A worthy follow up to John Carpenter’s original, Halloween (2018) completely captures the essence of that 1978 slasher. Michael Myers is back in Haddonfield and just as deadly as ever, but Laurie Strode has been planning this night for 40 years!
Disregarding all prior Halloween sequels, this film feels like a far more appropriate way to bring the characters back. The 1978 original is a simple, hugely effective and incredibly tight film, whereas this sequel feels somewhat looser. This freedom is beneficial to some areas of Halloween (2018), namely the character of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), yet some elements of the plot do feel odd at times.
Director David Gordon Green crafts the more intense, horror-focused scenes surprisingly wonderfully; at times ripping shots right out of the original to glorious effect. We get to move with Michael through certain scenes, evoking the feel of that legendary opening scene 40 years ago. Some of the most enjoyable moments of the whole film come when we are following Michael from house to house and kill to kill, walking through trick-or-treaters without a second look.
The violence and kills in Halloween (2018) are certainly more graphic than those from 1978, but that can simply be put down to developments in effects and a larger budget. Occasionally you feel as though the off-screen deaths are actually far more effective in creating that sense of unavoidable dread that Michael Myers creates. The “man” behind that famous white mask doesn’t need to be seen killing people to be terrifying. Speaking of which, bringing Nick Castle back to play “The Shape” 40 years later is a fact that puts a huge smile on the face!
Michael is by no means the star of Halloween (2018); that is all Laurie Strode! Jamie Lee Curtis gives one of the strongest performances in a truly mainstream horror film in recent memory, portraying the sheer amount of trauma those events 40 years ago had on Laurie. She is an incredibly flawed, dedicated, interesting and outstandingly badass character. Quite different to her character in 1978.
Her relationships with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) are the real story of the film, with each generation of Strode having a compelling little arc of their own.
As perhaps expected in today’s slashers, some of the more “teen” elements of Halloween (2018) are the least interesting. The boyfriend drama and school dance etc. It’s strange because while watching an early slasher from the 1970s or early 1980s, the “teen” elements can often be very enjoyable because you know that a kill is not far away. While that statement does hold true in this movie, and the kills are wonderful, the film would not have suffered if it had simply been omitted.
There are a couple of times when the plot may seem like it’s going in a certain direction and doesn’t. Seeing a complete movie of the journalists and their investigation into the case of Michael Myers would be very interesting. But of course, they are killed fairly early and we get all the wonderful slasher goodness after that. It would be fair to say that at times Halloween (2018) feels like two movies. Thankfully, they’re both great and the film ends up in that incredible climax!
There is so much to love in Halloween (2018), particularly for fans of the original. Just sit back, listen to that incredible, newly mixed (by John Carpenter himself) version of the famous theme, and enjoy this very fun, very intense slasher. Michael really has come home!