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Halloween – Movie Review

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Halloween – Movie Review

Rating: A- (Great)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

In 1978, John Carpenter created one of the most unsettling horror films of all-time, with Michael Myers serving as a terrifying embodiment of evil. Part of why Halloween worked was the simplicity of it and how the movie did not feel the need to overly explain his motivations. Many sequels arrived since of varying quality, but David Gordon Green has made the decision to erase all of that and use the first movie as the jumping-off point. Of course, this isn’t the first time the Halloween series has done this, but it’s a smart decision on his part. This is a worthy sequel to the original horror classic, bringing the needed amount of terror and properly continuing Laurie Strode’s story.

It’s clear from the beginning the amount of respect Green has for Carpenter’s original film, right down to the excellent opening titles. The second we’re re-introduced to Michael Myers, it does feel like forty years have passed since he last murdered those babysitters on Halloween night. What has happened to Laurie Strode also fits with what might have happened with someone who survived an evening of murders. Green provides us with enough history to get us prepped for the eventual onslaught that is definitely coming. Jamie Lee Curtis eases back into her famous role, showing a woman not ready to let this deranged killer scare her again and is willing to fight back.

Green does show a lot more gore than Carpenter did in the first Halloween and yet it doesn’t feel cheap. He is aware that part of what made that original movie so chilling was the suspense and not knowing exactly when Michael will strike. Most importantly, a lot of emphasis is spent on the characters and creating the necessary sympathy with his victims. Laurie’s daughter Karen, played by Judy Greer, is somebody with trauma of her own and the film portrays the difficult relationship she has had with her mother. Andi Matichak also delivers strong work as Laurie’s granddaughter and she’s allowed to become more than the standard teenage girl often stalked in slasher films.

As is the norm with a number of these movies, you get the occasional policemen who don’t seem particularly good at their jobs. However, Will Patton’s Officer Hawkins is someone the viewer also grows to care about as he still remembers that night back in 1978. Michael himself remains a force, like a shark silently hunting its prey. It’s not about motivation for him, it’s the curiousity of death that drives him to pick up a knife and slaughter almost anyone who arrives in his wake. Green directs the horror scenes with the necessary tension and he uses location superbly well. One major scene set in a house is a particular triumph in camerawork, lighting, staging and throwing surprises whenever possible. John Carpenter returning to do the score also adds to the success of this new Halloween film. His original synthesizer theme remains one of the most chilling pieces ever composed.

This is the closest another filmmaker has come to recapturing what made that first Halloween movie work. David Gordon Green has honoured what Carpenter made forty years ago and has cleverly modernized it for a new generation. Seeing Jamie Lee Curtis back in her iconic role is also wonderful and the film ultimately becomes a story of survival and fighting back against those who traumatized you. Green has also created a movie about mothers and daughters and how important those connections are when dealing with evil. The rules of slasher films dictate that there will absolutely be another Halloween movie and this filmmaking team has certainly earned the right to tell Laurie and Michael’s story.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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