Halloween (2018): Film Review

Following the success of John Carpenter‘s 1978 original of the same name, a franchise was born, spawning many instalments, a remake, a sequel of that remake etc etc. Thankfully, the 2018 film pretends these don’t exist (rightfully so) and acts as a direct sequel to the original.

Forty years have passed since the events of Halloween ’78 and Michael Myers is in a psychiatric hospital about to be transferred to another facility. Meanwhile, survivor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been preparing for years, convinced that she needs to be ready for when he returns to Haddonfield. Her singular fixation makes people question her mental health and caused her to lose custody of her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and that in turn strains her relationship with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).

I was blown away by what a good movie this was. Not horror, movie. Just like 2017’s It, the film is well written, smart and has drama and comedy, as well as scares. When I realised it was being produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum (known for films like Insidious, Paranormal Activity, The Purge), I feared it would be some cheap, shallow knock off filled with basic jump scares, but it is so much more. The writing is fantastic as are the characters old and new. They are fleshed out and we are given time to learn about them and their relationships, so we care so much more when they inevitably come face to face with Michael. There also is a genuinely surprising twist and a moment near the end (I won’t spoil) that literally made me cheer “yes!” SO satisfying!

The treatment of women in the 1978 version was not great. I watched it recently and besides Laurie, they were all sex obsessed and got naked (sometimes randomly). Thankfully the film has kept with the times and there is none of that- this film focuses on three generations of Strode women and they are empowered and get to kickass.

The 1978 version would have terrified and shocked audiences at the time, but naturally, that wouldn’t satisfy horror audiences now as they expect so much more. The horror here is faithful to the original and regularly takes inspiration from it, but it has been updated too – with some good jump scares, an intense sense of foreboding (the classic score helps), nerve-shredding and inventive set-ups to kills and a serious amount of gross, bloody violence.

The lead performances are superb, particularly Lee Curtis who has a lot more emotional and physical work to do this time. Laurie suffers from PTSD and has turned herself into a badass killing machine filled with revenge. Greer didn’t have too much to do throughout but she gets A MOMENT that is truly epic and made everybody cheer. Loved it. I wasn’t aware of Madichak before this but I will be from now on as she was a captivating presence and someone the audience could easily sympathise with.

There are a lot of secondary high school characters that don’t get fleshed out much, but I really liked Virginia Gardner as Allyson’s best friend Vicky, the only one representing the babysitters this time. I thought she was cool and her exchanges with Julian (Jibrail Nantambu), the boy she babysits, was some of my favourites in the film. He is hilarious and a total scene-stealer, and I would have liked more of them.

Halloween is so, so good. I wasn’t expecting it to be as well-made, fun and exciting as it was. I would happily watch it again and that’s saying something, considering I don’t like horrors very much.

In cinemas from Friday 19th October 

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