Halloween (2018). Film review of the remade first sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 horror

image halloween 2018 jamie lee curtis
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Film review, by Claire Durrant, of Halloween (2018), starring Jamie Lee Curtis who returns as the character stalked by a sociopathic killer 40 years ago. 

Horror

star rating 3 out of 5 worth watching

 

 

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Synopsis

40 years ago Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) survived an attack from the evil Michael Myers. Since that day, Myers has spent the years locked up in an institution, and Laurie became obsessed with him escaping. Building a panic room and a house filled with traps, as well as weapon training every day caused Laurie to be estranged from her family. When Myers does manage to escape, Laurie is prepared for the showdown.

Review, by @claire_d_airimage film poster halloween 2018 jamie lee curtis

Sit down and get comfortable boys and girls as we recap the Halloween franchise.

John Carpenter’s original masterpiece (1978) arguably enforced the 80s and 90s teen slasher craze which ended when Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) led the way for more cool, modern, and self aware horror.

Halloween II (1981) was unenthusiastically written by Carpenter who wanted to end the Michael Myers storyline. This made for a rushed and just-about-serviceable sequel.

Halloween: Season on the Witch (1982) is great and no one will tell me otherwise, but is a standalone film.

Halloween 4-6 (1989-1995) is where shit gets crazy. We are now introduced to Jamie, Michael’s niece, and a grown up Tommy (the boy Laurie babysat in the original.) Cults, curses, a mysterious Man in Black, and magic stones ensue. The only enjoyable aspect in these films is Donald Pleasance getting increasingly more insane in his portrayal of Psychiatrist Sam Loomis.

Halloween H20 (1998) – which should be noted as the first film in the franchise released after Scream, brought back Jamie Lee Curtis and added more humour, wit and meta references to its feature. The film also ignored Halloween 3-6 and was a 20 years in the making follow up to the original sequel.

Finally Halloween: Resurrection (2002) hyped up the pop culture references, and was dependent on with the early 2000s infatuation for cyberspace and webcams. Memorable moments saw Myers actually kill Laurie, and Buster Rhymes karate kicking Michael out of a window complete with comical noises.

 

To say the Halloween franchise has been a troublesome one is putting it lightly, and I’m not even mentioning the Rob Zombie reboots. So of course I was surprised when they announced the newest Halloween instalment. The trailer made it clear that this film was going to ignore all the sequels, and be the film that actually resurrects the franchise. (Ironically, Halloween Resurrection was the film that caused the franchise to rot for sixteen years).

And just like all the other sequels, I found this film to be both a trick and a treat.

Firstly, the biggest treat this film offers is the sensational Jamie Lee Curtis. Her performance was outstanding and finally gives Laurie Strode the badass and ferocious personality she deserves.

Film professor Carol J. Clover who coined the term “final girl” states that there are two types of final girl. The one who defeats the villain to save herself – i.e Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), and the one who defends herself until she can be rescued – i.e Sally from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).

In the original Halloween, Laurie falls in to the latter final girl category. She doesn’t have the greatest common sense; dropping her knife after she’s stabbed Michael once. Gurl have you not seen a horror movie before?! So to see this infamous PTSD suffering final girl use survivalist skills, and an arsenal of weapons at 55 years old is undeniably enjoyable. This truly is a film made in the #metoo movement. Furthermore for her to act again with Nick Castle – who was the original The Shape is a nice touch.

image film halloween 2018 jamie lee curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis is outstanding and he film finally gives Laurie Strode the badass and ferocious personality she deserves. Image: Universal

The main problem this film has is shared by all the other sequels – their lack of charm. The original was filled with personality and atmosphere; from its autumnal surroundings to its spooky chills. John Carpenter didn’t rely on gore nor a high body count to thrill the audience. Sadly though, as slashers became more popular, the lowbrow audience wanted more blood, even more sex and more jumpscares. The Halloween franchise had to keep up with the audience’s demands.

Therefore I am disappointed that Halloween 2018 kept up with that mindset. Especially since we are living in a time where films like Hereditary (2018) and The Witch (2016) are proving that smartly written horror films are critically beloved. Instead what we get is a film filled with cannon fodder characters purely to keep the kills frequent.

Despite my moaning, this is still a well made film and the filmmakers clearly had passion for the original. I may not have loved it as much as everyone else, but I’ll still admit that Halloween finally has a worthy sequel – it just took 40 years. Now that the franchise has finally had some closure, I just hope we can now put Michael Myers to rest.

For more, see the official website.

Cast and credits.

Director: David Gordon Green. Blumhouse Productions, Miramax, Universal Pictures, et al.

Producers: Malek Akkad, Bill Block, Jason Blum.
Writers: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley.
Camera: Michael Simmonds.
Music: Cody Carpenter, John Carpenter, Daniel A. Davies.
Sets: Richard A. Wright.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton, Rhian Rees, Jefferson Hall, Toby Huss, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle.

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