HOLLYWOOD—I have been waiting for the release of this film since it was announced in February 2017 by John Carpenter. For those sleeping under a rock, I’m referring to “Halloween.” However, let me be crystal clear this is not the 1978 version it’s the 2018 version. We could get into specifics about the title, but I’ll save that for another day.
This 2018 installment in the popular horror franchise takes place 40 years later and is a direct sequel to the original. Yes, the writers have wiped the slate clean of all previous installments in the franchise. That is important because if they had NOT done so some of us would be asking how in the hell could Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) be alive when she was killed by Michael Myers in “Halloween: Resurrection?”
The narrative picks up right after the events of the 1978 classic, where Dr. Loomis fired 6 shots into Michael Myers before he fell off a balcony to his presumed death. Fans of the classic know how things end with Michael just getting up and walking away, that ain’t happening here. Michael was arrested and has been locked away at a sanitarium for the past 40 years! Think about that people because it explains a lot of the rage, fervor and brutality Michael Myers exhibits in the film upon getting a taste of freedom.
Look, I’m no fan of obsessive violence; I don’t like to see it, and that is where director David Gordon Green excels. We don’t necessarily see Michael committing all the devious acts, but we do see the aftermath of it, which is actually more horrifying. There are few scenes that will indeed leave you haunted or squeamish to say the least. The shots of Myers stalking the residents of Haddonfield are just absolute perfection. You can sense the dread, the suspense and the tension slowly building.
At its core this is a film 100 percent about Laurie Strode and the aftereffects of her encounter with Michael Myers some 40 years ago. This woman is haunted, she is frightened to the core, but at the same time she is a badass. She has been preparing and when I say preparing I mean, she has a bevy of gunfire, her aim is precision, and her home is like a bobby trapped fortress where she is planning a step ahead for Michael and anything he attempts to deliver. Curtis drives this narrative in a big way because she is fierce and determined at all odds to end Michael Myers reign of terror once and for all. That intensity from Curtis engages the audience in a major way as the big confrontation comes to a head.
Yes, some people might want to compare this flick to “Halloween H20” and I can almost see it. However, that flick focused on Laurie being more a victim and afraid to confront her past, where here our heroine knows her fate and is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect not just herself, but her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). It’s like we have a three generations of women battling a force of evil, and the family dynamics could not be more compelling. Laurie’s odd behavior led to her losing custody of Karen who thinks her mother is nuts, while her relationship with Allyson is strained, her granddaughter can sense her grandmother’s plight and fear.
Michael’s mayhem is unleashed as a direct result of two British docu-journalists intrigued by Michael’s mayhem of terror nearly 40 years ago. It is that interaction which ultimately set the stage of events that allows Michael Myers to escape and head back to Haddonfield to unleash a bit of mayhem and settle a score with an old foe. Be advised, Michael and Laurie are NOT siblings in this installment and I think that elimination of that story bullet point helps drive the narrative even more. The audience has no idea what makes Michael Myers tick and that makes the film that more terrifying.
A bonus point for the script co-written by Green and Danny McBride is you like these characters so when they’re in peril or ultimately meet their fate courtesy of our villain you actually care. Very rare for the horror genre where most characters just bite it and we’re asking ourselves whose next because we already know who the final girl will be.
I love “Halloween” because it has some intense scares, fun chase sequences and a stellar climax, where let’s face it, if the movie does well at the box-office (and it’s predicted to do super well) we should expect a sequel. We even have Carpenter crafting the score, with a modern version that is tense and still leaves a sense of dread over one’s shoulder. Where the writers go with the sequel I don’t know, but this a back to the basics horror flick that reminds fans of the franchise what made Michael Myers so scary and to new generations why they should be afraid of the ‘Boogeyman.’
“Halloween” is proof you can rebirth a franchise by going back to the basics and not convoluting a story, where at its core was all about a killer stalking babysitters on Halloween night. This version just takes that premise and amplifies that theatrics for a modern generation.