halloween

[Movie Review] Halloween (2018) ★★★★☆

Halloween is an ode to old events and a fresh take of a new age of slasher mayhem.


Halloween is a horror slasher and a direct sequel to Halloween (1978). The sequel from 1981 is put aside and so are all the other sequels, with or without Laurie Strode, like they never happened. You don’t have to have watched those sequels to watch this sequel, except for the original film. Because this franchise isn’t all that consistent. 

Halloween II (1981) was a direct sequel and took place that same night when Laurie was brought to the hospital and Michael followed her there. It was revealed that Laurie was Michael’s baby-sister who was adopted. Dr Loomis and Michael both died in a fire at the end. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) is a completely different beast and doesn’t have anything to do with Laurie or Michael. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) brought back Michael but not Laurie, resurrecting both Michael and Dr Loomis. And Michael has it out for Jamie, Laurie’s daughter after Laurie died in a car crash. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) brings back Laurie to life and we also see the return of Dr Loomis. In Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Tommy returns, the boy whom Laurie babysat, and Jamie and Dr Loomis, while Jamie has a baby of her own. In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) Laurie returns with a son who is in high school of which she is the principal and she’s again Michael’s sister, and it is said she faked her own death years ago. And now she kills Michael for real. Or not, because in Halloween: Resurrection (2002) Michael lives and kills Laurie this time. 

So forget all these inconsistencies in seven sequels. And prepare for the ultimate sequel to Halloween (1978)


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Plot

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode has been attacked in Haddonfield. Michael Myers has been locked up and hasn’t said a word since. While Laurie has been preparing for his return. She has trained her daughter Karen to defend herself like a soldier, but forgot to be a mother to her and Karen was put in foster care when she turned twelve. They still have a bad relationship that is also affecting Allyson, Karen’s daughter, who wants to connect with Laurie. 

When Michael is transported from Warren Country Smith’s Grove Sanitarium to a more secured institution, he manages to overpower his guards, making the bus crash and he escapes to return to Haddonfield. 

But this time Laurie is ready for him and she’s determined to protect her family and finish Michael once and for all. 


Why you should watch it

Halloween has a structure that tells this new story in different parts, where the first part serves as a background story about the first film and is at the same time an ode to Halloween (1978). It starts with two annoying and shameless reporters, true-crime podcasters Aaron Korey and Dan Haines who tell the story so far. We learn in flashbacks what Michael did to Judith and this takes a while. They also want to find out why he was targeting Laurie as his next victim in 1978, and want to know from Laurie how it feels to get attacked by a serial killer. 

Then Dr Sartain (Dr Loomis’ successor) wants to understand Michael and wants to know how it feels to kill. His part is quite dubious and nothing like Dr Loomis who thought Michael was pure evil that had to be destroyed. 

Up next is the difficult relationship between Laurie and Karen and Allyson. Three women who still struggle with that murder attempt 40 years ago, Laurie passing on her trauma to the next generations. 

When Michael escapes, the thriller part and the slasher part are about to start. It’s violent, brutal and with more gore which get more focus than the suspenseful atmosphere of a creepy stalker. The odes and nods to the original film shine through especially when he gets his William Shatner Halloween mask back and his blue overalls which he steals from an auto mechanic whom he has just killed. The iconic suspenseful music by John Carpenter is more updated but still recognizable. Haddonfield looks like nothing has changed and the white sheets are hanging on the washing line. We see Judith’s gravestone and even some shots where Michael spies on someone feel very familiar. 

It is also then that Allyson and her friends encounter Michael, after they have been to a Halloween party that didn’t end well, with a lot of teenage problems. It’s also a fun nod to involve Allyson who is at an age, Laurie was when Michael first showed up. This whole film connects in a great way with Halloween (1978), but it takes maybe a bit too long before the new part shows a wonderful new take on the events. 

Two third of the film is an ode and a reminder of the story of what happened 40 years ago, with familiar shots and atmospheres while it is also more updated, fresh and more violent. It’s only the last part of the film when the actual new events are about to start. This is also the best part of the film, full of suspense and the cat-and-mouse game between Laurie and Michael is about to begin, but with a whole new fresh approach. Suddenly three women who have always lived in fear are faced with that worst fear, but now prepared, they can unleash all that anger, anxiety and turn it into a cunning game of catch the killer. It’s a brilliant part that has the feel of an old slasher, but with the tables turned, a completely new fresh take, that offers a brand new experience in the Halloween franchise, with wonderful thrilling suspense. 


My favorite part

It won’t be a surprise that I enjoyed the last part the most. It was a new take in the slasher genre with a feminist feel in this franchise that turned women not into helpless victims who got out alive with a lot of luck, but with full intention of making it out alive. It also reminded me a bit of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) where Nancy lured Freddy into her own environment and taking the higher ground and catching him with her boobytraps. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Thrill factor: ★★★★☆

Scare fator: ★★★★☆

Gore factor: ★★★★☆

Gruesome factor: ★★★★☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


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Cast and crew

Halloween is directed and written by David Gordon Green and cowritten by Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Judy Greer (Karen), Andi Matichak (Allyson), Will Patton (Officer Hawkins), Virginia Gardner (Vicky), Haluk Bilginer (Dr Sartain), Toby Huss (Ray), Jefferson Hall (Aaron Korey) and Rhian Rees (Dana Haines).

Duration: 196 minutes. Music: John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies. Cinematography: Michael Simmonds. Edited by: Tim Alverson. Produced by: Malek Akkad, Jason Blum, Bill Block. Production company: Miramax, Blumhouse Productions, Trancas International Films, Rough House Pictures, Universal Pictures. Distributed by: Universal Pictures.


Check the trailer below


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