Michael deserves better
Technically the 11th film in the franchise, Halloween 2018 tries to eat its 40th-anniversary cake and have it too with a recipe that simultaneously reinvents itself (by ignoring all 9 of its fellow sequels as well as the lore associated with them) while still retaining the nostalgia factor of the original 1978 installment. The most important ingredients in that mix are Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as the classic “last girl”, Nick Castle as “The Shape”/Michael Myers, and original co-creator John Carpenter onboard as a composer, executive producer, and creative consultant.
But nostalgia must be the driving force behind the welcome reception Halloween 2018 has enjoyed from both critics and audiences alike, since it is a below average film, even given the low bar of a slasher flick. Certainly, there are some enjoyable callbacks to the original, including the opening titles and Carpenter’s insistent score. Some of the updates in 40 years’ time also help, with Strode becoming a gun-toting survivalist, training in anticipation of the night He Comes Home again. Too bad even that development devolves into an embarrassing glorified Home Alone sequence of events.
The script is largely awful; featuring dangling threads, amazing coincidences, superfluous subplots, an unsatisfying ending, a total lack of plot logistics, and — most damning – almost nothing new to say. What little modernizing that exists is wasted on a duo of the worst podcasters you will ever meet, and young men who still don’t know #timesup. The dialog serves up so much low-hanging fruit the eventual “Honest Trailer” almost writes itself. Also unhelpful is all the unmotivated activity from primary characters, unnecessary and flat secondary characters, Michael’s pointless dispatching of background characters, an overall lack of inventiveness masquerading as homage, choppy editing, and finally, Castle’s 2018 Myers has lost nearly all of his original mojo. Michael’s methodical pursuit style and robotic fluidity used to differentiate him from Jason’s thuggish brute in Friday the 13th and from Freddie’s cackling one-liners in A Nightmare on Elm Street, but no longer; he’s just another slasher, albeit a quiet one.
Halloween 2018 not only fails to live up to its classic roots, but it also fails to transcend them, buoyed only by the presence of Curtis, its franchise pedigree, and what one guy behind me described as “pretty cool deaths and shit,” which no doubt translates to “convincing effects.”
Runtime: 1 hrs. 49 min.
MPAA Rating: R
Directed by: David Gordon Green Writing
Credits: David Gordon Green (screenplay) & Danny McBride (screenplay) & Jeff Fradley (screenplay), John Carpenter (characters) & Debra Hill (characters)
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Nick Castle, Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton, Rhian Rees