500 Days Of Film Reviews Halloween Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer And Andi Matichak
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) faces 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.
Is It Any Good?
I make a point of avoiding as much information about a film as possible before its theatrical release. Trailers, of course, are a challenge but I always save reviews, podcasts and feature articles until after I have watched the movie (when I pretty much consume them obsessively).
However, I made an exception with Halloween (2018) and listened to two interviews featuring Jamie Lee Curtis. I found her thoughts on the film to be both relevant and fascinating - particularly when you view this film from Laurie Strode’s perspective.
Laurie is, after all, a woman who - 40 years after suffering horrific abuse at the hands of a monstrous man - finally gets the chance to confront the attacker who has impacted her life. From this point of view, Halloween couldn’t feel more timely.
Jamie Lee Curtis is so engaging and compelling when talking about Laurie that she increased my (albeit wary) excitement for Halloween, which is the sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 original (and pretends, for better and worse, that the other movies in the franchise do not exist).
I was, therefore, eager to watch Laurie’s story. Meanwhile, I was also looking forward to David Gordon Green’s depiction of the impact Laurie’s trauma has had on both her daughter and granddaughter.
Sadly, I left Halloween feeling disappointed. Yes, the trauma is there in Jamie Lee Curtis’s powerful performance but it is not examined beyond her strung out preparedness for Michael’s return.
As a result, her daughter, Karen (played by the always brilliant and typically underused Judy Greer) is hugely underwritten and her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), is resigned to a slightly more interesting but, ultimately, conventional role of slasher teen.
This disappointment aside, it still felt good to see Michael Myers back on the big screen (particularly as he is accompanied by John Carpenter’s wonderful score). Michael is such an undeniable horror icon that, 40 years on, he still has the ability to make you feel unsafe.
David Gordon Green’s film contains several effective, brutal and scary set pieces that make full use of Michael’s plodding relentlessness. Characters urge him to explain himself - including two of the most irritating podcasters in cinema history - but he refuses to elaborate (beyond the language of stabby stabby).
You can almost sense the film’s giddy excitement at bringing Michael back to life again. Unfortunately, on occasion, this leads Halloween to encourage an element of fist pumping hero worship - not an entirely comfortable feeling about such a truly monstrous character.
I also struggled with Halloween’s humorous tone. Occasionally (and particularly in the babysitting scenes), the comedy works - making you care about the people involved. However, other “funny” moments are needlessly distracting, ruining the tension and taking you out of the movie altogether.
Halloween’s final act is a mixed bag of genuine cat and mouse scares (and not always in the way that you might expect), silly plot developments and ridiculous decision making. Seriously people, have you never seen a horror movie?
Overall, I enjoyed David Gordon Green’s Halloween - it certainly knocks spots off some of the other films in this long-running franchise. However, I didn’t love this movie and, as a result, am wary of the new series that inevitably lies ahead.
Have you seen Halloween?
If you have, what did you think of this film? Let me know in the comments section below or via Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.