Main cast: Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Judy Greer (Karen Nelson), Andi Matichak (Allyson Nelson), Will Patton (Frank Hawkins), Virginia Gardner (Vicky), Nick Castle (Michael Myers), Haluk Bilginer (Dr Ranbir Sartain), Rhian Rees (Dana Haines), Jefferson Hall (Aaron Korey), Toby Huss (Ray Nelson), Dylan Arnold (Cameron Elam), Miles Robbins (Dave), Drew Scheid (Oscar), and Jibrail Nantambu (Julian Morrisey)
Director: David Gordon Green
Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the many Hollywood people to whom social media hasn’t been kind to their image – she is one of the dozens of nagging and rude people constantly blaming everyone else for you-know-who becoming the President of the United States. There is nothing as lovely as wealthy out-of-touch people living in gated communities screaming at the lower and middle class people that they are doing things wrong because they are too stupid to listen to the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis on how the world should be run. However, her comparing this yet another reboot of Halloween to the whole #metoo thing is not entirely off the mark. If Laurie Strode had been harassed and victimized in the original Halloween, here she is going to fight back and take her tormentor down.
This one ignores the second, third, and worse sequels of the franchise – it takes place forty years after the 1978 original, and everything that happened in those sequels are now non-canon. This is a shame, as the second sequel is actually better than the first in my opinion, while the third installment is still severely underrated to this day. The rest… well, let’s just say they deserve to be wiped out from everyone’s memory.
In this one, Michael Myers has spent all this while in a high-security loonybin. Dr Sam Loomis had passed on in the meantime, and now Michael is under the care of Dr Ranbir Sartain, who behaves more like the creepy woman that writes love letters to serial killers than a genuine psychiatrist. As Halloween approaches, Michael will be moved to another loonybin, but along the way, the transport bus mysteriously overturns. Michael goes missing and Ranbir is the only survivor of the lot. The crazy doctor soon falls under the custody of Deputy Sheriff Frank Hawkins, a new character whom the movie insists was the officer that was first on the scene the day they arrested Michael all those decades ago.
Meanwhile, Laurie Strode had turned into Sarah Connor, building a secret underground bunker in her big cabin the woods filled with guns that she knows how to use, as well as packing the place with all kinds of high-security measures. As long as Michael is still alive, she knows that he may come back to finish things off between them for good, and she’s not going to be a sitting duck when that happens. Unfortunately, her paranoia resulted in two broken marriages and her daughter Karen being taken away by social services when the girl was twelve. Those people didn’t think it was healthy for a young girl to be taught how to shoot to kill, kung-fu people to death, and sleep in a bunker – go figure. Today, Karen will love to pretend that Laurie doesn’t exist, but her daughter Allyson wishes to know more about her grandmother and keeps in touch with Laurie behind Karen’s back.
Also, we have two idiot “investigative journalists” Aaron and Dana, who wish to revisit the 1978 massacre for their podcast and think it’s a great idea to wave Michael’s mask in his face while yelling at his face. These two function as transparent exposition device to fill in the details of the 1978 movie for those who hadn’t watched that one, but they are so obnoxious and stupid that it’s actually a mercy killing when Michael decides to drop by and get his mask back.
So yes, so we have Michael loose in Halloween, and Laurie, Frank, and Rambir all want to track him down for their own reasons, while he happily butchers everyone in his path. Happy Halloween 2018!
Now, folks who are hoping for a movie that captures the camp, nudity, and gore of the slasher movies in the 1970s and 1980s have best tamper their expectations, as this Halloween is through and through a modern day Blumhouse movie. The death scenes are pretty discreet, with most of the gory ones taking place off-screen, and that one scene where a character has that fellow’s skull crushed by Michael is marred by more-silly-than-scary CGI. Also, this is more action-thriller than horror, as Michael may be slashing a bunch of pointless characters nobody will care about, but he is actually being tracked down by the true predator in this movie: Laurie. Therefore, there isn’t much suspense or chill to be had here, as folks watching this one are expected to instead root for the final showdown. Everything else in between is just filler.
Alas, the showdown is an overlong, pointless, and cheap marathon of jump scares. Laurie’s house didn’t seem that big at first, but in the final showdown, the whole place seems to have expanded to be as big as a castle, as Michael somehow manages to not only sneak in dead bodies into the place without Laurie seeing or hearing him, he also has time to stash them in places that will give jump scares after jump scares to the audience. After a while, the whole thing feels like a lazy gimmick that doesn’t know when to end, and it is actually a relief when these two finally get it over with and everyone can go home. Also a movie of its time, Halloween is painfully in-your-face with the sound: each jump scare is accompanied by a crash that is more loud and obnoxious than heart-stopping, and given how predictable the timing and positioning of each jump scare is, I find myself soon resigned to knowing in my advance that my ear drums will be assaulted yet again and… yeah, that’s another jump scare that I can see coming from a mile away and my ear drums are so thrilled. Thanks, Blumhouse!
On the bright side, Jamie Lee Curtis does a good job as Sarah Connor, although to be fair, she’s playing the only character here that has any semblance of personality or depth. Even then, her plan to get even with Michael makes no sense, as it involves her using Karen and Allyson as bait and potential collateral damage – women that she supposedly cares so much about. Also, how does she know that Michael will be aware of the existence of Karen and Allyson, much less where they live? How does Michael know where Laurie live, come to think of it? Do they feed him a live stream of the Strodes’ daily lives or something in the loonybin?
Halloween is a movie that builds up a showdown that doesn’t pay off in the end. Along the way, it pads things up with dumb, stupid people with zero personality being killed off in anticlimactic ways. What a terrible shame – Laurie being the boss now is a fantastic concept and it would have made a great revenge exploitation film but the script is just too inept for words. The best thing I can say about it is that Jamie Lee Curtis holds the movie together pretty well, as does Will Patton to a smaller extent, but that just means it is a barely passable movie that depends more on nostalgia than anything on its own merit to get people to watch it.