I loved loved loved John Carpenter’s original masterpiece Halloween (1978) and I am not a fan of Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake, so I was beyond excited for this. However, I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed. Yes, there were moments I thoroughly enjoyed and I stand by the belief that Halloween (2018) adds something valuable to this horror universe, but I can’t say that I left the cinema happy.
Halloween (2018) is set in the present day, exactly forty years after the original. It opens with two British investigative journalists getting a chance to see the famous Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) before he is transferred to a high-security prison, which his doctor refers to as a literal Hell. The opening sequence is tense, and you could feel the atmosphere in the cinema when one of the journalists lifts Michael’s mask from his bag and repeatedly asks Michael if he can feel it. The music builds and the cuts increase and it is a beautifully executed sequence before getting into the opening credits. The opening credits were gorgeous! The text was in a nostalgic style adhering to the original credits, and on the left side of the screen is a rotten pumpkin that slowly regenerates back to its iconic image. And the score, wow.
The story, however, is lacking. It’s predictable and therefore lacks the famous shock value from the original. Now that is not the fault of director David Gordon Green or his contribution to Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride’s screenplay, but it nevertheless provides critics with the ammunition to accuse Halloween (2018) of being unnecessary.
We obviously know that Michael is going to escape during his prison transfer, so it’s not a shock when the bus crashes. We get a glimpse into how the events forty years ago have affected Laurie Stroud (the incredible Jamie Lee Curtis) and her family, but it falls short. We see how Laurie’s entire life has become about finally killing Michael – she rigs her entire house as a trap, which is pretty badass – and the attempted exploration into her deteriorating psyche because of all this is a good effort, but I found it difficult to care. I think that the only reason I felt invested was because of Jamie Lee Curtis’s iconic performance in 1978, rather than being interested in the actual character. Laurie’s family are also introduced. Judy Greer plays Laurie’s resentful daughter, who unsurprisingly hates her mother for the way she was brought up, and Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) who Laurie is trying to have a relationship with, perhaps to make up for her bad relationship with her daughter. The family drama is clichéd and feels forced at times. It could have been done better.
The doctor’s character is interesting as he could arguably represent the audience. He is obsessed with Michael’s selective muteness and finding out what drives Michael – there is a moment where Allyson claims Michael spoke to her (which isn’t true) and the doctor repeatedly asks if it was Michael’s sister Judith’s name which he uttered. However, there is a cheap scene towards the end which I was a bit disappointed in. You’ll know when you see the film.
Michael Myers is scarier than ever. His viciousness incredible strength is demonstrated in several scenes and they are truly terrifying – keep an eye out for the public bathroom scene. It’s undeniable that the mask is iconic, and David Gordon Green’s decision not to reveal Michael’s face was a good choice – part of what makes Michael so horrifying is his lack of humanity and by refusing to show his face Gordon Green has reinforced this monstrous horror figure.
All in all, the film is enjoyable, if predictable. The cinematography is gorgeous, the gore is well executed, and there are a few genuinely badass moments, but I can’t help but feel it could have been better.
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak and James Jude Courtney