It’s not often that I get to sit and enjoy what would be considered a “mainstream” horror film. Sure, they are out there, but for the most part, I am watching direct-to-home release independent features. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is extremely nice to take a break from those from time to time to watch something more ‘polished.’ This brings me to the mother of all horror films in 2018, in my humble opinion, David Gordon Green’s Halloween.
Forty years have passed since the personification of pure evil known as Michael Myers went on a killing spree in Haddonfield. He has been locked up ever since, but after a bus transporting him and other patients to another facility crashes on its course, Michael is once again thrown into the streets, looking to finish off what he started so many years ago
It is 2018, so how do you create another entry in one of the longest running and most popular franchises in horror cinema history that brings new ideas to the table? Well, wiping the slate clean of any and all sequels after the first film is one way to do it. This isn’t a Return or Curse of, it is not a Resurrection. There are no cults, no reality shows, and no stripper mothers. It is plainly and simply Halloween.
Returning to the fray are some of the most influential people; the ones who started it all, so to speak. John Carpenter is back, this time not as director, but executive producer, creative consultant, and composer, Nick Castle has returned to share The Shape duties with James Judy Courtney, and of course, Jamie Lee Curtis has returned to her famous role of Laurie Strode.
Joining Curtis in Halloween, are Judy Greer as her daughter, Karen, Andi Matichak as her granddaughter, Allyson, Will Patton as sheriff deputy Frank Hawkins, Haluk Bilginer as an original student of Dr. Loomis, Dr. Ranbir Sartain, and many more talented performers. We are introduced to some comic relief along the way in the forms of Toby Huss, playing Laurie Strode’s son-in-law, Drew Scheid, playing one of Allyson’s friends, and young Jibrail Nantambu as Julian.
The amount of comedic performances isn’t enough to bring Halloween 2018 into the horror comedy sub-genre, but it is enough to help relieve some of the tension that is being built, throughout the film’s 106 minute runtime, as The Shape returns to terrorize the streets of this small Illinois city.
Carpenter’s original 1978 film isn’t known to be very gory or explicit. The fear that people have experienced for four decades watching that film is brought on by other means. That is one major difference between that initial film in the series and this new, more updated sequel.
There is a high body count and each victim faces a more brutal death than the last. Jaws are ripped off, necks are bent in seemingly impossible directions, knives are shoved through body parts, and so on. Most of these kills are shown on screen, with only a few being off frame or just implied. I am actually a big fan of the amount of gore in this film, as while it was certainly more than Carpenter ever intended for his take, it doesn’t cross the line into being too over-the-top. Michael Myers is a brutal and vicious animal, so why not show how he is constantly offing his victims?
The look for Michael’s mask is quite weathered, much like one would expect from something that has been hanging around for 40 years. It isn’t quite as rugged and beat up as Rob Zombie’s version, but it gets the job done, illustrating the amount of time that has passed since The Shape donned it last. There are quite a bit of shots wherein glimpses of Michael’s unmasked face is shown, something which has bothered some viewers of the film. Again, I thought this was a nice touch. We see a much older Michael and we even see the effects of a clothes hanger to the eyeball, which he suffered at the hands of Laurie all those years ago.
Because the elaborate mythos of the Halloween sequels has been wiped clean, writers Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley, and David Gordon Green needed a new, more direct way of telling the next chapter in Michael and Laurie’s story.
Michael needs a worthy adversary, so why not make it a hardened, older and wiser, Laurie herself? Strode is now a self-described “basket case,” who has made her house and property into something you would see on one of those Doomsday Prepper television shows. It is a fortress, which is stocked with some heavy duty firepower, ready for the inevitable return of Michael.
Suffering from PTSD and constant paranoia among other things is a completely feasible outcome of being terrorized by a masked serial killer at a young age. This seems to be another thing that certain fans had a problem with — Laurie’s new ‘persona’ — but again, I thought it was completely fitting and a welcome modern twist on a character that we have been following forever. Turning a damsel-in-distress to an ultimate badass out for revenge also isn’t anything new. Think Terminator 2 or Aliens.
Halloween 2018 is a very polarizing film amongst fans. You either love it or hate it, it seems. I fall in with the former crowd, while some I know personally fall into the latter. It is a fun film that features a killer score from one of the greatest filmmakers and composers to ever grace our television sets, Carpenter himself along with the help of his son, Cody; it has some awesome kills and continues the story of The Shape and his not-sister Laurie Strode perfectly. There are numerous nods to some of the previous entries in the franchise, so be on the lookout for any and all Easter eggs.
Halloween is available now on Digital HD and will be hitting DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD on January 15 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
I had a great time watching this film, twice now, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it already. I know a lot of others didn’t enjoy it, but I invite you to watch it on your own and give it a fair chance, as I give this one 4.5 nasty-ass toenails out of 5.