Spoiler Alert! I don’t think I included anything that could ruin the film for anyone but out of an abundance of caution – if you don’t want to possibly read anything that could give any plot points away – go away till after you see it. Here – I’ll give you my short version of the review – you ready? “Halloween 2018 is OK.” For those of you who want deeper analysis – read on!
As I sit down to review this latest retelling or reimagining or take (however you handle explaining it) on the cinematic mythos of Michael Myers — I realize that I actually have to look at Halloween 2018 as two different films. I need to be able to see it for what it is trying to be — a character study on how trauma and fear affects the lives of a survivor, and the family around her — something that Halloween H20 attempted to do — and failed miserably at — and I also need to be able to cast a light on it as a direct sequel to what is arguably the best horror film ever made — John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween.
First impression? It succeeds — for the most part. A far from a perfect film — Halloween 2018, when it hits the mark — hits it strong and fearlessly. Unfortunately, when it misses — it does it with the same gusto. The premise is pretty simple to follow. After the events of the JC original, Michael was captured and imprisoned in a mental hospital to assumedly be studied and probed. It is now 40 years after the original events — Laurie Strode has become a hermit — after the trauma of the original happenings she apparently attempted to live a normal life, had a daughter, bought a house but — the specter of Michael — and the fact that he was just up the road at the Smith’s Grove hospital — led to her becoming a commando (think Sarah Connor) — stockpiling weapons and training her daughter in tactical weapons and hand to hand combat — which led to her daughter being taken away. Now 40 years later, the family is fractured, Laurie is a pariah and now a Grandma who lives life preparing for the inevitable — Michael’s escape.
In an opening sequence — that for me misses the mark — we are presented with the events that will lead to Michael once again roaming the streets of Haddonfield and then things are off to the races. Attempts are made to try and explain away some of the continuity issues that the voluminous sequels presented which honestly — if this is, in fact, to be taken seriously as a direct sequel, are pointless. The whole scene explaining away Laurie and Michael being brother and sister is pointless as in the 78 original, that is never mentioned — that twist did not occur until Halloween II which remember, for the sake of this story — did not happen. I don’t know — just came across as the scripters playing down to the lowest common denominator. I didn’t care for the scene and it felt awkward and clunky.
On the upside though — I loved the little visual homages that the filmmakers tossed in — that true fans will undoubtedly recognize and cheer. I also loved some of the iconic imagery that the filmmakers construct and pull off.
Most of my issues revolve around the story — or lack thereof — and in the end, things don’t really wind up ending much differently then they did with the original direct sequel to JC’s masterpiece. Just seems like a long journey to end up at the same place we started.
While the scripters did manage to concoct a tale that makes logical sense — I don’t think anyone took the time to figure out if the tale needed to be told, other then the obvious financial rewards that all involved will share.
Let me be perfectly clear — I’m not crapping all over this film — it has its moments and those moments are more than enough reason to plunk down the dollars and check it out. It is in no way a horrible film — I actually liked it quite a bit. I just didn’t love it.
I mentioned at the start of this that for me — this film must be looked at as two different films. As the aforementioned character study of Laurie Strode and her family — this one is a strong “inside the park” home run. Jamie Lee Curtis is dynamic as Laurie and her conviction for protecting her family — even though they all think she’s nuts — is believable and heart-wrenching. As we all already know — she’s the real deal and she certainly brings her A-game. The supporting cast of family members is equally as strong — and when we get the three generations of Strode ladies together — it’s a party for sure.
The second half of the puzzle — viewing the film as a direct sequel to 78, I’m afraid that I think the original Halloween II – the 1981 version, not that Rob Zombie directed floater from 2009 — still does a better job of giving us closure on the life and times of Michael Myers.
So, while it was great seeing Michael on the big screen again – this time when you look into the eyes of evil — all you’re going to see are dollar signs.
With that being said — I’m going to give this one 3 out of 5 rotten, deflated pumpkins (you’ll understand when you see the flick.)