Based on all of the movies in the franchise that were released after 1978’s Halloween, trying to start over from that point had me optimistic about the future. I wasn’t expecting David Gordon Green’s version to compete with the first one from John Carpenter, but I was praying that it would be better than all the other ones that came before it. That clearly shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish for anyone, so getting over that admittedly low bar is something that should be seen as likely beforehand. And while it does manage to achieve that, I still ended up being dissatisfied with the results.
Although Michael Myers has been locked up for four decades in this sequel trying to wipe out its predecessors, the deranged mask man has been able to haunt Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) from afar due to the killing spree she narrowly survived on Halloween back in 1978. Since that time, he’s been on her mind, and she’s been preparing for a return that she always thought would come. Including her daughter (Judy Greer), many see her as being crazy for allowing the killer to consume her for all these years, but returning to the streets of Haddonfield, many will come to understand the reason for her paranoia.
One of the things I liked most about this was that it wasn’t a complete rehashing of the first one like it could have been. They could have been lazy and just reused everything that we had already witnessed before, but they tried to put a new spin on at least a few things. Of course, there are plenty of things here that are taken from the 1978 version. Some of it is used as what can be considered “callbacks.” You’ll recognize the scenes (and a specific character) that I’m talking about when you watch it, but they’re different from what was in John Carpenter’s classic in that they’re usually just done in reverse.
While it wants to be a sequel only to the original, it feels like it wants to be Carpenter’s version partially because of this. In that way, it’s basically trying to be the same movie, but it has very little of the creepiness while adding in a lot more blood and gore. Some won’t have an issue with the excessive gore we get with the brutality, but that’s not what’s needed to capture the essence of Michael Myers. Because this takes precedent over just about everything else, we miss out on most of what the character is supposed to epitomize.
There’s always been a certain level of creepiness associated with Myers that’s made his presence horrifying to both his targets as well as the people watching the movies that he stars in. Here, the vast majority of that is absent as he’s simply a serial killer who basically only wants to murder as many people as possible. Then again, when you have super strength and are essentially indestructible, I guess there’s really no need to be as covert as you were when you were forty years younger and presumably healthier and fitter as a spry twenty-one year old.
Because the creep factor of his predatory nature is greatly reduced, Halloween feels more like a slow-moving action movie than it did a horror film. When thinking about it, I couldn’t even classify this as a thriller much less a horror movie. There are some horror elements obviously, but I wouldn’t dare consider any of it to be scary. Although the stuff that I’m speaking of isn’t what can be considered bad, it sucks the life out of the features we usually get and expect from scary movies. This leads to most of what we get here feeling like a disappointment, because you know they “dropped the ball” in this aspect.
The main issue here is that they chose to expose Michael Myers too much. They clearly understand the legend of the character, but the execution was mishandled. No matter what, there’s always supposed to be a sense of mystery surrounding the character and what he does. You don’t always know when he’s going to pop up, but in this movie, it’s telegraphed and drawn out from the start. With an antagonist like this guy, that should never happen as it takes away some of the punch that the consequences of his presence provides to the audience.
The only thing that could be shocking in this movie is the amount of gore that I spoke of since the original had almost no blood at all from the five murders that it had. Other than that, you don’t get much else here. They clearly upped the body count in this one substantially as well by having one of our favorite on-screen psychopaths lay waste to a large number of one-dimensional characters who are only on-screen to die. While some of this is fun, it’s all forgettable since the people being snuffed out aren’t close to being memorable or meaningful.
Even though I didn’t hate this movie, I wish they could have done more with what they had. I was open to it being released and was more than willing to have this erase and replace the other sequels they are trying to cancel out. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s good enough to do that or even make us forget about all of the bad movies that followed the 1978 picture that became the standard for horror. Sure, it’s better than all of those, but not by all that much. In the end, I guess all that matters is that the audience and the studio are both satisfied with the outcome. And although it could have been better, that’s all that counts.
Director: David Gordon Green
Jamie Lee Curtis
Film Length: 106 minutes
Release Date: October 19, 2018
Distributor: Universal Pictures
- Score - 6/106/10