Halloween is a strange franchise. The first movie is arguably the greatest slasher movie of all time. The sequels however, are among some of the worse in movie franchise history. There have been attempts to recreate the magic of the first movie by bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis a few times, but rarely do those movies work. Rob Zombie tried rebooting the franchise in typical Rob Zombie style, to debatable success. Now we have Halloween 2018, a movie which is a direct sequel to the first and ignores 40 years of sequel history.
To my great delight, it works. I would say this movie is as good as the original, which is something I never thought I would be saying. Maybe it is John Carpenter’s new music which makes the movie feel so sinister, or maybe it is Jamie Lee Curtis’s involvement as a producer which gets the important parts right, but whatever the reason, the movie is fun, scary and chilling.
One element that worked for me is Jamie Lee’s character of Laurie. Ever since Terminator 2, we as audiences have been taught that if a woman survives a killer than she transforms into a bad ass in later movies. That’s cool and I am all for it, in this movie, Laurie comes across as a bad ass AND someone deeply traumatized by what she went through. Sure, she shoots guns, trains in fighting and has a secret bunker but she also has shaking fits when she sees Michael and breaks into tears during confrontations. Every cool thing she does to fight back is made ten times more impressive by the fact that you know Laurie is scared shitless doing it. That’s a powerful detail that resonates with me, and is true of most trauma survivors I know in real life.
Another element I enjoyed was the obsession some characters had with finding out what makes Michael Myers tick. These characters are fixated on the fact Michael has never spoken or explained his actions. They pester Michael and other characters to provide clues for Michael’s psyche, as if there can be some great rational theory that explains everything. This quest for answers is a human thing to do, but it is also a movie audience thing to do, as the audience craves anwsers. Studios crave anwsers too, which is why we get reboots with extended scenes about Michael’s childhood.
But the theme of Halloween almost anti-intellectual. Laurie, the heroine, and the late Dr. Loomis, the therapist who knew Michael best, simply state that there is no understanding of Michael because he is pure evil. It is a the opposite of everything we are taught in a world that puts psychological forensic science on a pedestal. It is also against out forgiving nature to think that every bad person has a reason. The idea that some people are just monsters is too frightening to comprehend. The movie even takes time to wipe out the theories put in past movies that Laurie is related to Michael. They want to make it clear that Michael has no reason, rational or irrational, for hunting Laurie.
As for the rest of the movie, I really enjoyed it. Michael, who is really just a bastard in a mask, is terrifyingly efficient in this movie. He is like a shark that finds a deadly object, then finds someone to use that object on, and then looks for a new toy and a new victim. Rinse, wash, repeat. Sometimes he mutilates the bodies and poses them in Halloween theme displays. Why? Who the fucks knows.
So you should go out and watch the movie in theaters while you can. After you do so, be sure to pick up the soundtrack so you can never rest easy in your house again.