Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton
Director: David Gordon Green
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
To say that the Halloween series has gone through a severe rough patch is probably the understatement of the century. Ever since the first film came out, the series has been plagued with movies that either completely ignore the source material, have ridiculous concepts, or are led by acting that is absolutely pitiful. After 40 years of these movies coming out, all it took was a complete and total retcon of all films to come out after the original for another good movie to be made. While films two through ten range from mediocre to absolute dumpster fires, 2018’s Halloween is far and away the second best film in the franchise. Curtis is back to bring that dynamic performance we have all been waiting for, the score is incredible, and scares that keep you glued to the screen make Halloween one of the best horror movies of the year.
The film follows Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) as he escapes from his mental institution and goes back on a murdering spree that got him locked up 40 years ago. His main target is Laurie Strode (Curtis), the only survivor of Michael’s violence in 1978 who has suffered from PTSD since the attack and that has resulted in a strained relationship with her daughter Karen (Greer). Laurie has been preparing for Michael’s escape for years now and will make sure that only one of them will survive the night. The thing that I believe makes this new installment so great is the combination of talent that worked behind the screen. John Carpenter is back composing yet another haunting score that will stick with you long after the movie ends. The use of synthetic sounds to pay homage to the movies that made this franchise so successful in the first place not only sets a disturbing tone straight from the beginning, but also shows us that the film understands it origins. Outside of the score, I was a little nervous when I saw that Blumhouse would be one of the production companies involved in the making of this film, but I have to say their presence was a pleasant surprise. Blumhouse is usually pretty hit or miss with their films, but the effective use of gore and violence here may make Halloween one of the best films the studio has ever put out. These elements of violence and the score are flawlessly combined to instantly set a feeling of dread and tenseness that follows you through the film as if Michael was hunting you down as well. There are multiple moments where either you can barely catch your breath or your jaw is on the ground, and that is really all we can ask from a horror film. Regarding the acting, it is no surprise that Curtis is far and away the best actress in this film. Not only can she easily show us the long-term consequences that these traumatic events have had on her, but for an actress that is pushing 60, she can still handle action sequences like she was back in the original film. We learned so much more about the Strode family from this movie and Curtis is the only one who could have handled the pressure of a role like this so effortlessly. Even though the film is far and away one of the strongest horror movies of the year, that does not mean it is flawless. For one thing, I was not a huge fan of the jokes and light-hearted moments that were scattered throughout the movie. You can definitely tell these are the lines and moments that were written by Danny McBride, and while some of them were definitely enjoyable, others left me scratching my head and asking why. Other than that, I never really saw the need to include the two podcasters and their story. They were used almost exclusively as filler and to help move the story forward, but I never felt as if their presence was valuable at all. If you want to include a B-story that is absolutely fine, but you can at least make it something that people care about.
Overall, I am elated to see the Halloween franchise return to its former glory as the pinnacle of the horror movie industry. For too long we have suffered with uninspired retreads and boring reboots, but for once we got a sequel that lived up to the expectations of millions. I honestly hope there is not a sequel because this feels like the perfect way to end this beloved franchise, but if they choose to make another one, I hope they use the successful elements from this film and duplicate them in future ones.
Overall Score: 8.5/10