**THE FOLLOWING POST IS A DISCUSSION ABOUT HALLOWEEN (2018) WHICH CONTAINS A COUPLE OF (VERY) MILD SPOILERS. NOTHING TOO MAJOR, BUT YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.**
Last night, myself, my husband and one of my best friends went to the cinema to watch Halloween (2018). The movie – a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) – stars Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and picks up the Michael Myers story line that was first set in motion 40 years ago.
For those scratching their heads a little, this latest entry in the Halloween series (also called Halloween) ignores the events of EVERY Halloween movie that has existed previously, except the original. There’s no direct link to Halloween II (1981); there are no comments about the events of Halloween H20 (1998); and there is barely a whiff of Halloween: Resurrection (2002) – which is something I think we’re all thankful for – so even if you’ve never seen a previous entry you can still watch this film.
So, now that we are up to date, what was the movie like?
I loved this movie.
This is a Halloween movie truly deserving of its place alongside the original Halloween. It’s tough, its uncompromising, it’s horror done right.
The standout star of this film is Jamie Lee Curtis who is fantastic in the role of Laurie – taking the character we’ve all come to know and reworking her as a no-nonsense action hero with shades of Sarah Connor. Her performance really raises the quality of this film to another level and deserves to be recognised accordingly.
You listening, Hollywood?
Halloween is both Curtis’s and Laurie’s tale and it’s a tale about survival; about PTSD and how a traumatic event effects the survivor and those around her. As such, the film takes elements which previously worked in H20 (fear, anger, alcoholism) and ramps things up a gear to present a much darker, bolder, stronger narrative.
All the post-modernism & self-referential gags from the ’90s era of Halloween are gone, as are all the pointless backstory elements from the Rob Zombie reboots and instead we’re left with a clear story which does not beat around the bush. Characters get introduced in quick succession and are dispatched just as rapidly and that’s a real strength of this movie.
In lesser Halloween movies, we’d see new characters introduced, so that Laurie could sit on the sidelines while the newbies are all bumped off in a slow fashion. That’s simply not the case here – instead we get new characters, but their storylines are pretty much done and dusted as soon as they’re introduced, keeping audiences on their toes.
Speaking of which, there are a few curve balls in this movie – including a very important one concerning the climax of the film. I won’t say anymore, so not to ruin it for those who have yet to see Halloween, but let me just say now, when the moment happens it’s a pure fist pump payoff which is PERFECTLY executed.
And do you know why this moment works so well? Because of the way that the audience is played.
Yep – played.
Throughout this film it seems as if things are going to take a well worn path, only for that to turn out not to be the case at all. Heck there’s even a new character introduced who I was convinced would become the future of the series, only for that theory to be blown out of the water.
But I was glad the rug was pulled out from under me, because now I have no clue how this series will continue, if it is to continue. And to be honest, I’m not sure I want it to carry on as I felt this film gave me everything I could want for a sequel and more – so why ruin it?
The Halloween series has had a very long, very complicated history, which has included a soft reboot, a hard reboot and a sequel that has nothing to do with any of the other movies in the series. Therefore choosing to ignore every film in the series bar the original, was perhaps an obvious one but also a much needed one.
Without the weight (and contradictions) of the sequels, this new Halloween is able to create its own history and journey for both Laurie and Michael in the same way that Halloween H20 did back in ’98.
Should this film have recognised H20? No – it’s better for not recognising any sequel.
Does that mean the film doesn’t pay tribute the what’s come before? Nope – in fact there are various references to the past littered throughout this movie.
From homages to the original (the wardrobe scene, a face in the shadows, the fall from the bedroom window) to nods to the sequels (the masks from Season of the Witch, a van referencing ‘Resurrection’ etc), Halloween ensures this new story isn’t railroading over what has come before. However, at the same time it’s clear this is a new direction for the series and arguably the strongest direction since ’78.
But this should be it. This should be the end of the road.
I can’t see how this series can carry on now without taking away from the strength of this film and I don’t want that. I genuinely fear the news that ‘a sequel’ is in the works.
I really can’t praise this film enough. From the soundtrack and the characterisation to the suspense and scares, this is a Halloween movie worthy of everyone’s time.
If you’re debating whether to go and see it or not, then debate no longer – go and see it!
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