Release: 25th February 2019
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. She now faces a terrifying showdown when Michael returns to Haddonfield, Ill. — but this time, Laurie is ready for him. In Halloween (2018) Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
With more soft reboots than a Brexit negotiation, Halloween establishes yet another strand in the Michael Myers lore, as we are asked to forget EVERYTHING that went before and get the actual sequel to the 1978 original. And who better for the task than the minds behind Vice Principals, Eastbound and Down, and of course, Your Highness? (Yes, sarcasm). As you might imagine, the end result is a mixed back of fanboy nods and awkward laughs.
Halloween 2018 opens in a promising enough manner. Two utterly annoying ‘bloggers’ are granted access to see Michael at an asylum. Bathed in sunlight, Michael’s hulking presence still carries menace and makes good on conventions established in Carpenter’s first film. This is not a monster who hunts in patterns, he is not dictated to by moonlight or reason, and the first 10 minutes of Halloween 2018 is a reminder that, at its core, this franchise has always been about the faceless nature of this iconic character and the fear that brings; culminating in a bathroom scene already spoilt by the trailers. Then Toby Huss gets peanut butter on his ‘penis’, and the film gradually begins to lose credibility.
If you believe what David Gordon Green wants you to believe, Halloween 2018 is actually a story about women escaping the oppression of their past. If that were the case, then the film would devote a little more time to that theme. Instead, it is jammed in to the final moments, when the film remembers that it wants to be scary and inadvertently creates the most ridiculous house of horrors Kevin McCallister could every conceive. There is never a real sense of what Green what to say or do. One moment the film riffs on classic Halloween imagery (see a superb tracking shot charting Michael’s ‘trick or treating’ experience), while another is just lazy as hell (Laurie takes the place of Michael on a number of occasions). Myers pops in and out of the narrative, as does Laurie, while we have to endure scene after scene of irritating try hard comedians like Oscar and his lifeless hipster friend group. There is even a stereotypical black child to drop in a few “oh helllll, no!”’s and a “run, bitch!” for good measure.
At times, the film is spot on, while it more often than not falls in to the same traps that every other Halloween sequel does. Jamie Lee Curtis’ face might be in the frame, but this doesn’t have the same spirit as when we first saw her cowering in the darkness of Doyle residence in 1978. A better film would have been leaner and focused on the trauma suffered that night, rather than waste time on ancillary names and faces. Three generations of Strodes seems more than a trifle unnecessary, when the 2nd and 3rd ones are so damn boring. But for some reason, Hollywood has it in its head that we NEED to see young people getting slashed and impaled. There was a time where the shape of Michael Myers would terrify and unnerve audiences, that time has passed, so it is exhilarating on the few occasions when Green manages to evoke a similar sense of dread again here. But this is not sustained, it is uneven, and eventually Michael becomes that doddery blunderbuss we have come to feel so indifferent about. There was an opportunity here to completely re-define the myth of Michael Myers for modern audiences; to step away from the ridiculous nature of the canon sequels, and to erase the grott of the Rob Zombie reboots. Instead we get a couple of cool moments, and one or two great shots, mixed in with a lot of boredom and frustration. There’s life in this old dog yet, but like Stella, Michael Myers just needs to get his groove back.
Film Grade: C-
You don’t learn an awful lot from the special features, expect that Jason Blum is happy to wear sweatpants to a round table conversation. A few variants on the Making Of show a few nice behind the scene moments, while Carptener’s nepotism is on display in a little EPK about the music of the film. If you wanted to learn more about how the film was made or conceived, there are a few tidbits of trivia here, but nothing that really digs deep.
Special Features Grade: C-
More Meh-chal Myers than anything else, this is a missed opportunity dressed up in its Sunday best. Halloween is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.