HALLOWEEN (2018) REVIEW
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis
Directed By: David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express)
Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes
To call this movie unexpected would be an understatement. Michael Myers had not been in a new movie in nearly ten years. Halloween had been rebooted, reimagined, and done to death. Slashers aren’t the sure thing at the box office they once were. It’s too simple. It’s not believable. There’s scarier things in our society now. Times had changed.
Plus, the timeline of events in this series had been so convoluted and warped that no one could make heads or tails of it at this point. Some sequels follow this, this, and this timeline, but leave out movies X, Y, and Z. It would be too hard to explain to viewers what had happened and what was important leading up to a new film.
Enter David Gordon Green and Danny McBride. Who are they you ask? Well…they are the ones behind HBO’s Eastbound and Down and the stoner comedy Pineapple Express. They had an idea. Strip the plot down to nearly nothing. Pretend every other sequel never happened. Go back to square one. What would happen if Michael Myers and Laurie Strode met up again? Great idea, but you’d need a lot of blessings before getting that off the ground.
The stars aligned. Original director John Carpenter gave the project his blessing, even offering to create a new score with his son. Jamie Lee Curtis agreed to reprise her role from the first Halloween. OK, so you’re making a sequel to a horror movie 40 years after the original. Even after all that, no way you’re going to pull it off.
I am happy to report that, yes my friends, they pulled it off. The 2018 version of Halloween is the best sequel in the series. It took me a few days to be able to admit that, but it surpasses Halloween 2 and Halloween H20 as the best sequel to Halloween.
There’s a saying in broadcasting and I’m sure in a lot of other work places. KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. That theory flourishes here. Don’t complicate this movie. The plot is as simple as the original. Michael Myers has escaped and is hunting down Laurie Strode, killing a bunch of people on the way. The time line is simple. None of the other Halloween movies ever happened. Everyone involved with this movie took such great care in making it that you can tell this isn’t a cash grab, like so many other horror sequels.
On the surface, Halloween is a slasher movie. Big man with a mask kills and terrorizes a town. But if you dig a little deeper, you can see this is a movie about what happens after trauma. Jamie Lee Curtis plays a woman who went through hell 40 years ago. And Michael still haunts her to this day. Eventually, refusing to live in fear. She needs to end this. She will either kill Michael once and for all, or die trying. Either outcome ends the nightmare of the last four decades.
Jamie Lee Curtis is a total bad ass in this movie. She is a marksman, her house has every security feature known to man. She will never be the victim again. We see her trying to mend a relationship with her daughter and granddaughter. We see her living in the woods off the grid. It’s a very logical progression 40 years after the events of the original Halloween. It makes sense. She has PTSD, she replays that night over and over again, she’s in therapy. This isn’t a movie built on gore and murder, it’s a movie built on coping through the unthinkable.
Bringing in directors and writers of Pineapple Express adds a nice element of comic relief to the film. When someone isn’t dying there’s enough humor to keep the movie entertaining. Something no other Halloween sequel has incorporated.
There are big homages to the original Halloween, and tiny ones that only die hard nerds like me will pick up on. If you love the original you’ll notice them. If you’ve never seen a Halloween movie in your life, I don’t think you’d be lost by any means because you’ve seen so many copycats that you get what’s happening on screen. This movie is made with love for the original. It shows. It isn’t lost on me. It cares about its characters. You can see it wants to protect the series’ legacy.
I’ve loved in the last month or so seeing so many articles and interviews and fans lining up to digest this new Halloween. It’s made me so happy with the original being my favorite movie ever. There was such a long time where the most popular guys were always Freddy or Jason, and now Michael Myers is King. I love that the interest in this series has never been higher! It’s an important movie for so many reasons. And it’s been brought back to life.
The thing I loved most about Halloween 40 years ago was that it was lead by a strong woman. The new version shows three women, all of different generations, who will not play the victim. They are not damsels in distress. They can handle their business. The movie builds to a final showdown that ends on a very satisfying note. Based on the opening box office, I think in the next 18 months you’ll see more Michael Myers at the multiplex. I, for one, will watch this saga play out until the end of time.
On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It" (Always tricky w/ horror movies and sequels, you know if you’re in or out at this point. All I’ll say is that it’s worth it.) I vote See It.
If you liked Halloween (1978), any of its sequels, or any John Carpenter movie you might enjoy Halloween (2018)
4 out of 5 stars. Making it the best Halloween sequel ever.