Director: David Gordon Green
Screenplay: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichack, James Jude Courtney
It has been 40 years since we received the first instalment in the Halloween franchise from director John Carpenter, and this Halloween season (2018), David Gordon Green brings us a sequel that can proudly sit amongst its most superior predecessors. Welcome back Michael and Laurie.
Unlike other sequels and revivals of the horror classics we’ve seen before, including attempts at resurrecting this particular franchise, the 2018 Halloween is filled with nostalgia and respect for the source material and characters alike. Although it will never be a film that wins awards, it deserves some praise for what it is: a slasher horror that could fit right in with the classics.
Without giving away any spoilers, the story is a simple one. 40 years removed from the most scary night of her life, Laurie (Curtis) is now a grandmother and will do anything to protect her family from the horrors she experienced as a teenager, even if that means pushing them away. Myers, after being locked up for all of this time, manages to escape 40 years to the day of that fateful Halloween night, and well you can probably guess what happens next.
This simple plot, which strongly echoes that of the original, is one of the film’s biggest strengths. Fans of the franchise, and horror fans in general, would not be going into the cinema expecting any sort of complex narrative or convoluted plot, something that plagues the modern horror genre and would have most likely killed the franchise forever, disappointing fans exponentially in the process. In this horror remake, the formula is simple, Jamie Lee Curtis is a bad-ass and her character’s been waiting forty years for this day.
Curtis’ performance was the standout in this film, her characterisation being one of a battle-tested and evolved woman whose rough ride into adulthood had built barriers between herself and the rest of the world, but whose youthful vulnerability remained prominent courtesy of Curtis’ fantastic acting. The toll of the tragic event from Laurie’s past was written all over her face, and it was truly her journey that made for the largest point of investment here.
Although the aesthetic of Halloween was clearly rooted in that of the 1970’s classic, David Gordon Green did make some efforts to bring it in to the modern age. Podcast hosts are our point of entry into the narrative for example, which may become dated quicker than the original’s distasteful insults, and may come across as forced and cheesy at times, but did seem like a genuine attempt to inject some of the 21st century into the franchise, offering something that a new generation of fans could relate to without detracting too much from the movie’s almost overwhelming sense of nostalgia; an achievement by Green that deserves to be applauded.
Overall, Halloween is a film that does what it says on the tin. It is somewhat scary and gory, and has many moments that work to build tension just like in the original; each moment helping to keep us unsure as to which dark corner Michael Myers could be hiding in. Most importantly, this film doesn’t try to be anything more than the simple slasher it is.
Granted, the dialogue is not the best you will ever hear and the plot is nothing spectacular, thus opening the film up to a lot of criticism from viewers looking for something more, but for anyone who is a fan of the Halloween franchise or the classic horror genre in general, this will be seen as a success. It includes everything that fans love about the original, feels vintage enough to be faithful and even offers a little bit of something new to become invested in.
Halloween is a good, fun movie watching experience that transports you back to the original classic in terms of tone and atmosphere, accompanied by a killer score from the returning John Carpenter. This is a fun slasher movie that tips its hat to the pioneers of the genre, offering a watchable remake that surpasses the majority of its ill-informed, low-budget brethren.