According to my math, the new ‘Halloween’ film (titled, aptly enough, ‘Halloween’) will be the ninth installment in the horror series.
Nine films. That’s not an idea that’s getting tired, that’s outright exhaustion.
Now, for the good news – somehow, this sequel is very, very inspired. I’d even go as far as to say, it’s a very, very good idea. And close….oh, so close…to being a great film.
What director David Gordon Green does, with the blessing of franchise creator John Carpenter who executive produces (the first ‘Halloween’ picture he’s had any involvement in since the Reagan administration), is wipe clean the existence of ANY of the sequels. Like, they’re gone. That means the new ‘Halloween’ is a direct follow-up to the events in the 1978 original. Cool.
And essentially, that means this film is as much about Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as it is about the maniacal killer, Michael Myers. It was Strode that Myers relentlessly stalked 40 years ago, it was Strode that escaped, and now, with her living with a vicious case of PTSD because of that night in Haddonfield, Illinois four decades ago, it’s Strode that’s licking her chops in anticipation of a bloody showdown with her tormentor.
Green is obviously a fan of Carpenter’s groundbreaking style, for his ‘Halloween’ is, for the most part, a crackling homage to the classic that preceded it. He uses lurking cinematography and that eerie score to build the tension. There really IS more of a focus on Strode’s trauma (Curtis gives her best performance in years, here) than on the sub-plot slicing-and-dicing that Myers does once he makes a break while transferring institutions.
Unfortunately, perhaps because Green is younger and fearful of a 2018 audience’s lack of patience, the home stretch dissolves into your basic hack-em-up cluster of loud “boo!” jumps and relatively dumb moves by the protagonists, which I suppose is a necessity in any film like ‘Halloween’ – I just wish, given the encouraging thought BEHIND this baby, they would’ve kept the smarts intact the entire way.