The Yin to Halloween’s (1978) Yang – Halloween (2018) Review

halloween reviewRelease Date: October 19th, 2018
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, and Virginia Gardner
Director: David Gordon Green
Studio: Miramax, Blumhouse Pictures
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Spoilers: Mild
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

Rating:

Forget everything you thought you knew about Michael Myers. Halloween is here, and this sequel to the 1978 original ignores every follow-up and remake that’s followed in the 40-year history. And that’s a lot to skip over.

Michael Myers has been one of the trinity of Slasher Villains (with Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, naturally) for so long, his mythos thoroughly muddled with over the span of now 11 films, it can be tough to keep making a compelling work. The Rob Zombie reboots of ’07 and ’09 didn’t evade this problem either. But now, 40 years on, Danny McBride of all people (as well as Jeff Fradley and director Green) have brought a worthy successor to the John Carpenter classic.

Ignoring all the developments of the sequels, Halloween jumps back into Haddonfield, Ill in the modern day. Serial-esque podcaster are investigating what they call ‘The Baby Sitter Murders,’ so they find their way to the sanitarium holding Michael Myers. He has remained there, chained up, ever since the end of the first film.

He hasn’t said a word, and since his doctor, Haluk Bilginer as Dr. Ranbir Sartain, hasn’t made any progress with him he is to be moved to a new facility. The podcasters meanwhile connect with Laurie Strode, now forty years on from that fateful night and permanently altered by it. She is prepping for Michael’s inevitable return. And wouldn’t you know it? The transport of Michael Myers doesn’t go well…

The movie is a truly satisfying company piece to a horror classic from the past. They ignore the convoluted mythos built by later movies, the relationship, the nature of Michael, to build their own whole cloth. If it wasn’t in the first movie, it has no bearing in their canon, and it works so well for them.

By stripping away all those excesses, they are able to look at the core with fresh eyes. What does surviving a murder spree like that do to someone? What does the experience do the person who did it? The movie concerns itself with that relationship more than anything else. Laurie has grown up, she has had a life since but it isn’t free from the trauma of that event.

Halloween mirrors the original in plenty of novel ways, as well as direct references to the original, just slightly skewed or twisted. The roles of hunter and hunted at times switch, as they spiral together for another meeting. It’s amazing they were able to so cleverly craft a companion to that original 40 years on with as much baggage as the story has. It feels as if it was always meant to be the second half, we just had to be patient.

Halloween is a more than worthy follow up to the classic, in theaters everywhere.