· 

'Halloween:' The Shape of a Superior Sequel

Halloween is as good as a 40-years-later sequel has any right to be, and it is plenty good enough. This one ups the violence, ups the surprises, and ups the examination of the effects trauma can have on people's lives. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been left a broken woman after the events of the original film in 1978 - she has led a paranoid life, suffered a string of broken marriages, and even lost guardianship of her daughter. She has, however, been training for the day that The Shape, Michael Myers, comes calling again. "Forty years ago, he came to my home to kill," she says, "and now he's back to finish what he started, with me: the one person who's ready to stop him." Laurie has gone Sarah Connor, 'burbs style. 

 

David Gordon Green directs, and he and Danny McBride write and produce, moving from broad comedies like Vice Principals and Pineapple Express to beloved, classic horror. The hints of humor in this film are actually funny, and their portrayal of high school life is spot on. The humor is welcome, as the rest of the film is so nasty and graphic that the levity is a perfect release. Make no mistake, this movie is gory. Michael Myers pulls no punches during his brutal murder spree. Yes, there are call-backs to 1978's Halloween, but here they are turned up to 11.

 

"...this collision of two immovable objects...is an invigorating, terrifying watch."

 

This Halloween is all about violence, after all. Not just the strangle and stab kind, but the type of violence that reverberates through generations. We're talking PTSD here, not something usually broached in the slasher movie genre. Laurie Strode has thought of nothing except preparing for the violence to return, which she will meet, in turn, with violence. When this collision of two immovable objects happens at the climax, it is an invigorating, terrifying watch. There are scenes in the last half-hour of this film as filled with suspense as any in the genre, and it's all character based, not just "that looks cool" goings-on. Judy Greer and Andi Matachak play the other two members of the Strode triumverate of strong women, and they excel at making their characters humanity show through, which is a rare thing in horror movies. Other than the famous "final girl," horror often uses its characters simply as chum for the killer. Not here.

 

There are two big twists in this film, one that worked "clap in the theater" well and one that really doesn't work very well at all. The movie is so good, though, that the misstep is quickly forgotten and you're pumped to see what happens next. The way Halloween ends, I'm not sure where they'd take a trilogy capper, but if the creative team from this one decides they have another one in them, I'll be there.

 

 

Write a comment

Comments: 3
  • #1

    Dave Eiben (Friday, 26 October 2018 17:05)

    Spot on! Very intense, heart-pounding prelude to the Halloween season.....

  • #2

    Niki Smith (Friday, 26 October 2018 19:40)

    I can’t wait to see it, and now after reading this I’m more excited!

  • #3

    greg garner (Saturday, 28 September 2019 22:42)

    Halloween had 3 'superior' sequels....2, 4, and 5. Each of those was legitimately outstanding. However, whatever you think about those movies, the strength of this new one was supposed to be that it would recapture what made the original so special(at its' core, a random, inscrutable killer and a somewhat sympathetic, likeable heroine). Nothing could be further from the truth....this is not the stalker we saw in the 1978 film. There is no nuance to this violence....nothing to remind us that this is actually supposed to be the same man from the original. But he's a lot closer to his earlier incarnation than Laurie Strode...she's hasn't been seen since the initial film. She was comatose through most of Halloween 2, and every other time she has surfaced, she bears ZERO resemblance to the girl we started out with all those years ago. Basically, Jamie Lee just shows up and plays herself....a vile, crass, vulgar middle-aged woman....When this movie draws favorable comparisons to the original, I have to wonder just how many of you have actually SEEN it. But Carpenter knows human psychology...he knows that by belittling all those 'other' sequels, he can entice people in to see this one, true, LEGITIMATE sequel...so pretentious fools can get away with seeing what amounts to, what, Halloween 11 or Halloween 12?....but without losing any of their street cred...Carpenter finest achievement since 1978 was this....knowing how to convince people that they aren't paying to see just another Halloween movie....while that's PRECISELY what they're doing....