‘Halloween’ is a Killer Treat Filled with Familiar Tricks

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Published October 30, 2018
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Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, attempts to escape the grasp of Michael Myers. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Forty years since his original debut, Michael Myers still manages to terrify both audiences and his favorite victim, Laurie Strode.

Despite that there are almost a dozen sequels, spinoffs and remakes to “Halloween,” director and writer David Gordon Green decided to wisely wipe the slate of the franchise clean. This allows for the original 1978 John Carpenter film and this new addition to be the only movies that are canon.

“Halloween” picks up exactly 40 years after Laurie survived the heinous attack from the knife-wielding madman, Michael Myers. While Michael spent those decades locked away in a mental institution, Laurie has been preparing herself for Michael’s eventual return.

During a transfer to another facility, an accident causes Michael to escape, heading back to the town of Haddonfield. On a murderous rampage, Michael hunts for the victim that got away all those years ago, but this time, Laurie is ready for him.

As a huge fan of the original movie and a smaller fan of the mostly terrible sequels, I was beyond excited to see Michael, played by James Jude Courtney and briefly by original actor Nick Castle, and Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, back together on the big screen.

I found it a bit strange that a horror movie made me smile at times, but I was left gleeful at certain parts as they made me remember what I loved so much about Carpenter’s “Halloween.” Fans of the original film will love this movie when the classic musical score is heard, familiar camera shots are used and whenever there’s a clever nod to the franchise.

Something this movie did well was showing the emotional toll a person can have from watching your friends get murdered and barely escaping an attack. Laurie is a damaged character, locks herself away from the rest of the world, is not the best mother to her daughter and even describes herself as a basket case.

Curtis plays a lead character who is burdened with flaws and this is what makes her so strong. She has spent years being haunted by Michael and pays for them every day of her life. “Halloween” shows how you can have a character who is a victim, while at the same time be an absolute badass.

A standout aspect of this film is Michael. Every great horror movie needs an equally great villain, and Michael Myers is so iconic that without doing him justice, this movie would fall apart. Luckily, Green showed Michael in a way that captured what was so frightening 40 years ago. Michael is a silent, slow-moving and brutal killing machine who presents himself as he was originally described: pure evil.

“Halloween” isn’t a horror film full of just gore and death, although there are a few scenes in particular that aren’t for the faint of heart. It also explores the depth of surviving a traumatic experience and how sometimes fighting something head-on is the only way to completely conquer it.

This film also has comedic and family elements that seem to work really well, never drowning out the feeling that this is a horror movie. Newcomer Jibrail Nantambu also has a scene-stealing performance as a wise-cracking kid that will no doubt leave audiences screaming in laughter.

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After 40 years of waiting, Michael Myers is ready for another Halloween night. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

This movie is very similar to the original, even the opening credits are almost exactly the same. There’s a shot of Michael staring directly at the camera with the classic theme playing over that will have fans feeling overjoyed. However, those unfamiliar with the character or the franchise might see moments like these as a bit awkward or corny.

This movie isn’t without its typical horror tropes and there are plenty of jump scares, melodramatic screams and someone in the audience will most likely shout, “No, don’t go in there!” These factors also tie into how familiar this movie seems. As much as I enjoyed myself while watching “Halloween,” I wish there was more of a sense of freshness and creativity.

Overall, “Halloween” is a great movie that acts as a reminder of what makes simplicity so scary. Bringing the horror icon that is Michael Myers back to life in an exciting yet recognizable way, “Halloween” allows for the franchise to end on a good note, with proper closure for both the characters and the fans.

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