Bringing one of the most beloved and influential horror films back to the big screen is clearly no easy task, but Blumhouse Productions and director David Gordon Green make it look easy with their new addition to the Halloween franchise. Fans of the slasher genre have been waiting for a strong film that could possibly help the genre back into credibility and I’m proud to say that Halloween is that film.
Taking place 40 years after the original, Blumhouse’s Halloween follows an older Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who has spent her time preparing for the return of Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) after escaping his deadly grasp back on that fateful Halloween night. Having an armory in her basement, traps set throughout the house, and several locks on her doors, Laurie has completely cut herself from society including her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and grand-daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). However, Michael once again escapes into Haddonfield on Halloween night so Laurie springs back into action to not only keep her family safe, but to also kill “The Shape” once and for all.
Right off the bat, you can tell they wanted a back to basics approach with Halloween, but that doesn’t mean that it’s your typical slasher. It’s still Michael Myers leaving a trail of corpses in his path while he hunts down Laurie Strode, but it feels like there is still so much more. With Laurie still suffering from the events of the original, her paranoid feelings are very easy to resonate with and it shows why Strode is truly the ultimate final girl. Her hunter-like mentality is so good to see and leads to a slow-building finale that is easily the most heart-pounding game of hide-and-seek that I’ve seen on-screen to date.
The campiness also is stripped away as the characters feel much more grounded this time and aren’t just mainstay tropes everyone associates with the genre. A lot of this has to do with the enjoyable comic dialogue that clearly came from Danny McBride’s writing. While there are undoubtedly plenty of moments that will have audiences shuddering with fear, there are also moments where they’ll be laughing their heads off. The film balances these aspects perfectly and there is a great sense of patience when bringing each part to light.
That’s probably where Halloween is at its best, as its patient nature was where I found myself enjoying the film most. Michael Myers isn’t the kind of killer to sprint after his victim and violently murder them in front of the camera. He’s a lurker from the bushes and even more frightening because he walks to his screaming victims rather than viciously chasing them down. Blumhouse and Green clearly understood this as there are plenty of excellent long shots and camera perspectives that showcase his voyeuristic nature and puts audiences in the eyes of the killer.
Not to mention, Courtney’s ability to depict Myers’ movements and emotionless behaviour really show why he is so iconic. The old rules are well and truly out the window in this Halloween and this film has some truly shocking moments that even long-time fans might not see coming. Courtney also helps creates some brutal kills that I found to be some of the best of the series; never shown head on and kept in the shadows until we are ready to see the carnage Myer’s has created.
Despite this, my favourite thing about Halloween 2018 is the score, as John Carpenter, director and composer of the original, returns to really show why he needs an Oscar under his belt. Even to this day, the Halloween score is undoubtedly one of the most iconic in film history and still brings uneasy feelings and shivers down our spines. This time around he uses the iconic original for nostalgia reasons of course, but has different versions of it littered throughout the film and only uses it when necessary to make it truly stand out.