40 years ago, on Halloween night, Michael Myers murdered three people. He was caught, and taken back to the asylum in chains, but Laurie Strode, the only one to survive his rampage, knew that he’d be back. And so, every waking hour of the last 40 years, she trained, hardening her body and mind for the eventual return of “The Shape.” Her obsession was so deep that it drove her daughter, and even her granddaughter away. But that desire to keep her family safe will be proven right, as, this Halloween, Michael’s back in town, and he’s coming for everyone.
On paper, Halloween (2018) is a film I should hate. It’s the eleventh sequel to a long-running horror franchise, with a less than original plot, and lots of violence against women. But, my god, if it isn’t a ton of fun. This is an old-fashioned, “shout at the screen” horror film that we don’t really get anymore; the kind of movie you have to see in a theater, with an audience that’s talking, and reacting to, the story in real-time. It’s fast-paced, got some superb cinematography and music, and does something that most sequels to long-running horror franchises fail to do; make the villain scary. Michael Myers is such an iconic character now that it’s very hard to make him intimidating, since whatever mystique he might have had has long since been stripped away. But, my God, the director found a way to do just that. And, like I said, the filmmaking on display is top notch. There’s one sequence, done in a long, unbroken tracking shot, where we see Michael break into a house, kill someone, steal their knife, and then walk on the street full of trick-or-treaters who don’t look twice at him because, hey, it’s Halloween, that is excellent! The movie’s also very funny in places, and not in a way that feels tonally inconsistent. And, unlike a lot of other slasher movies, this film actually manages to make you care about the victims. There’s one sequence in a house, with a babysitter and the kid she’s looking after, which you just know is going to end with Michael Myers bursting in and killing these people, but, for the 5 or 6 minutes we’re with these characters, we grow to like them. So, for all these reasons, the quick pace, the suspenseful cinematography, the fact that it makes a horror icon terrifying again, I say you should give it a look.
I’d be lying, though, if I told you this film is perfect. When I said it was an old-fashioned horror movie, I meant it. Characters do stupid things that get them killed, there’s some painfully awkward, expository dialogue, and some of the acting, particularly from Judy Greer, whom plays Laurie’s daughter, is wooden. Bad Times At The El Royale may have been slow, but at least its acting and dialogue were more consistent. I also don’t understand why Laurie had to have a granddaughter. It feels like they just threw her in to appeal to a younger demographic. There is a fascinating story in here about PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and how assault can effect the relatives of the victim as well, but fart too much time is dedicated to the granddaughter’s romantic troubles and friends that the intriguing themes kind of get lost in the shuffle. Still, all of these problems are pretty minor, and shouldn’t hurt your viewing experience if you know what you’re getting into. If you want a good horror film for the Halloween season, this movie is definitely it.