Film Review: <em>Halloween</em> (2018)
Oct 31 2018

Film Review: Halloween (2018)

By: David Vicari

I really feel bamboozled by the new Halloween movie. The idea is that all the sequels to John Carpenter's classic 1978 slasher film Halloween don't exist and that this new film is the one true sequel. Great! It also has a competent director at the helm: David Gordon Green. In the end, however, it's just another terrible slasher sequel. 

The new film is simply titled Halloween, which is lazy. At least give it a subtitle like Halloween: Reckoning or Halloween: The Shape Returns. However, the title is the least of the movie's problems.

So, it has been 40 years since the events of the first film, when escaped mental patient Michael Myers goes on a killing spree on Halloween night, targeting three babysitting teenage girls. The lone survivor, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), now lives alone in a tightly secured house out in the woods, even though Michael (played by James Jude Courtney and, the original Shape, Nick Castle) has been captured and incarcerated since that night in 1978. Laurie also has an arsenal of weapons that she hopes to use on Myers. Because of her fear of and obsession with Michael's return, Laurie has a broken relationship with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), but has a good bond with her teenage granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).

Of course, someone decides that they should transfer Myers to a different mental facility on the day before Halloween. And, of course, the bus crashes and old man Myers escapes and is ready to kill again. So that he can look exactly like he did in the original, Myers gets his William Shatner mask back—thanks to a couple of naive true-crime podcasters (Jefferson Hall, Rhian Rees), who only serve as a mere plot device—and then swipes coveralls from a poor gas station mechanic. What if he couldn't get these items? What if he could only find a Green Lantern mask, Bermuda shorts, and a t-shirt that says “Who Farted?”?

Film Review: <em>Halloween</em> (2018)

Halloween (2018) makes the same mistakes that the previous sequels and rip-offs did, which is to replace suspense with a higher body count and much more explicit gore. Story and pacing be damned, the movie seems to go out of its way to throw in more kills. Carpenter's original has a low body count and isn't overly gory. Yes, the '78 kills are brutal and effectively shocking because the film focuses on the three main would-be victims—Laurie and her two friends Annie and Lynda—whom we care about. Here, so many superfluous characters are introduced simply to be killed. And once again, Michael the Shape is superhuman and unstoppable, so there is no question that he will keep coming back. 

Then there is a plot/character revelation late in the movie that is an absolutely face-palming moment of absurdity. But, don't worry, it is quickly resolved minutes later. So, why even include it in the first place? There is also unfunny comic relief, characters who just disappear from the story, and some confusing shots, thanks to a combination of bad angles and crappy editing.

Curtis is good if one-note, and there is a faint pulse during the final showdown with Laurie and her boogeyman. However, there is no cathartic finish. Another bright spot is actress Virginia Gardner as a babysitter. Sure, she is very pretty, but she also has spunk and character. I hope she goes on to higher-profile roles.

Yeah, the new Halloween is dull, not in the least bit scary, and has an ugliness about it. Maybe there should never have been any sequel to Halloween. I think it's so much more effective to keep the mystique about the Shape with the original movie's ending, with him just disappearing into the chilly October night.


* ½ stars out of four

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