Age Rating: 18+
Runtime: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Nick Castle
“It’s Halloween; everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”
Set 40 years after the original 1978 Halloween with a new timeline that ignores the other sequels and reboots, 2018’s Halloween is a refreshingly solid entry into this horror franchise.
Two true crime podcasters seek out Michael Myers who as a young boy brutally murdered his sister, Judith Myers on Halloween night and then, fifteen years later escapes from his confinement at an insane asylum and stabs and strangles five people on Halloween night. Laurie Strode (played by a young Jamie Lee Curtis in her breakout role) is nearly Michael’s sixth victim during his 1978 night of terror, but manages to fight him off long enough for Michael’s child psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (played by the late and great Donald Pleasence) to arrive and put an end to Michael’s spree by shooting him six times and sending him flying off a two storey balcony.
While the ending to the 1978 classic sees the Boogeyman vanish into the night the 2018 version reveals that Michael was indeed apprehended and has spent the last 40 years back in the insane asylum never having uttered a word.
Now an old but brooding and powerful figure in chains, Michael is set to be transferred to a maximum security prison until his dying days. Our two true crime podcasters are allowed to see Michael before this transfer in an attempt for them to coax some kind of dialogue out of him with Michael’s new psychiatrist Dr. Sartain in attendance through presenting him with his famous mask from the 1978 murders.
After having failed to do so they soon visit Laurie Strode, now in her 60s who is physically and emotionally scarred from the trauma of Halloween night 1978. Jamie Lee Curtis portrays Laurie as a strong willed but fragmented character who has dedicated her entire life to the preparation of protecting her family from the horrors of the world that she has seen first-hand. This obsession of protection has destroyed Laurie’s relationship with her own daughter Karen (played by Judy Greer) and has alienated her from the rest of the family with Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson always trying to bring her Mother and Grandmother back together.
Michael Myers is loaded onto the prison bus bound for his maximum security fate however (who would have thought?) the bus crashes allowing Michael to disappear into the night towards his old hunting grounds of Haddonfield and sets up for some classic stalks, kills and conformations with an old foe.
“He’s waited for this night…. he’s waited for me…. I’ve waited for him.”
2018’s Halloween certainly does not re-invent the horror genre or bring many new ideas but what it may lack in originality it more than makes up for in its solid presentation, cast and some tight set pieces that mix in some impressive visuals and scares. The presence Michael Myers carries in the film is handled perfectly by director David Gordon Green who creates a killer who for the most part is a mysterious and unstoppable force yet is still mortal. The strongest scenes in the film are when Green allows a scene to breathe and have a long follow with minimal cuts; these scenes are when we see Michael in his element stalking after the bus crash or when he arrives in the Haddonfield suburbs on Halloween night.
For scares there are plenty and more credit is deserved for Green as he knows how much to show the audience but also when to the let the audience fill in the blanks themselves during and after the kills (of which there are many). After some costume design struggles in previous Halloween instalments (I’m looking at you H20 with the Casper mask) Michael Myer’s weathered look is spot on with a satisfying explanation for how Michael gets his iconic mask back.
However the film does struggle in places with a very poor subplot involving Michael’s psychiatrist that does drag down the middle portion of the film but thankfully the film does move on pretty quickly to the third act with final stalks and showdowns with the remaining characters.
“Happy Halloween Michael.”
With a lot of cliqued characters and a poor subplot Halloween could be open to easy criticism but with every other aspect being so on-form particularly Jamie Lee Curtis’ strong and determined Laurie Strode, Halloween makes for an enjoyable and spooky trip to the cinema to get in the mood for the 31st of October.
Follow Darragh on Twitter HERE to see him put his Masters in Film and Television Studies to good use by tweeting about how LL Cool J was the best part of Halloween: H20.