After months of excited anticipation, I have finally got round to watching Halloween 2018, which has just been released on Blu ray. So now I would like to share my thoughts with you about the movie.
Having been a HUGE fan of the Halloween series ever since I first saw the original 1978 John Carpenter movie, I harboured high hopes for this new take on the Michael Myers saga. And those hopes were pushed even higher by the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis was returning to reprise her role as Laurie Strode. After being so unceremoniously and prematurely killed off in the car crash of a movie that was Halloween Resurrection (2002), I thought it would be real cool to see her back alive again to take up arms (which she literally DOES in this movie) against her longtime foe: the maniacal and murderous Michael Myers (also known as “The Shape”). However, as much as I hate having to say this, I am afraid that even the return of Jamie Lee Curtis could not fully elevate Halloween 2018 to the high level of the 1978 movie.
So what exactly was it about this new Halloween film that disappointed me so much? Well, quite a few things actually.
Firstly, I was annoyed by the fact that the producers decided to just call the movie Halloween. I mean, come ON. OK, I get it that this movie wasn’t a direct continuation of the storyline after Halloween Resurrection, but just a follow on from the 1978 film, ignoring the events of not only Halloween II (1981) but also the events of all the subsequent sequels. I thought this was a very bad and unwise decision, as this 1978-duplicated title does not differentiate this new movie from all the others in the franchise, which, for all their failings, at least had different titles so as you clearly knew exactly where you were up to in the Michael Myers universe. Even if they had simply called it Halloween: 40 Years On, or something similar, that would have indicated quite clearly that this movie is yet another chapter in the Michael Myers saga. But giving it the same title as the first one will just add confusion to any conversations referring to either movie, as people will say things like, “Oh, do you mean the old Halloween movie or this new one?”
Secondly, I disliked the fact that they totally disregarded Laurie’s re-encounter with Myers in Halloween II, which I thought was the best sequel to a major horror movie since The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). In fact, I would even go as far as to say that Halloween II was a much better sequel to the very first Halloween movie than Halloween 2018. Carrying Laurie’s story on right after the events of Halloween (1978) was such a shame really, as it would have been nice to have had Halloween 2018 as a third (and possibly concluding) instalment in the continuing Strode-Myers story.
Now on to the general story-line of the movie itself. I won’t go on in too much detail about this, as doubtless you are all probably well familiar by now with the way the movie pans out. Basically, we catch up with a now much older Laurie Strode 40 years on from her traumatic encounter with masked killer Michael Myers on that fateful Halloween night way back in 1978. Laurie, bespectacled and long-haired, is now presented as a rather emotionally volatile and wary woman, who has set up her home as a kind of fortress. The overwhelming sense we get here is that she is living in constant fear that one day Michael will escape from the mental hospital and come looking for her, with a view to possibly finishing the malevolent job he started on that terrifying Halloween night forty years ago.
To prepare for this dreadful possibility, Laurie has taught herself, and so adeptly, in the handling of guns, of which she has a sizeable collection. And it is exactly this situation that led me to draw the analogy with the kind of female avenger of the Lara Croft ilk, and to be honest, I didn’t really care for this new take on the Laurie Strode character. And as the word “sharpshooter” kept running through my mind each time I saw Laurie aiming her rifle, it seemed I really WAS watching a kind of Tomb Raider/Terminator movie rather than an out-and-out atmospheric horror movie. The Strode-Myers head-to-head element outweighed the suspense element, which kind of diluted the customary Halloween thrills and chills that the first movie had in bucketloads.
Another disappointing aspect of the movie was the line-up of supporting characters. All of them, particularly the members of Laurie’s family, were shallow and uninteresting, and so could have been fleshed out a bit more. I couldn’t root for any of them. The worst one, though, was undoubtedly Dr Sartain (Haluk Bilginer). I mean, why on earth was this character even in the movie at all? His devious, dodgy motivations and sudden personality quirks (e.g. donning the Myers mask as if it were infused with some super-hero-like inherent power) were just plain dumb and silly. Not only that, they were extremely ANNOYING. Sartain was not a patch on the iconic Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasance), who was so sadly conspicuous by his absence. I just hope we don’t see a character like the shambolic Dr Sartain in any more Halloween movies.
Another character I felt should have been left out of the movie was the sheriff. His dismissive, apathetic reactions to the news that Myers had escaped and was on the rampage again was just laughable. “Cancel Halloween,” he says. Ouch, such cringe-inducing dialogue!
And talking about cringe-worthy oratory, another such cheesy line was blurted near the end of the movie. This time, the culprit was none other than Laurie Strode herself. As she suddenly appears out of the shadows behind the wounded Myers (who, apparently, has just been shot by Laurie’s granddaughter), she drily adds: “Happy Halloween, Michael.” Rather than using Freddy Krueger-type facetious one-liners, a more believable line would have been something like (and uttered through clenched teeth), “Die, you BASTARD!” This would have emphasised the long-held bitterness and desire for revenge that Laurie has been harbouring for Michael all these years.
Right, all that negativity out of the way, here the things I liked about the movie. I loved the little homages to the 1978 classic that were peppered through the film. I also liked the appearance of the Myers mask, which bore the same kind of iconic look that the one used in the first movie had. And there were some pretty brutal kills too. To top it off, I really enjoyed seeing the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, who, as always, gave an outstanding performance.
All in all, when compared to some of the more inferior instalments in the franchise we’ve been fed over the years, I thought this new Halloween movie was quite entertaining and watchable, minor flaws aside. It certainly wasn’t slow, and certainly not ruined by confusing flashbacks and intermittent intercuts, as most modern horror movies are. However, as I have already implied, the storyline could have been much improved with a little tweaking here and there, not to mention the removal of those ANNOYINGLY unrealistic characters like the doctor and the sheriff.
I will certainly be keeping Halloween 2018 in my Blu Ray collection, as for all its faults, it’s one that I shall definitely be revisiting at some time in the future.
One final gripe, though: what happened to the “Mr Sandman” song?
If you enjoyed reading my review of Halloween 2018, you might like to check out my published books, details of which can be found HERE