Forty years and ten instalments later Michael Myers returns in David Gordon Green's new Halloween. From Season of the Witch to H20, Green cuts out every one of the dreadful Halloween sequels, wiping the slate clean with his follow on to the 1978 original. John Carpenter makes a come back scoring and executively producing, as does Jamie Lee Curtis who reprises her role as Laurie Strode. Forty years after murdering three teenagers on Halloween night - Michael Myers escapes a bus crash, returning to Haddonfield once more for his final standoff with an ageing Laurie Strode.
The Shape remerges in Halloween (2018), an enjoyable slasher flick that loses Carpenter's meticulous crafting and painstaking suspense. Halloween isn't brilliant but it screams potential, the first half of this movie is nothing short of fantastic but it falters when it attempts to become anything more than the simple, solid horror movie the original Halloween always was. Here we have Green throwing in various irrelevant sub-plots and characters as well as absolutely ridiculous twists in the final act. He - as well as co-screenwriter Danny McBride - quickly forget that Halloween isn't about jump scares or gratuitous violence, it's simply about a psychopath praying on vulnerable people. This contrasts remarkably with Carpenter's 1978 classic which plays with interesting camera techniques such as POVs and tracking shots, provoking so much raw fear and tension from a simple idea about being stalked.
In the beginning we follow two investigative reporters who are creating a podcast on the babysitter murders of 1978. We're brought out into the eerie courtyard of the mental asylum where Michael Myers lies slap bang in the middle, where Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) attempts to connect with him. A terrifying use of zooms and sharp edits, Green continues Carpenter's original concept of Michael Myers being pure evil as everyone around him soon becomes unsettled. Then cut to the iconic Halloween opening credits accompanied by Carpenter's haunting score which has been given a handsome electronic glow up. In fact, from a technical level Halloween might just have the best opening scene of 2018, hooking you into the horrors that await.
The reporter characters really work here, they aren't particularly important within the story but they are the device which introduces us back to Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, forty years later. Speaking of which - Jamie Lee Curtis' long awaited return exceeds all expectations. With guns, a green tank top and a trap-tastic house - Curtis channels Sarah Connor meets Kevin McCallister. Green and McBride have given her a fascinating character arc - no longer the sweet and innocent teen - Laurie is a haunted, broken old woman, unable to move on from her past. Halloween explores how trauma can leave a lasting impact on someone's life - hence her distant relationship with daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Alyson (Andi Matichak).
However Halloween plays too heavily on the new generation of babysitter murders and as a result doesn't deliver on the Laurie v Michael showdown that was promised. Annoying teenagers, incompetent cops and wacky scientists - Green sometimes pays homage to the original in clever ways, role reversing Laurie and The Shape but mostly he surrounds the key plot points with irrelevant side characters.
In Halloween's case less is more. In contrast to the original Michael kills a lot of people in this instalment but the higher the body count the lesser the impact. The murders are carried out so quickly and flippantly, they aren't incredibly violent nor - importantly - are they suspenseful. Without question the scariest and most nerve raking scene in the entire film is in the petrol station, other than that Halloween isn't scary at all, really.
Halloween delivers in some aspects, the great moments really are great but as a whole it isn't well realised. It uses "false" scares quite a lot and needs something to drive it home after a fantastic first half. Curtis shows real character, she sticks out amongst other lesser ones and some genuinely silly moments. With Carpenter's iconic score returning with a few new alterations, Halloween delivers a handful of impressive visuals and is certainly entertaining but ultimately it lacks real scares and suspense.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.