Ever since John Carpenter’s original Halloween and Michael Myers first came into our orbit in 1978, it has been the gift that keeps on giving at the box office, with so many spinoffs, sequels and reboots it is hard to keep track. From Halloweens II, III, IV and V to a 20-year revisit in 1998 and Halloween: Resurrection in 2002, hell there even are three films just simply titled Halloween II. There seems to be no need even to hide what the film is anymore — the 2007 reboot, and the current incarnation, are using the same title as the original! It is a brand all by itself.
Jamie Lee Curtis has been a part of four of them, and now returns as Laurie Strode in the update, set 40 years after Myers first terrorized her in Haddonfield, IL on Halloween Night 1978. Here is my advice: Forget all the Halloweens that came between that one and this one and just look at this one as the purest sequel, a battle royale between Strode and Myers that has been four decades in the making and, as I say in my video review above, is a royal treat for horror fans as new director David Gordon Green clearly has a place in his heart for what made the original a classic of the genre in the first place.
Basically the new film has much in common with Carpenter’s vision, as the film opens with Myers (Nick Castle) institutionalized and about to be transferred to an even harder facility on — when else — the day before Halloween. In no time the bus carrying him has flipped over and Mike is on the loose, presumably headed to Haddonfield in a truck he hijacks (disposing of the occupants) to complete some unfinished business. That “business” would be a final confrontation with Strode, who has never forgotten that 1978 hallowed night, and has prepared for decades for what she believes is Myers’ inevitable return to gory, er glory.
The problem, as is the case in so many of these kinds of movies, is that no one shares her concerns and basically thinks her obsession is just not realistic. After all, Myers is locked up, right? Among those doubting her fears are her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), who only slowly get the message that maybe Grandma is possibly on to something. In the meantime, the focus shifts to other characters on Halloween who become catnip for Myers as he makes his way to a rematch with Laurie. Among them is Hawkins (Will Patton), the cop who was there 40 years ago and still recalls every detail, as well as Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), MM’s psychiatrist or “the new Loomis” as Strode greets him, a reference to the dispatched character Donald Pleasance played in the original.
All the acting this time around is first-rate, and thanks to the cast’s dedication in making you believe all this stuff is scary and happening, this 2018 Halloween ranks easily as the best since the first and is the perfect companion piece. At its heart is the fiercely defined performance of Curtis, aged up to come across as a dangerous and determined victim out for revenge and closure. Plus she has wired the house for what she knows will be Michael’s arrival at any moment, and has the guns to prove it. Curtis plays this version of Strode very much on the edge, and it really works.
Green has done a great job keeping up the spirit of what makes this franchise pop, and has great help from co-screenwriters Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley who haven’t forgotten the roots of this saga. Happy Halloween indeed. Producers are Malek Akaad, Bill Block and Jason Blum. Universal and Blumhouse can count on making a fortune when it opens Friday just in time for…..you guessed it.
Do you plan to see Halloween? Let us know what you think.