hands.
In the end, it all comes down to whether or not you love Michael Myers in this film. Everything else — especially the plot, the emotion between characters, and the film’s internal logic — falls into the background, except for maybe Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance as the venerable Laurie Strode.
In love with the franchise that came before it (even to a fault), 2018’s Halloween squarely fits into the “soft reboot” category of resurrected properties in today’s day in age. Filled with countless callbacks to Carpenter’s 1978 classic — in combination with many tips of the cap to other moments in the previous ten films — it’s hard not to crack a smile seeing this product.
It’s certainly NOT a perfect film, and many will walk away wishing they had seen something more outside of the box, but it’s one great time in the theaters — a feeling that we all still yearn for in the age of streaming.
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on Halloween? Comment down below!
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