It’s been 40 years since Michael Myers stalked Laurie Strode in Haddonfield, Illinois. Since then we have been subject to a slew of sequels, reboots and spinoffs, some of which Jaime Lee Curtis has starred in herself. Now comes Halloween 2018, 20 years after Halloween H2O and 40 years since the original film. This film stands as the TRUE sequel to the first film exploring what has happened to Strode and her family since the traumatic event. In what can only be described as a modern horor classic with tropes that evolve into truly terrifying and tense scenes with outstanding performances from the female cast and a modern twist on this classic tale that will have Halloween fans screaming for more.
Halloween is set in the current time with Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis) a complete shadow of the woman she was when we met her in the first film. She is battered, angry and essentially broken. She lives on the outskirts of town in her own fortress, completely obsessed with Michael Myers and his impending transfer to another prison. Her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) is hepling her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) get ready to leave for college. Enter two British podcasters who want to interview Myers and Strode to gain new insight into these crimes (think Making a Murderer etc) who provoke Myers and unleash all hell on this unsuspecting community who are forced to relive these events from 40 years ago.
Going into this movie it was hard not to buy into the hype. The press junkets from Curtis have been captivating, audiences and critics are raving about the film, yet after the last few years of disappointing horror films it was hard to come into this with fresh eyes and still regain some shred of hope for this sequel (particularly after Laurie Stode’s infamous death scene in Halloween Resurrection). What I loved most about this film is its constant nods to the sequels as well as other horror hits like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Having millenials point out the absurdity of people being so hung up on 5 deaths that happened 40 years ago compared to the horrors that our world faces today is something worth exploring. While they directly addressed it, it wasn’t really explored any further than that. That being said the intensity of the murders and brutality of the death scenes are nothing short of spectacular. You can really feel the Blumhouse influence in the gore and confronting slasher scenes.
While this is all set in modern times, the score, soundtrack, camera shots and feel fresh out of the 1970’s original. This is the perfect blend of modern and classic horror that make the film feel epic an very true to the series past. Curtis looks the part as a grandmother who is prepared to protect her family at any cost. Her haggard and rough portrayal perfectly match the home or really fortress in which she lives. Simiarly Karen has suffered a life of neglect and trauma due to her mother’s paranoia and has a firm stance on not budging till Laurie gets professional help. This is then passed down to Allyson who is definitely the most sand of the three characters living a relatively carefree teenage life with clear sympathy and affection for her grandma, while her relationship with her mother is extremely strained. In the final act of the film where all three women come together to confront Michael Myers. It really cements their relationship and shows the generational trauma that this movie sets about to explain.
This film does have alot of intense and emotional moments, it was really hard to put nostalgia and all the love I have for the originalk film aside and treat this as its own thing. Sometimes the film goes out of its way to explain things that could have just been portrayed through actions and flashbacks rather than having a spoken narrative over the top. This is one part of the film that I didn’t enjoy. Audiences are unfortunately treated like idiots at times and while this may be necessary for audiences who haven’t seen the first film, it really takes you out of the film.
Overall Halloween 2018 is a true return to form after 20 years of sequels that pale in comparison to the original. While this doesn’t quite reach the heights of the first film, it does get really REALLY close. Be prepared for some really intense moments and performances that are rare in a horror film (especially from Blumhouse!) Definitely don’t see this alone, take your friends, your family and prepare for the return of Halloween and what is sure to be impending sequels for years to come. For the meantime enjoy this masterpiece in filmmaking and storytelling.
Halloween is in cinemas this Thursday.
Review by Alaisdair “Leithal” Leith.