The title of this post could be confusing. To clarify, I’m referring to the latest film to be titled Halloween in a franchise wrought with enough retcons and reboots, they make the fact that there have been three actors to play Spider-Man on the big screen in less than a decade seem almost normal.
I won’t get into the details of what makes the Halloween franchise confusing. Or what makes it make sense. All you need to know going into the newest Halloween movie is that it is a direct sequel to the 1978 classic, Halloween. Pretend like none of the other movies featuring psychotic killer, Michael Myers, ever even existed (even though some of them are actually pretty good and definitely worth seeing).
There are plenty of places on the internet, I’m sure, that break down the franchise and explain how each movie potentially fits into one timeline or another. This just isn’t one of those places. I’m sure Google can point you in the right direction if you ask the right question…
Anyway, this is just supposed to be your standard movie review. So let’s get to it, shall we? And as with any review I do on my blog, there’s a chance that spoilers will appear at some point. I don’t actively go into one of these posts with the intention of spoiling the plot for anyone, but it could happen from time to time.
Halloween begins 40 years after the original Halloween ends. Fitting, since this is the 40th anniversary of John Carpenter’s classic slasher flick. Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role of Laurie Strode, the one that got away, the character that became the standard for all the girls who end up being the sole survivor in horror movies. But she’s definitely not the carefree Laurie Strode who spent her Halloween night babysitting all those years ago.
Yes, she survived a night of horror when Michael Myers escaped from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. He killed several of her friends, but Laurie somehow outwitted the man whom Dr. Loomis referred to as evil incarnate. But, as we see today, Laurie did not come out on the other side of her encounter with Michael unscathed.
Sure, there’s the scar on her arm where the killer took a swipe at her. But the real scars that Laurie has to deal with are the psychological ones. To say she dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder would be a severe understatement.
We gather, from exposition, that the last 40 years have not been kind to Laurie, as she has spent her time preparing for the eventuality that Michael Myers would one day return. She could probably get her own episode of Doomsday Preppers. All of that preparation has turned her into something of a Terminator 2-esque Sarah Connor type. And it’s caused many (if not all) of her relationships to suffer.
Laurie has a very tenuous relationship with her daughter and granddaughter. But because of the way Laurie has prepared, and because of the way she raised her daughter, they are more ready for Michael’s return than they know.
And return he does. Of course. It’d be a pretty dull movie if all it showed was Laurie shooting mannequins and setting traps around her home while Michael rotted inside Smith’s Grove for two hours. Well, 40 years and two hours.
The kill count is significantly higher in this modern version of Halloween than it was 40 years ago. I actually tried to keep count… but I lost the number somewhere in the teens. And it was definitely a bit gorier than the original. I guess you have to be in this post-Saw world of horror movies. But I did appreciate that it was nowhere near as gory as those movies.
Something else I appreciated in the new movie is that it returned to the simple idea that Michael is just evil. He has no motive. He has no emotion. He only has the instinct to kill. So many of the sequels attempted to answer the why behind Michael’s actions. In doing so, they attempted to humanize Michael. In my opinion, Halloween is a much scarier story when you just don’t know what makes the guy in the Shatner mask tick.
I will say, as I sat and watched the movie, I had a hard time swallowing Laurie’s 40 years of PTSD. That’s probably because, in spite of the experience I have in the mental health profession, I’ve never come across anyone with post-traumatic stress disorder. I don’t know how it typically affects a person, or if there’s even anything typical about it. But, watching the movie, I wanted to scoff… I wondered how one night could have such a profound effect on one person’s life for so long, going so far as to causing an obsession with the man who attempted to murder her.
But I’ve never been there. I don’t know how a teenage girl would respond in that circumstance, or how it would change her years down the road.
Halloween was good… not great. For me, it may be the best Halloween sequel that there is. Or it might be a close second behind H20: 20 Years Later. It had its weak spots, but they aren’t enough to turn me away from the franchise. I’ve found something to enjoy about all of the films in this series, and if another one is eventually made, I have no doubt that I’ll see it on the big screen as well.