Halloween: Teaching An Old Slasher Some New Tricks
This movie was a thrill ride. As a huge fan of John Carpenter’s original film, I went in with pretty high expectations and for the most part, they were met. The 2018 sequel, directed by David Gordon Green, does a really good job or reminding fans of the best scenes of the 1978 original while also bringing some new and fun moments. We get to see an aged Micheal Myers in one of his most brutal and well crafted films of the franchise. What I think I liked the most about the film, was how it was able to do something other classic horror film sequels haven’t, respect the audience.
As I said, I am a huge fan of the original 1978 film. In fact I went to a special screening of the first Halloween the night before the premiere of the new movie. Watching them back to back is something I very much recommend. What Micheal Myers has always had over other horror villains is his bold and confusing style. You would never see Freddy Kruger just sitting there in broad daylight driving right next to the cops that are looking him. Jason Voorhees may not talk but his kills never had a childish confusion to them. Micheal Myers is a 6-year-old mind in an adult man’s body. A very large and very strong body at that. When he latches on to Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, the audience has some interest and investment in the plot other than “he kills because it’s a horror movie”. The new 2018 sequel to the film captures that in ways the other sequels/remakes never could. Maybe that is why the studio retconned them all.
One thing that confused me (and to be honest really interested me) was how this movie was a remake of a sequel. It was said before the movie came out that Micheal Myers went back into the psychiatric hospital directly after the end of the first film and has been there for 40 years. Micheal hasn’t killed anyone since the first movie as well as Laurie not being able to get past her experiences from that night. Halloween 2, 4, 5, 6, and H20 never happened (Halloween 3, you really should watch it, doesn’t have Micheal Myers so I’m not worried about it). I also want to point out that Rob Zombie’s Halloween remakes saga was scrapped and disregarded. I personally have never seen them but I have heard they’re apparently pretty good. So why would the studio have done this? Any good horror movie ends up having 7-10 sequels. That is just the Hollywood rules. What I respect is the fact that this is the first franchise to say “no!” and I hope more follow suit. Fans shouldn’t have to watch 5 bad movies in a row to follow the cannon for a new film. And really the film benefits from being solely a sequel instead of the 8th iteration.
I really liked this movie as a sequel. It starts right off the bat with the same font and music of the intro from the 1978 film. The story is crafted in a way that makes you believe the characters are 40 years older. There is a moment where a kid even says “Are you sure it even happened… is it even a big deal?” I don’t remember or care about the serial killers from 40 years ago either. But Jamie Lee Curtis definitely didn’t forget. Her character really is the main focus of the film. We see what happens to a person when they go through a traumatic experience and are incapable of moving on. She couldn’t survive marriage, she can’t sustain a healthy relationship with her family, and worst of all she cannot bring herself to think of anything other than her attacker. In real life that’s terrible, but in this film it turned her into a badass. I actually would like to see more characters born from trauma turn into gun wielding avengers looking for a chance to kill their attackers. However as much as I liked her complex development, what I appreciated more was how Micheal stayed exactly the same.
The original slasher, the one who made all the rules that Hollywood still follows today, is fucking back and better than ever. I honestly think this movie has some of the greatest scenes I have ever witnessed in the theater. He is ruthless and brutal. The deaths in this movie are shocking, satisfying, and a little heartbreaking. Literally the first person Micheal Myers kills starts this movie off with such a solid tone. He is not a cool bad guy that you almost side with because he is humanized or justifiable. Micheal is a force of evil and has no problem displaying his disregard for human life. I don’t really know how strong a human can be but I’ve never seen a man rip another man’s jaw out of his face before.
I do have some gripes though. As much as I appreciated some of the subtle nods or references to the original film, there is such a thing as too much. Not all of them were subtle and not all of them were just references. There were a few scenes that are almost in your face shot-for-shot remakes. I honestly think the best scenes were the new ones. I loved what John Carpenter did 40 years ago with his film, but I also like seeing new creative directions. There is actually one giant shot in the middle of the film that made me thing David Gordon Green has what it takes to be a great director in the business. There are new characters introduced that I liked way more than the returning ones. I specifically want to give a shout out to Jibrail Nantambu, who played a hilarious boy named Julian, for making the audience laugh right before we go back to freaking the fuck out. The new and unique aspects of the film make me really curious to what the director can do when lifted off the restrictions of an established franchise and characters.
Halloween (2018) is the type of horror that does what I like perfectly. I think the sub-genre of slasher films is really easy to mess up. This movie is far more interesting than just a guy killing people while at the same making those murders creative and well crafted. Unlike several other films in the franchise, this movie has survived The Snappening. Let’s be honest though, with John Carpenter doing the soundtrack, it was very unlikely this movie wasn’t going to be amazing. That man is a master of the dark vibes.
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith