10. Movie Review: Halloween (2018)
Today’s the day! Halloween is upon us, and I wanted to have a special blog post. Ever since it was announced that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride had signed on to pen the latest entry in the Halloween franchise, I had my eye on this one, waiting rather impatiently for any inkling of news. I had my doubts, given not only the fact that McBride had mostly been involved in comedy projects before his part in Alien: Covenant, but also because of the previous installments. Basically, everything in between the original and Rob Zombie’s remake (which I did enjoy) was forgettable. And after Rob Zombie’s sequel to the 2007 remake revealed itself as a discombobulated mess (save some creative liberties that I didn’t totally hate), it felt as though this series had been slaughtered for the last time. But that was certainly not the case: Halloween (2018) was fantastic, and just what we needed to tie up the story of Carpenter’s original classic with a rather bloody bow.
I won’t be providing spoilers in this review (or any—at least, I’ll try not to!), but I will discuss as many pieces of this film as I can. The first is the new Myers mask. This mask is simple, but exactly what it needed to be: aged, dirtied, and menacing. No more stark-white rubber, no more cracked material that reveals any part of the face. The mask characterizes Michael Myers without allowing him to be a character, if that makes sense. This film pushes the fact that Myers is supposed to be evil personified, and while we do see bits and pieces of his face throughout, when the mask is off, we never see anything about Myers that tells us he’s anything but darkness. He stalks, kills, then moves onto the next victim. As he should—that was the core of the 1978 classic: we don’t know what drives Michael, we don’t know why he kills. That’s what makes him scary.
Piggybacking off that point, the plot of this film is also simple; the tangled storylines of the various other sequels and re-boots are scrubbed clean, leaving us only with what remained after the events of the first film. Laurie is no longer Michael’s sister, and no cult controls the strings that move him. We’re again given a figure identified only by his presence as well as his mask. It’s Laurie Strode’s fear, her anger, and her obsession with Michael that ultimately bring her into his sights. Both the lead-up and the payoff are satisfying. There are, however, some goofy moments, and some significant plot-holes, such as the plotline with the journalists (er… podcasters) who are investigating Michael’s case. And some comedic moments do pull us away from rather intense scenes. But overall, I think the plot held its own. And the actors (at least some of them) pulled their weight.
Jamie Lee Curtis finally reprised her role as Laurie Strode the right way, by injecting more depth into the character than in previous restorations. She is, in ways, hindered by her fears, but rightly so; she experienced such terrors at a young age. And symptoms of PTSD take center stage. But her passion of defending her family at any cost, her confidence in her strength, and her preparation for the worst tell us that Laurie Strode isn’t messing around, this time. She's got a mission.
Lastly, David Gordon Green’s directorial efforts don’t go unnoticed, here. Even though the awesome tracking shot that follows Myers through his Halloween haunt was included in a few trailers, I still found it impossible to look away throughout. It showcases James Jude Courtney’s (and, returning to the mask, Nick Castle, one of the original players in the 1978 film!) rendition of Michael, seeming to glide through the suburbs of Haddonfield like a ghost, until it comes to the kills. He’s brutal this time around, angry. And the camera reflects that; shots like this tell us that Michael, like Laurie, isn’t messing around. He’s waited long enough to feed his murderous desires, and he doesn’t hold back. While we do get some Blumhouse-esque silliness in some of these over-the-top kills, I’d say the brutality is still commendable, coming from a lover of slasher films.
Halloween 2018 is a slasher feat wrapped up in the nostalgia catered to long-time fans of the original. It stands on its own while keeping a close second to the first film. I loved it, and I look forward to seeing it again. If you’re expecting Oscar-worthy efforts, you’re looking at the wrong film (and the wrong series, to be blunt). But if you’re hoping for a horror film, for intensity, for brutality, and for a crazy awesome revenge thriller, I highly recommend giving it a watch.
Did you see the new Halloween? What did you think? Let me know what I missed, or what I might have missed the mark on. Let’s discuss!
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