In 1978 John Carpenter didn’t so much reinvent horror films – he created the popular modern slasher thriller with his inspired Halloween. Since then the franchise has seen multiple lacklustre sequels and reboots that nearly derailed the story and made the figure of the Michael Myers a second rate film boogeyman. 40 years later to make a sequel to the original masterpiece and discard all the other films since – is as risky, as it is exciting.
Produced by Horror kingpin Blumhouse and Miramax with a fresh script by Danny McBride and Director David Gordon Green, the film continues the story of Michael and Laurie Strode 40 years after the fateful night on dreaded Hallows Eve. Laurie is now a grandmother with a mix of paranoia and Sarah Conner-badassery, ready for a rematch with famed spree killer Michael Myers. The imposing figure does indeed escape his captivity and heads back to Haddonfield to finish off what he started all those years ago. Laurie, now seen as the town’s crazy old lady is ready and waiting.
Halloween is both trick and treat. Director David Gordon Green has made this film with fans firmly in mind. Bringing back the original scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis as an aged Laurie is the biggest treat of all. Her performance is the strong stab of the film, a mix of weary wisdom and fiery rage that she plays superbly. The trick that Green has pulled off freighting well, is seamlessly bringing the character of Michael Myers and his terror back and making him a genuinely scary boogeyman once again. Horror Cinema today is filed with supernatural spectres and paranormal scares, so much so that it’s difficult to find the terror in the natural and normal. This film manages to succeed in making Michael the stuff of nightmares that he once was. When the creators love the material they are working with and respect the source elements, it’s truly felt. This film reverts back to the stock good vs. evil of the original, but never attempts to remake it – which works in favour for both films.
This film will appease many this scare season, with a viewing of the original not entirely essential as the story of the first killings are laid out pretty regularly. The film starts with immense promise, stylistically lending from Carpenter but also with a fresh twist. Some of the shots are composed beautifully. The looming rematch between our hero and villain doesn’t disappoint with a genius duality of who becomes predator and prey. Using the original score was also a masterful choice and truly makes one appreciate what was made way back in 1978.
Unfortunately the film does drag and an attempt at a “twist” involving Michael’s new doctor is so laughable and silly that it nearly derails the film. However the film is saved by an intense final act that will please both die-hard fans and keen scare-goers alike.
Halloween is slightly all over the place and has an abundantly clear #MeToo influence. It captures both the greatest and silliness of the original, but does somewhat miss the mark. The reverence that is placed on Michael and the catharsis we get from the story of Laurie is pleasant, fun and indeed scary. Halloween is back and ready to scare. While you wont double checks the locks at night after seeing this film, you may just have an extra look behind the while walking home.
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