Movie Review: Halloween(2018)

Simple Review: Better than a full-size candy bar in your Halloween bag!

If you are a fan of 70’s and 80’s horror films there are three names that are considered horror royalty: Michael, Jason, and Freddy. Of the three, Michael Myers holds a special place in our hearts as the first of the unstoppable serial killers and, in this humble bloggers opinion, the scariest. There is just something about that white, emotionless Captain Kirk mask that sends a shiver down my spine. Unlike Freddy and Jason, Michael Myers never became comic relief in the Halloween series. Yes, the original is head and shoulders above the inferior sequels and reimaginings, but they all treated Michael Myers as a brutal killing machine that you rarely routed for. ( There were some characters, however, that NEEDED Michaels special attention) Director David Gordon Green brings us the return of original masked killer in his movie Halloween(2018), trying to resurrect this franchise. Is it a trick or a treat? Read on to find out, but hurry he is right behind you! (made you look)

Do I really need to go over the plot of Halloween(2018)? (Can’t forget the 2018) It is pretty damn basic: Michael Myers escapes the institution(again), heads to good ole Haddonfield and crosses paths with Laurie Strode(again). Horror mayhem ensues. That makes this movie such a fun movie to watch, the filmmakers aren’t trying to explain Michael Myers’ need to kill and they are not trying to revolutionize the genre. Keep it simple stupid! Green, and co-writer Danny McBride(yes you read that correctly), have a grasp of what made the original fun and exciting and they have delivered a satisfying return to the slasher genre. Grab a sharp knife and let’s carve up this movie, put a candle in it and watch it slowly rot away!

There is a ton to like about this movie and no better place to start than the cast. What could I possibly say about how great it was seeing Jamie Lee Curtis back in a Halloween movie? She owns the character of Laurie Strode and does not disappoint in Halloweeen(2018). She has gone full Sarah Conner-mode, training herself and her daughter how to fight back with extreme prejudice. Jamie Lee does add more than just bad-assness to Laurie, showing the pain, trauma, and mistakes that she has had to deal with since that Halloween night in 1978. This is what one would expect the survivor of such a brutal attack to become, and Jamie Lee is pitch perfect in the film. Judy Greer plays Laurie’s estranged daughter Karen, and she has one of the coolest moments in the movie that I will not give away. Andi Matichak holds her own as Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson. I wish she had a little more to do in the movie, but she excels when she is trying to get her Mother and Grandmother to reconcile. Will Patton is his usual reliable self as Officer Hawkins, delivering solid work as always, though I didn’t like what happened to his character. Overall, the film is well acted and conveys the right terror when facing Michael Myers.

As for Michael Myers, he is absolutely brutal in this film. When he makes his first on-screen kill, you know this version of Michael Myers is not messing around and ANYONE is fair game. Green does a great job mixing moments where you see Myers destroying his victim and others where you don’t actually see the kill just the aftermath, allowing your imagination to fill in the details. The tracking shot that follows Michael from house to house in Haddonfield is such a great call back to the original, as well as excellent filmmaking by letting the visuals tell the story. The tension in that scene is at Defcon 1! Speaking of tense scenes, the motion activated light scene had me on the edge of my seat, my only complaint was I wish they would have stretched that scene out just a little bit longer. It is a killer scene! (pun intended)

While this is a straight on slasher flick, Green and McBride have added some nice moments that bring this to a higher level than most in the genre. I loved the reversal of characters in scenes that were callbacks to the original. There were scenes when Laurie is in the place of Michael and vice versa from the way they were shot in the original. Again, I don’t want to give anything away, but if you love the original you will smile when you see what I am telling you. I also loved the way this film pokes fun at our current way of looking at things. One character doesn’t get the big deal about Myers, because he only killed a few people. In this day of mass shootings and violence in the news, you can see where kids today would be desensitized to Michael’s brutality. Another point that is touched upon is how society looks at Myers as a human that needs help, and Laurie as the crazy one for how she has dealt with the aftermath of her first encounter with Myers. It was a fun way to remind us that sometimes evil is just that, evil.

As much as I enjoyed Halloween(2018) ( see I haven’t forgotten that 2018 yet!) it isn’t without its flaws. One character I did not like was Dr.Sartain, as Laurie puts it, ” the new Loomis.” I didn’t like his motivations and his actions. I could see the writers trying to figure out how to get Michael from one place to another and they came up with Dr. Sartain. It just felt out of place and not needed. For as much as Laurie has trained, she misses Michael a lot when she shots at him, which wouldn’t be as apparent if the filmmakers didn’t show Laurie blowing the heads of mannequins in her backyard early on in the film. She has built a safe room in her house that for some reason she keeps leaving. The film kind of explains why, but it is a big gamble to leave that room if what they want to happen doesn’t. Other complaints fall into Hollywood-isms, especially in horror movies. For a guy pushing 70, Michael is damn near indestructible. I am in my 40’s and going to the gym wipes me out, which is why I only go on January 1st. Michael is very creative with the presentation of some of his kills which, while gory fun, does make wonder when he had the time to do all that work and still sneak into the house. There is the horror movie convenience of the killer and the hero crossing paths when logically there is no way either could know where the other is. Ok, I will stop because that is just me nitpicking when those moments are half the fun of slasher movies.

I know I have rambled on for longer than normal, but I really enjoyed this trip back to Haddonfield with our buddy Michael. David Gordon Green hits all the right notes with this Halloween sequel and delivers one of the best horror movies this year. Go see this one on the big screen and enjoy the suspense, the gore, that damn piano, and an overall fun and rewarding slasher flick! Agree with me? Disagree? Please comment below. Go ahead and like and follow my blog or I might escape the mental hospital and find you!

As always, thanks for your time!

The Movie Psycho

 

 

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