Halloween: A Sequel 40 Years in the Making

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Halloween: A Sequel 40 Years in the Making

Jack Corcoran, Staff

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For the first time since Rob Zombie’s 2009 disappointment known as Halloween II, Michael Myers is back stalking and slashing on the silver screen, and, boy, what a return it was. This movie is a direct sequel to the original from 1978, establishing very early on that it is ignoring all the events of the original sequels.

Halloween starts off slow, chronicling two British true crime podcasters as they investigate the old Myers murders, opening with a very chilling visit to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where Myers has been held captive for the past forty years. Much like the original, Myers escapes from his transfer bus, returning home to increase the body count and to hunt down the object of his fixation, the one victim that was able to get away from Myers: Laurie Strode.

Strode is played brilliantly by the always amazing Jamie Lee Curtis, who is reprising the role that established her career as an actress. Curtis brings toughness to the role of Laurie, who is suffering from PTSD, obsessively plotting and planning for Myers’ inevitable return to Haddonfield. The whole movie is driven by its amazing performances, including Judy Greer as Strode’s resentful daughter Karen, Andi Matichak as Strode’s granddaughter Allyson, and James Jude Courtney as Myers for most of the film, save for a brief cameo by the original actor, Nick Castle.

However, the committed performances by the actors can only cover up so much from Halloween’s basic and by-the-numbers plot that pretty much consists of killer escapes, killer kills teenagers, and killer supposedly gets captured/killed only to be brought back for the inevitable sequel. There’s not much more to the movie than that. Without getting into spoiler territory, there is also a twist towards the end of the film that ends up going nowhere.

Also, the film has a few issues with pacing as well. The movie starts off slow, much like Carpenter’s original, which is okay considering that it helps to build up the main characters. However, it quickly jumps from that to Myers stalking the streets, unlike in the original where Myers is integrated into the plot. And for every thrilling sequence between Myers and Strode, there a few random scenes sprinkled in with worthless teen drama.

There are also way too many characters for you to care about in a 90-minute movie. Unlike in the original, where there were only three or four main characters for the story to focus on, this film suffers from the same syndrome that many other slashers suffer from: introducing characters for the sole purpose of padding the body count.

Director David Gordon Green, while talented, makes it painfully clear that he doesn’t understand the minimalistic approach that Carpenter had in the original movie. While the long, tracking shots of Michael walking through Haddonfield are technically brilliant, it takes away from his mystique of the Shape and the paranoia that the original made you feel.

To supplement the lack of natural scares, Green amps up the gore, going for the shock factor of the later Halloween flicks instead of the suspense of the original. One thing that does amp up the suspense, however, is the amazing score by original composer and director John Carpenter. He effectively modernizes the original score, a perfect accent to Myers and the terror he makes you feel.

However, most of the movie just build-up to what is the best part of the movie, the inevitable showdown between Michael and Laurie. Without giving it away, it is intense, terrifying, intensely satisfying, and surprisingly funny. While not being nearly as good as the original (I doubt any Halloween movie can reach that echelon again), this movie is still lightyears better than any of the original sequels or remakes, even with its multitude of flaws.