“Death has come town to your little town, Sherriff ” – Loomis (Halloween
Warning: Spoilers loom below!
Before we get into this, I need to admit something. I fucking love slasher movies. Supposedly outdated and tired by 2018 standards, they remain my favorite horror genre. If it’s a slasher, I’ll watch it. I love the idea of a mysterious killer wreaking havoc on the public, the story behind it and how the people react (and expire) are always interesting. And if we’re being honest, the slasher genre was championing female heroes (aka the final girl) long before social media decided they never existed before Superhero movies. After the nauseatingly disappointing Rob Zombie Halloween efforts, I was pleasantly surprised that Michael Myers was getting another movie to show he still has it. So David Gordon Green not only had the fate of Mr. Myers in his hands but arguably the slasher genre as well. Time to talk a slow stalk through what worked and what it didn’t..
First off, this movie is gorgeous. It is incredibly well shot. Halloween simultaneously feels both modern and retro. There is one scene in particular when The Shape enters Haddonfield that is just impressive. The score is also top notch. I sometimes forget how a well done movie score can affect a movie. Daniel Davies and John Carptener crafted a haunting and suspenseful score that almost matches the original. It’s never misplaced and enhances every scene.
As we all know, I am here for the Michael Myers shenanigans. Did they treat the legend with respect? Is this a movie that didn’t completely water down it’s evil? They did not! Myers is a goddamn killing machine. The kills are brutal and creative. A wonderful mix of implied,off-screan and on-screen fatalities. The audience reacted appropriately to them all, which is all you can ask for in a movie like this. I thought it was a bit of miss that Myers didn’t off the baby (This is why I love this genre, I can write sentences like that) since he is pure evil and all.
The Strodes are the center of the story. Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), Karen(Judy Greer), and Allyson (Andi Matichak) all are dealing with the post-Babysitter Murder trauma differently. Of course, Laurie has spent this entire suffering from PTSD from that night has turned to the spirit of Ripley (Thought I was going to go an entire review without an Alien reference eh?) and Sarah Connor for guidance. She knows Michael will return eventually, and she will be ready. However, this mindset has frayed the family, as Karen has settled into a happy marriage with Ray (Toby Huss). Whom plays an entertainingly annoying Dad by the way. Meanwhile, Allyson wants to desperately connect with her grandmother despite her mother’s objections. It was fantastic to see Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie, you can tell she couldn’t wait to get back in her shoes and it shines across the screen. Perennial sidekick Judy Greer has a borderline iconic moment that I won’t ruin. This isn’t the genre you go to for deep character moments, but the scene at the diner I thought was well done. It showed how each generation of Strode dealt with their issues differently.
Credit as well for creating tension. It helped tremendously framing Myers as a terror. Two scenes in particular: When a kid and his father discover the crashed bus of asylum inmates and the showdown at the end between Laurie and Michael. Green, Danny McBride (Yes, you read that correctly) and Jeff Fradley kept the writing sharp throughout. It remained aware of the horror tropes without falling to much into the satire field. There was some great misdirections where I knew what was coming next and they switched it up. Well played.
Dr. Sartain’s twist. Seriously. What the hell was that? It came out of nowhere and had zero impact. I felt like his story was part of a prequel event the audience wasn’t privy too.
The comedy relief scene with Vicky (Virginia Gardner) and Jibrail Nantambu (Julian). Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but I don’t need that many laughs in a Halloween movie. There is too much of this in movies these days, this Disney-fying in every movie needs to cease. Every movie isn’t Thor Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn’t need the one-liner overload in The Predator and Venom, and I did not need it here. Halloween is far superior to both (Myers has far more venom in him than Venom that’s for sure) but it needs to be toned down. That aside, newcomer Jibrail was absolutely hilarious. I could have this all wrong, as the audience did love that scene. But I don’t think the movie suffers without either.
If you’re one of those humans who nitpick and view everything from a polticial perspective, I’m sure certain “agendas” will stick out on the screen for you. If that happens during your viewing experience, I am sorry that you let such a thing ruin your good time.
The timeframe/movie placement. Fortunately, the movie works where it doesn’t matter but it’s a weird dynamic. Laurie is no longer Michael’s sister? That was a strange decision, but I get it. Setting it after the first movie and ignoring the sequels was also incredibly brave. Considering how ridiculous they became it’s understandable. Personally, I think setting it after 2 or 3 is a better idea. Maybe makes a bit more sense story wise. But it worked.
I had high expectations going into this movie from the previews, and I can happily report I was not let down. A few missteps don’t ruin any of it’s shine. Even better, it is a hit amonsgst critics and fans. The movie is making tons of money, and The Shape, The Legend, Michael Myers is officially resurrected into the public eye once again. We can only hope that Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th are next up and our beloved slasher genre makes a return to terrorize a new generation. Not all female heroes wear capes. All hail the Final Girl.
8 snapped necks out of 10