Halloween (2018)

One from the to watch pile…

Halloween (2018)

Film: Imagine if you could just reset everything. A wonderful world where any mistakes you made could be reset… a land where futures could be wound back and started afresh.

Well cinema IS that place and seeing as we live in a world where we don’t accept anything new and Nostalgia reigns supreme, a wonderful thing that can be done is sequels to horror classics can be abandoned, and relaunched. It’s certainly a variation on the straight up remake.

Interestingly its not the first time Halloween has tried this either. 20 years ago, the sequel nicknamed ‘H2O’ didn’t go the full-reboot, but instead gave a light refresh of the history where they redacted the apparent death of main character, and ultimate final girl, Laurie Strode.

This time, we are asked to forget everything that has happened since the original John Carpenter 1978 Halloween: no brother, no cult, no niece and no Rob Zombie remake. This film is H4O, or Halloween 2: 2… maybe its Halloween 2: Electric Boogaloo? Anyway, what this sequel, named Halloween (just like it’s Mum) was co-written By Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley with David Gordan Green, who was also the director.

Halloween takes place 40 years after the first Halloween, and we see that Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) is now a much older man who has spent almost his entire life interred in an institution, his psychopathy a subject for many mental health experts and journalists.

Another person trapped for all that time is Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the survivor of the killer’s rampage in Haddonfield Illinois, who has become a recluse who has turned her home into a fortress, and her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer) into a resentful daughter who has be brought up like a bizarre, single purpose doomsday-prepper.

Karen did manage to escape her mother’s seemingly insane and obsessive and start a regular life and his happily married with a daughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak): a family that she keeps at arm’s length from her mother.

Unfortunately for the family, estranged or otherwise, Michael manages to escape and murders his way back to Haddonfield… will Laurie and her family survive?

The first question one asks oneself is: was it necessary? Lord, No! It was, however, an interesting look at many issues, like victim shaming, the horrible things we can potentially do to our kids with our actions whilst bringing them up and just what a terrible disorder PTSD can be for the sufferers and their families. What I also found refreshing was that those needing to commit an act of violence in self-defense did so with hesitation and remorse. Letting oneself over to a violent act can be a freedom that doesn’t feel good in the slightest.

Now the performances were fine, and the story runs along at quite the clip and the soundtrack by John and Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davis is both its own thing and an amazing tribute to the original, and there is enough violence for the slasher fan to remain interested, but I had problems with both Michael’s motivations and kills.

First, I just didn’t get the obsession with getting to Haddonfield. I’m not sure if I missed it but he seemed intent on returning to the town and taking out Laurie. Was it just finishing a job, or is his obsession with the town itself and not so much with Laurie. There is one point in the film where through some dialogue they make sure you KNOW that he is DEFINITELY NOT Laurie’s brother, so his motivation was not clear for me.

The other thing I found with his methods was that some people were just killed outright, and others he skulked around and hid. If he is this dead eyed machine that every mental health professional labelled as a human shark, why the change in method so often? I just didn’t like the inconsistency.

If I am to add one other criticism its that the teenagers in this film are very cut and paste: the cheating boyfriend, the nerdy friend, the horny girl… come on, it IS 40 years later: cant you come up with stereotypes deeper than this?

I think my favorite thing about this movie was the nods to the other films. The obvious one of those was Curtis’ borderline nutjob Laurie Strode, who developed a lot of the intensity that Donald Pleasance’s Loomis had in the first film. There was a couple of other smiles at the now-deleted films… even the not-related Halloween III: The Season of the Witch as some of the kids were wearing Silver Shamrock masks.

This is an interesting experiment and a nice way to ‘soft relaunch’ the series, and if the intention is to continue it, I’ll be along for the ride as this kept me interested JUST enough.

Mind you, Halloween 2 is still the best sequel.

Score: ***1/2

Format: The reviewed copy of the film was the Australian bluray which is presented in a perfect 2.35:1 image with a DTS-X audio track.

Score: *****

Extras: The first extras on the disc are a bunch of deleted scenes that the film does far better off without!

There’s a few other extras on this disc which would have been really interesting if they had been a little longer. Actually, the low score for the extras doesn’t represent the quality of the extras, but instead the BREVITY of them.

Back In Haddonfield: Making Halloween is a VERY brief look at the making of the film.

The Original Scream Queen which looks at Jamie Lee Curtis.

The Sound of Fear which is a quick look at the Carpenters and Daniels processes for creating a new Halloween soundtrack.

Journey of the Mask has a short insight into the character of Michael Myers and the origin of the iconic mask.

The Legacy of Halloween is a round table discussion with Curtis, Carpenter, Green and Jason Blum, from Blumhouse Productions.

Score: ***

WISIA: It’s a well made film that probably doesn’t NEED to exist but is an interesting watch. If I am in the mood for a Halloween film, I’m still breaking out the original, number 2 or Rob Zombie’s remake before this gets a watch again.

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