David Gordon Green, the director and screenwriter of this new entry in the long-running Halloween film franchise wipes out all other films in the series from existence to deliver a thrilling conclusion to the story.
It has been forty years since Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has survived the ruthless attacks of crazed serial killer Michael Myers (Nick Castle, James Jude Courtney) on Halloween night in 1978, in Haddonfield, Illinois. Now, Myers is kept in a high-security prison, but is about to be transferred. After the bus that is transferring the killer crashes, Myers escapes and his first priority is to find Strode. But, what Myers does not know, is that she has been awaiting his arrival this time, hoping to finally kill him once and for all.
Growing up as a kid, the original 1978 Halloween film was one of my favorite films of all time. Every single year since about age seven or eight, I have made it a tradition to watch that picture. Everything about that original feature was done so well and has always been a classic. Carpenter did such a brilliant job with an incredibly low budget, making one of the most suspenseful and eerie horror films of that decade. Another element that I adore about that original film is how truly great Curtis is as Laurie Strode. She is simply an average teenage girl who eventually finds herself in the midst of horrible danger. Seeing her emotions and actions in that film is extremely jarring.
With this entry, Curtis, yet again, brings her all to this film as Strode. From the first time we see her in 2018’s Halloween, we can tell that she has been through horrible things in her life. This world feels so genuinely real and lived in, which is pretty terrifying for a horror film. Naturally, the Strode we get in this picture is remarkably different than the one we saw in the original film. At first, she did not believe at all in the bogeyman, but now believes that all of Haddonfield should, as she encountered him herself decades prior.
What is unfortunate, however, is that we do not see as much of Strode as one may believe. All of the marketing and promotional material towards Halloween essentially states that Curtis is the lead star of the film, with her being shown predominantly in all trailers, and her name being in bold font on the theatrical release poster. Sadly, she only gets about fifteen or so minutes of screen time in the film which was drastically disappointing. Luckily, every single one of the scenes that features her, is amazing.
Instead, the lead character of this sequel is actually Strode’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). I actually was not aware of this before going to see this new film. Gratefully though, Matichak does a terrific job at portraying this character as well. She is similar to Laurie in plenty of ways, which makes sense, since the two are related, but also have different qualities to them. Allyson was a character that I did feel genuine sympathy for throughout the entire running time. Tons of horrible things come her way, and I was rooting for her. Matichak does a great job at showing emotion and fear, as well.
Understandably, since this is the newest Halloween film, it does look the best, since newer technology exists. This picture was shot by Michael Simmonds, who does a magnificent job at creating a world that feels so grimy and lived in. All of the film’s scenes looked great, in particular, all of the night sequences.
Myers has never been better here in addition. Castle does reprise his role as the iconic horror slasher character from the 1978 classic for a couple of scenes which was great to see. The main actor who portrays the killer this time around, however, is Courtney, who also does terrific. He is in the film quite a lot thankfully, and all the scenes he is in, are amazing. It was so nostalgic to see Myers return in a great Halloween sequel.
Speaking of nostalgia, this new film does offer up quite a bit of that for fans of the original feature like myself. A plethora of these scenes are done well, and do not come across as lazy. Where some films may rely too heavily on nostalgia to entertain viewers, Halloween instead uses nostalgia effectively and quickly. It never once gets in the way of the overall story.
Additionally, this is by far the most brutal Halloween film yet. The original film did have some scenes that involved blood here and there, but if you thought that film was bloody, just wait until you see this one. There are quite a few sequences that are done so well and genuinely surprised me. Also, these scenes of intense violence are not just there for the sake of being violent. Dozens of horror films simply go for lots of blood and gore for the sole purpose of being a violent film, trying to obtain an R rating. Halloween, however, uses this in a clever way. The scenes truly do set up how dangerous of a killer Myers really is, and why our lead protagonists should be fearful of him.
Furthermore, the last thirty or so minutes of the film were astonishing, and delivered everything I could have possibly hoped for and much more. I wanted the entire finale to go on forever. It was incredibly suspenseful and was also unexpectedly emotional.
Unfortunately, a large majority of this new Halloween film does rely on jump scares. In fact, that is my only flaw with the 1978 film – there are just too many jump scares. I have always found jump scares to be a ridiculously cheap way of trying to scare your audience. To me, jump scares are not scary, but rather, startling. Seeing something suddenly emerge on the screen accompanied with a loud sound is not scary, but it is startling. There is quite a big difference there.
Halloween is a much welcomed sequel that has genuinely chilling moments, an amazing performance by Jamie Lee Curtis, and intriguing characters.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: Rated R for horror violence and bloody images, language, brief drug use and nudity
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 105 minutes