Top positive review
A slash far above the rest
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2018
Halloween is directed by David Gordon Green and co-written by Danny McBride. It is the 11th movie of the significant horror franchise, which is by far my favorite of all the horror franchises. The first Halloween and each subsequent follow ups all hold a place, some more special than others, in my heart, yes, even Season of the Witch and the Rob Zombie movies. But this entry is something else entirely. Not only to me is it the best Halloween sequel, I also believe it is the best Halloween movie, the best slasher movie and one of the best horror movies of all time. Period.
The movie takes place 40 years after the original movie, ignoring all sequels in between. While this is not the first time they have done that, in fact this is the fourth alternate timeline in the series, this time however I believe they got it right. In a storyline reminiscent to Halloween H20, the main difference being instead of having Laurie Strode running away from her past, this time she is prepared for it, as the 40 years past has her spent honing her battle skills to ready herself for Michael’s impending return.
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode here gives a terrific performance that is rare among horror movies; more akin to a serious drama. Curtis is believable and nuanced, allowing the film to ground itself into a level of realism, divorcing itself from the goof and lunacy from earlier entries like The Curse of Michael Myers and Resurrection. Curtis is the backbone of the film and without her giving it 110 percent, the movie could have faltered and not worked at all.
Thanks to the grounded performances and direction, Michael Myers this time around feels much more menacing. Since the victims he kills feel way less like cannon fodders like in typical slasher movies, the overall tone of the character is darker and more mean-spirited. While still having some slasher tropes, the characters in the film feel more real than ever, so when scary moments hit, I genuinely wanted them to survive, but only for my heart to sink, when they bite the dust in the bloodiest, most disgusting, brutal way.
Michael Myers is a horror icon, but he has not been frightening since the original. As the series went on, he became a generic masked killer at best and laughable at worst. The reason for that is because the sequels simply do not know how to frame him. Ask yourself what makes someone scary? Absolutely not when you explain away his curse with Thorn and turn him into a hitman for a cult, or recount his white trash family backstory. None of that. Here he is just a highly resilient, deranged man, who lacks morals and empathy, and preys on one of mans’ primal fears - at any moment someone can break into your house and murder you for no reason and with no remorse.
The best scene of the movie is a tracking shot where we follow Michael through the neighborhood, breaking into people’s houses and murdering them in the grisliest way. The camera, the tension, the lighting, the kills all make it one of the best horror scenes of recent memory. And the final showdown between Laurie and Michael was cathartic and satisfying, having been built up throughout the entire film.
As for negatives, I kind of wished they show more of the holiday of Halloween. Yes, we get a Halloween dance and background scenes of children trick or treating, but something the past movies did absolutely right was capturing the spirit of the holiday that I felt this movie kind of just skimmed through. I wanted more walks through the autumn foliage and perhaps even a scene at a costume shop would have been appreciated.
With Laurie and Michael both working as characters for their different respective reasons, the rest of the technical aspect of the film is equally brilliant. The writing, directing and music (of which John Carpenter returned for) are all top-notch. Halloween 2018 is the best movie of the series for me, topping even the original because of the much more menacing nature of Michael Myers. The movie is a slash far above the rest of horror movies of the same vein. Halloween will satisfy those who are looking for a fun, jump scare-filled movie, as well as those who are looking for intense, arthouse horror.