By Ryan Keating-Lambert
Halloween is an exhilarating and entertaining horror film that’s not only one of the best recent slashers, but the best outing in the franchise for a long time. Bloody good fun.
Directed by David Gordon Green (Stronger, Prince Avalanche), Halloween sees a reclusive Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) take on her murderous brother Michael Myers 40 years after that iconic night of horror in the small American town of Haddonsfield.
This time though, she’s prepared with rifle in hand. 40 years of intensive military-like training and preparation may have lost her custody of her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) but that doesn’t stop an extremely paranoid and even senile Laurie from protecting her family and teenage granddaughter when Myers escapes a mental institution after a bus transfer accident.
This is an excellent Halloween movie and Blumhouse productions probably has a lot to do with that. The company led by horror producer extraordinaire Jason Blum is responsible for some of the most recent hits in the genre’s current renaissance, including last year’s Oscar winner Get Out.
Indie director David Gordon Green’s influence clearly needed to happen to breathe some life back into this franchise, not to mention John Carpenter’s return to the franchise, for the first time in almost 40 years, as executive producer which no doubt helped this film gain momentum with horror fans. It’s a gorgeous homage to the original 1979 film but also firmly stands on it’s own two feet.
Jamie Lee Curtis, who also helped produce the film, hits the ball out of the park with her return to Laurie, a character that has been used and abused over the course of several failed sequels. Here she gets to shine as an unforgiving and brutal warrior driven only by savage revenge. There’s definitely some Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley vibes in there. She’s terrific.
The slasher genre has virtually exhausted itself in recent years and had almost nowhere to run to. The genre became the ‘girl running up the stairs instead of out the front door’ trope that Wes Craven’s Scream movies made so much fun of. I mean, how original can you get with such a formulaic genre?
Halloween proves otherwise with its generous body count comprised of deaths that are both creative and equally suspenseful. That gas station bathroom scene is chilling and so well-paced, not to mention the explosive finale.
It’s also shot beautifully. Director of photography Michael Simmonds carefully reveals the scares over several nail-biting shots. Why is it that so many horror movies are tempted to show everything at once? I’m looking at you, IT.
John Carpenter fans will really dig this film, especially in the tense opening scene with two investigative journalists attempting and failing to interview Myers. The hair-raising opening credits are right out of the original and so is Carpenter’s iconic main title theme.
Above all, it’s just liberating to see these two characters come head to head again. There’s a real focus on the whole ‘monster creating a monster’ thing which is nothing new really, but it’s just great to see Curtis take on that bitter warrior role.
Judy Greer is very much Judy Greer as always, and her husband is a little too annoying and unconvincingly dirty, what was with that? Otherwise, Halloween has a nice assortment or lovable and funny characters. It’s a film that is as entertaining as it is scary.
Everything leads up to that final showdown, and it does not disappoint. Go and see this movie. Even if you’re not a fan of horror, I think you’re still going to enjoy this.
Prague’s Kino Aero is hosting an exclusive double feature night with this film and the 1978 original back to back on Friday October 26th. See you there.