Directed by David Gordon Green.
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton, Rhian Rees, and Jefferson Hall.
Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Retconning the entire Halloween franchise was a ballsy move, but the 2018 version of Halloween – which acts as a direct sequel to the 1978 original – succeeds because of it. It’s been 40 years since Michael Myers attacked Laurie Strode (Curtis) and he’s back again. After escaping during a transfer to a new mental hospital, Michael comes back to Haddonfield and significantly ups the body count.
The original Halloween set the tone for every slasher film that came after it. Other than the original Scream (1996) which reinvigorated the genre for a moment, the slasher genre has become predictable and a yawn fest. Now with this new version of Halloween we get a return to form with some inventive kills, a superhuman killer, a good dose of humour and a solid performance from Jamie Lee Curtis. This version of Laurie Strode has several failed marriages behind her, a grown up daughter who hates her (Greer) and a granddaughter (Matichak) that she wants to connect with. She spends her days reinforcing her home and practicing her aim on mannequins. Her aim is to be ready when Michael inevitably escapes and she is definitely prepared this time. Whilst PTSD isn’t directly discussed, it is made clear that Laurie has a lot of issues and this could have been built on more.
Once again Judy Greer gets stuck with a thankless role as Strode’s daughter Karen. Whilst she does come into her own during the finale, she’s a bland character for most of the film. Greer has proven herself as a capable actress time and time again so it’s frustrating to see her in such a limited part. Similarly Matichak as granddaughter Allyson gets little to do other than scream and make bad decisions that play on the clichés of slasher films.
Gordon Green does some initial set up to Michael’s escape but most of the film is dedicated to the Halloween night carnage. Michael is once again portrayed as superhuman, seemingly not fazed by gunshot wounds or getting his with a car. He is as intimidating as he’s always been. The original Halloween is scary, this sequel does have some good jump scares but it doesn’t feel tense. At one point Laurie Strode says that “there is no new insight, nothing to learn” and that sums up the film quite well. There’s no new ground being broken, it is a formulaic slasher film and that’s what makes it so much fun. The kills are gory, there’s some funny bits which work quite well and we get to see one of the behemoths of horror in a decent film for the first time in ages. A subplot involving Michael’s psychiatrist (Bilginer) threatens to derail the plot and turn it into Scream 3 level of stupid, but luckily it’s wrapped up pretty quickly.
The standout with Halloween 2018 is the score. John Carpenter returns alongside Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies to deliver a stunning score. He has built on the original Halloween theme and has created a pulsating score that propels the film to new heights. It’s atmospheric, retro and elevates the film to new heights.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★