The original Halloween1 launched a genre, numerous sequels, and a couple of remakes. None match the purity or the quality of the original. Forty years after Mike Myers first stalked onto the screen, we have this sequel, which ignores everything in between. Myers has been incarcerated since ’78 and Laurie Strode (not his sister in this version) has become disturbed herself, an eccentric survivalist whose life has been defined and shaped by that long-ago night. Her estranged daughter has a teenage daughter, and they all live in and around Haddonfield.
Then, in the least-surprising development since the time that couple who didn’t get on fell in love by the end of the Rom-Com, the Shape escapes.
Cast, Crew, and Other Info:
Directed by David Gordon Green
Written by David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley
Based on characters created (and heavily influenced by a script) by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Judy Greer as Karen
Andi Matichak as Allyson
James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle as Mike Myers
Haluk Bilginer as Dr. Sartain
Will Patton as Officer Hawkins
Rhian Rees as Dana Haines
Jefferson Hall as Aaron Korey
Toby Huss as Ray
Virginia Gardner as Vicky
Dylan Arnold as Cameron Elam
Miles Robbins as Dave
Drew Scheid as Oscar
Jibrail Nantambu as Julian
Michael “Mick” Harrity as Warden Kuneman
Omar J. Dorsey as Sheriff Barker
Charlie Benton as Officer Richards
Diva Tyler as Caretaker
Sophia Miller as Young Karen
PJ Soles as Teacher
Colin Mahan as the voice of Loomis
Mike Myers, incarcerated since the Haddonfield Massacre, escapes and returns to town, where Laurie Strode has been waiting.
The film toys with the notion that evil, in a fashion, can be contagious. In addition to questions regarding Laurie’s mental aand moral stability, the recorded voice of Loomis (Colin Mahan, impersonating Donald Pleasence, who passed in ’95) reveals a man who went over the edge obsessing about Myers. Other developments reflect this theme. It’s a chilling notion, and one the film doesn’t overplay.
Too much of the film simply mimics its source, with (predictably) more people dying in more graphic ways. It doesn’t go so far overboard as the Rob Zombie remake, but too many deaths still blunt the effect, and the murder of characters we don’t really know doesn’t have much effect in the first place.
Originality: 1/6 The first part of the movie echoes and repeats the beats of the original, while offering fan service and increasing the body and gore count. The final third takes a bit of a divergent path, with an unlikely twist and an intriguing confrontation between Myers and Laurie—and her progeny of Last Girls.
Effects: 5/6 Halloween has never been about effects, but this one requires several to create the more gory and creative onscreen killing.
Acting: 5/6 The film is well-acted, and the teens and kids are more credible than usual for a slasher (although that genre has set the bar absurdly low). We also get some fun interplay between Julian and his babysitter—before their lives take a grim turn.
Production: 6/6 The film features strong production values and excellent editing.
Emotional Response: 4/6
Overall: 5/6 This Halloween has some scares, some thoughts about evil, and a few laughs. It’s not a bad movie.
It just doesn’t add anything to the genre. I’m really hoping the ending is as final as it seems. Like all of the other Halloween sequels and remakes, it has no artistic reason to exist at all.2
In total, Halloween 2018receives 30/42.
1. The original film had antecedents, of courses. It owed a significant debt to Hitchcock, and Carpenter included references to Psycho (1960), specifically. The basic premise and some elements came from Black Christmas (1974). However, Halloween took horror in its own direction and it succeeds in ways Black Christmas does not. Carpenter’s success, without question, birthed the slasher genre.
2. While I don’t consider Halloween III: Season of the Witch to be a particularly good movie, it tries to do something original. However, as it carries over only the title and theme song, it’s not really a sequel. The plot and characters do not connect to the rest of the franchise in any meaningful way.
September 30: Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (JD)
October 31: Halloween 2018 (JD)
Return of the Living Dead (JD)