It’s been a very long time since Michael Myers was such an imposing or scary horror figure. After many years where he became a reality star getting his ass handed to him by a hip hop star, and being turned in to a hillbilly, it’s good to see Michael Myers once again return to the form he arrived in as “The Shape.” Directed by David Gordon Green, “Halloween” (or “H40,” if you want to get very technical) won’t be for everyone, as it is a mixed bag that makes a controversial decision with its narrative and the mythos. In the end, though, I had a great time, and would recommend it, especially for the horror base looking for a good return to the universe Carpenter specifically established.
Ignoring any and all sequels after the original 1978 “Halloween” from John Carpenter, “Halloween” 2018 is an alternate timeline. In this time line Michael Myers was seized by authorities after the night he fought Laurie Strode, and was held in a maximum security institution for decades. Laurie was forever broken by the experience and has spent her entire life preparing for Michael’s inevitable return. After failed marriages and a rocky relationship with her daughter and grand daughter, Laurie’s worst nightmare comes true with Michael breaks out and makes a bee line for Laurie and her family to finish what he started forty years ago.
“Halloween” 2018 is not a remake, or a reboot, but one of the many diverting time lines (if you connect them all, Laurie has three children!) in the “Halloween” movie verse that re-imagines what would have happened after the original film. Rather than try to continue from the last entry, writers Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley, and David Gordon Green picture the original incident as something of a true crime. In a sense, Michael broke out never to hurt anyone for years, and Laurie has been the victim that’s never quite healed. David Gordon Green never quite captures the same essence of atmosphere John Carpenter did, but “Halloween” is still a stark and creepy slasher with Michael returning to his roots. Gordon Green also packs in some strong suspense, and stark death scenes that picture Michael as a hungry animal let out of his cage.
What’s interesting about “Halloween” though is that there are a ton of call backs to the sequels that are used to help advance the narrative. This includes a disturbing bathroom scene, and a beautifully creepy moment involving Michael and motion lights. David Gordon Green and the writers set out to twist a lot of the conventions of the slasher film, while also subverting a lot of the formula that’s been honed in the sequels. Characters die or survive in the most off beat circumstances, and Gordon Green is prone to unleashing Michael on just about anyone unfortunate to be in the way of his journey. Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance is fantastic, even more so than in “H20,” as she’s clearly a woman still re-living the night she confronted Michael and has decided to prepare for the inevitable, rather than escape it. She’s a woman who has prepared for every circumstance possible, and it culminates in a tense stand off in the fortress she’s built.
That said, a small chunk of “Halloween 2018” feels like filler, especially the sub-plot involving Laurie’s grand daughter, and her romance with a new boyfriend, etc. Much of what occurs with her, only feels injected to jump from A to point B, as if the writers didn’t quite know how to jump in to the second half at a certain instance in the script’s development. All the while the big the twist involving Michael’s doctor felt as if that belongs to Laurie. I’m not also not sure what the writers intended to imply, if anything, with the final shot of the film, but I imagine it will be a hotly debated scene for a long time. All things considered, while it has its inherent flaws, and promises to be a controversial entry in the “Halloween” series, I enjoyed it. I appreciated its decisions in narrative, its bold destruction of the goofy sibling storyline, and its sheer entertainment value as a strong slasher film.