The original Halloween was released in 1978 and opened up a whole new horror genre in the form of the ‘slasher’. It also introduced us to the horror icon, the seemingly unkillable Michael Myers.
What followed in the years to come were several inferior sequels that never quite matched the original. It’s now safe to say that the new Halloween (which in fact ignores all the sequels and acts as a direct follow up to the original) has finally given fans and new audiences a reason to be afraid of the boogeyman.
Set forty years after the events of the original, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has far from forgotten the past, turning her house into a fortress, with an arsenal of weapons in preparation for Michael Myers’ return. This behaviour has cost her her family and reputation, as she willingly tries to warn and ultimately prepare everyone for what’s to come. Her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) does her best to keep Laurie’s influences away from her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), but when the inevitable happens, it may be too late.
What makes Halloween work this time around is the respect and influence of the original film. Without feeling like a gimmick, director David Gordon Green makes it feel like we’re transported back into the 70’s by shooting in a very old-school approach. There aren’t any flashy edits, cheap jump-scares or fancy camera angles. The movie simply plays out in widescreen and has some great intense moments, including a great final showdown between two horror icons.
It’s not without its minor flaws, however. Some of the characters come off quite clichéd, so you already know who isn’t going to make it to the end right after their introduction. This doesn’t deter from the entertainment factor whatsoever; it just comes off a little stale. And considering the pedigree behind the scenes, you feel like they could have done better. You can tell everyone had a blast making the movie though, keeping this version in the true spirit of its predecessor.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns with great presence as Laurie Strode, giving her a great mix of vulnerability and kick-ass heroism at the same time. It’s as if she never left the franchise and gives it her all in a bid to rid the world of Michael Myers once and for all, no matter how hard that may be. The supporting cast does fine, but some exceptional performers are wasted, such as the reliable character actor, Will Patton, who plays Officer Hawkins.
Director David Gordon Green clearly has a soft spot for the original and keeps its spirit alive, even with the gore factor much higher this time around. It’s also worth noting that his co-writer happens to be comedian Danny McBride, and together they pull off what appears to be a childhood dream of theirs. They understand Michael Myers so well and keep the mystery and motivations of his actions, eerily without motive.
When all is said and done, Halloween doesn’t really break any new ground in the horror genre, but what it does do is give horror fans the reappearance of Michael Myers that they’ve been dying for. The masked killer’s return certainly gives you a good reason to check your bedroom closet at night and with that, the iconic slasher mantle has most certainly been claimed for now.
Jake Gyllenhaal had convinced Jamie Lee Curtis to reprise her role of Laurie Strode for the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is a family friend of Curtis’ and is dubbed by her an unofficial godson.