Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, and Andi Matichak
Brushing off Michael Myers for yet another movie was a good choice for the 40th anniversary of the 1978 classic Halloween, especially with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode, the woman we’ve grown to identify with for so many films. Director David Gordon Green clearly learned from Rob Zombie’s take of Myers with shots showing Myers lurking in the background and moving toward his goals, but also by keeping encounters with Myers restrained. The result is a taut thriller with some enjoyable slasher gore and violence. The boogeyman is back, and he feels more real than ever before.
It’s normal for horror fans to root for the killer, but the film frames each scene in such a way that we care more about the characters connected to Laurie and feel for them when Myers inevitably renews his hunt. Callbacks to previous Halloween films will also please the long-time fans who may be a bit wary of a harsh reboot of the franchise; director David Gordon Green, also co-writer alongside Danny McBride, explicitly stated it is a continuation of the original classic. As a result, this is a crowd-pleasing slasher horror that earns its R rating, and the tension stays strong throughout as we follow Laurie and Michael toward their inevitable clash. And boy does Laurie bring the firepower! It’s satisfying to watch her move beyond the Final Girl trope into a character all her own. She’s a hybrid of Burt from Tremors and Sara Connor, and it’s glorious.
Overall, Halloween (2018) isn’t the goriest slasher film in the industry, but it does well by trading some of the usual gore escalation for psychological tension and the pervasive feeling that Myers is lurking everywhere and could emerge at any time. The cinematography is intense and well-developed, adding a new level of sophistication to the film franchise that started it all. Most of the effects look practical and believable. The shots are clean and well-edited, the pacing is direct, and the director clearly knows his audience. Whether you like slashers, psychological tension, or just want some good scary fun for Halloween, this one is a welcome treat in a film landscape full of tricks.
Reviewed by Kelley M. Frank