2018 **** 106 mins.
It's no secret that the Halloween series has reinvented itself numerous times over the last 40 years. The original film was made to simply "scare the hell out of its viewer." Michael Myers was simply an inexplicable, evil force let loose upon the world. From one sequel to another, his story became more and more complicated, with storylines dropping and/or being ignored with each sequel. After originally killing off Michael Myers in Halloween II, John Carpenter and Debra Hill tried to take the series in a different direction with Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which baffled viewers for many, many years, until it found a cult fan following all its own. After the disappointing reception of Halloween III John Carpenter left the series, leaving it in the hands of Moustapha Akkad, who had once been quoted as saying something along the lines of, "As long as the series is still making money, I'll keep making them." Well, I'm happy to say that with this 2018 film, John Carpenter is back on board, both as producer and as a part of the music department, and Michael Myers has been stripped of all his false motivations and ridiculously complicated storylines, leaving us with the inexplicable, evil force we originally fell in love with. All other Halloween sequels have been negated here, with this one saying Michael was captured 40 years ago, and has been in captivity ever since.
When I heard that Danny McBride and David Gordon Green were going to be the two key creative brains behind this film, I was incredibly nervous. I've never been a fan of either one of them, with Your Highness being one of the worst films in cinema history. They have both redeemed themselves here, giving us a sequel that is both intelligent and terrifying. It's not just a re-tread of the same old, same old. It's a gift to the fans, who have been let down repeatedly throughout the years, from one sequel to the next. It pays enough homage to the original to make our inner nerds happy, but it's creative enough so that it doesn't end up a Force Awakens-style copycat movie. This film takes all the slasher film cliches made law by the original film, and spins them on their heads. Laurie Strode lives in a fortress of a house, and she's spent 40 years praying and preparing for another showdown with Michael Myers. Meanwhile, her daughter and granddaughter don't really know what to make of Laurie. Michael is being transferred from Smith's Grove to another facility, and of course, he breaks free and goes on a killing spree. It's so much better, though, than all the other films in the series where this has happened. With 40 years of built up anticipation, you can tell that Michael is...having fun! And, although there's plenty of gore to make the gore-hounds happy, the film doesn't dwell upon it, and it doesn't insult your intelligence. As Michael whisks from one murder weapon to another, sometimes we get to see murders happen, and other times, they're left to our diabolical minds to imagine! And, through a couple of interesting twists and turns, we end up with a bad-ass-chicks-kicking-ass kind of movie!
Halloween fans should be very pleased with this film. If you pay close attention, you might just even spot some trick-or-treaters wearing Silver Shamrock masks! That's definitely my biggest highlight of the film, as I'm a die hard Halloween III fan. My biggest qualm with the film, though, is that they couldn't have thought of a better title than just...Halloween. It's not a remake, it is a direct sequel to the original. If that's the worst thing I have to say about the film, though, then I'd say it did pretty well for itself. It's definitely the best film in the Halloween series, aside from the original film, of course.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Digital)
Rated R for horror violence and bloody images, language, brief drug use and nudity.
David Gordon Green + Danny McBride + Jeff Fradley
Based on Characters Created by
John Carpenter and Debra Hill
David Gordon Green