By Mario Ricciardi
“Halloween” is probably the only movie series that requires the specific year after the title. Other movies have sequels, other movies have remakes, other movie have reboots. Only “Halloween” has all those things, plus three different installments with the same name.
Not to mention a standalone installment. There are a total of 11 movies in the franchise and “Halloween” (2018) takes a stab at honoring those originals and bringing something new to the table.
“Halloween” (2018) wipes away the sequels, reboots and spinoffs by directly taking place forty years after the end events of “Halloween” (1978). We pick up with an institutionalized Michael Myers, a mentally damaged and battle-ready Laurie Strode and a present-day Haddonfield, Illinois.
“Halloween” (2018) does a nice job bringing back the folklore of Myers, while turning the horror franchise into something more of a thriller. The new teenagers in the film are pretty okay at not being the caricatures of modern-day teens. It’s not totally obvious they were written by 40-year-old men.
The town and its residents display a pretty accurate middle America. Of course Halloween night gets pretty done-up, but the world the film exists in is almost as true to today as “Halloween” (1978) was to 1978.
Along with the atmosphere of the new film, I also really enjoyed Jamie Lee Curtis’ damaged Laurie Strode. Living in seclusion, Strode has lived in preparation for the day when Myers will return. By stocking up on guns, prepping a bunker and booby-trapping her house, she managed to cultivate a rocky relationship with her daughter and her daughter’s family. This family dynamic proves to be the most human element of the film.
The other characters aren’t given enough time to be flushed out. This includes Laurie’s granddaughter, her friends and local police officers. There are hints of deeper character development during their time on screen, but the movie quickly moves on to the thrills.
By following the supporting characters the movie gains a plot, but doesn’t earn much substance.
The other problem I had with the movie is Myers’ sense of direction. I get it, he’s a murder machine. I shouldn’t be looking too deeply into it, but I honestly have no idea how Myers knows his way around.
So spoiler alert, while transporting Myers to a new mental institution, he breaks loose and then proceeds to rack up a body count of 19 people, while assembling his iconic accessories (knife, mask, mechanic’s suit). I really don’t understand how he knows where his mask is and where Strode and her family’s individual residences are.
Regardless, he arrives and chills and thrills proceed. The film never becomes all that scary, but the suspense is exciting and rather rewarding when it comes to paying homage.
Overall, I had fun watching “Halloween” (2018), but it hardly owned up to the legacy of the franchise. That said, and my Penguin rating aside, you should go check “Halloween” (2018) out between now and October 31. It’s not a bad time and ’tis the season.
?? (2/5 Penguins)