Halloween slashes its way back to the top

Film Title: Halloween

It only took 40 years and 10 installments, but the horror classic Halloween finally has a sequel worthy of standing beside the original. 2018’s Halloween is crafted like a love letter that could have only been written by fans who wanted justice for the iconic slasher movie after too many failed attempts. This film, however, offers a fantastic imitation of the original’s atmosphere peppered with loving references and homages. Top that off with an updated version of the timeless theme music that undoubtedly started playing in your head the moment I mentioned it, and the whole thing sounds perfect. It almost is — as a Halloween fan, this movie is a ton of fun to watch. In general though, it may be somewhat underwhelming.

Halloween takes place 40 years after the original, but thankfully not 10 installments after — those have all been wiped clean off the board and have nothing to do with this film, meaning we can finally forget about them like we’ve been wanting to. Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, as if you didn’t already know) — a pairing I like to consider the ultimate “will they, won’t they”, albeit of the murderous variety — are facing off on the 40th anniversary of Myers’ 1978 Haddonfield killing spree. This time, though, Laurie’s got four decades of planning worthy of Doomsday Preppers on her side. Hopefully that’ll be enough to kill The Shape off once and for all — but knowing his track record (and, you know, the sequel that’s currently in development), it might not actually be that much.

Laurie’s family thinks she’s losing her mind and has cut her off due to her obsession with revenge on Myers, but once he’s free and begins re-imagining his killing spree, they quickly find they’ve got to stick together. The dynamic between the three generations of Strode women who are facing off against The Shape is easily its’ highest point. The dynamic between these three characters is realistic and even empowering to watch in their attempts to outsmart Myers.

Even a majority of the side characters have a real heart to them, often found in grounded dialogue and (usually) subtle humour (courtesy of those responsible for Pineapple Express and Vice Principals, and you can tell). This is both a highlight and a detriment of the film — when we don’t see much development in a character, it’s jarring. There are a few characters who we spend a fair amount of time with only to realize they’re just a walking plot point and nothing further. If a character’s entire purpose is to have a reason to leave another character without a phone, for example, following them around for a good portion of the film feels like a colossal waste of time.

Keep in mind, this is a film that had to be re-shot and edited down from its’ original state, and yet, you’re left feeling as though some of the bits left in — particularly in the beginning, the final block that marks the actual showdown feels untouchable — are unnecessary. Entire characters and subplots could have been cut out, feeling out of the place in the movie. There are incongruous scene changes where it clearly looks as though something is missing in between. Despite how much was obviously cut, a large chunk of the beginning still feels rushed, as though the writers were desperate to get the background information out of the way and finally arrive at the confrontation between Myers and the Strodes — although, I can’t fault them for that. It’s been four decades in the making.

While 2018’s Halloween falls flat in some regards, for the most part, it’s evident that this film was put together with care and a genuine desire to honor the original. There’s no phoning it in, no signs of slapping the Halloween name on the film for promises of money the franchise’s name offers. David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley may have not made the perfect film, but they’ve succeeded in crafting the ultimate declaration of appreciation to the original Halloween that will leave fans satisfied after too many underwhelming attempts in the past. If you were worried about walking in the theatre to another quick cash grab of a horror movie, don’t be. Just be worried about open closet doors and taking on babysitting jobs.

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