Halloween 2018 Review

40 years ago, John Carpenter pretty much created the slasher genre- whereupon a group of biologically curious teenagers are picked off one by one by a masked unstoppable killer who goes by the name of Michael Myers who… “can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

In fact, Myers has Less of a backstory than The Terminator! Myers has no backstory, no explanation of why he does what he does, or even if he’s human or just some ancient, primal force of evil that can only be slowed down but never stopped. He never speaks and the fact that you NEVER see his actual face means that you can’t even read his emotions, a slight head tilt is all your going to get.

He was the first of so many copy’s that it’s insane. But, to my mind? He’s the best. Even if legal issues prevented that legendary mask from being in Baby Driver.

Anyway, this film is set 40 years after the original and joins me in ignoring every single sequel that this franchise churned out. Especially Halloween III: Season of the Witch. That was just…. weird.

Anyway, back to the 2018 offering and it’s a relatively familiar tale. Myers escapes and begin murdering everyone he meets on his way to a final confrontation with Laurie Strode (played by the always and eternally great  Jamie Lee Curtis).

And there is a lot here that’s really, really good. From the moment that iconic theme starts playing you get a sense that this is made by people who get that Myers is a force of nature. I loved that so many people are driven to understand him and frustrated even to the point of madness by Myers refusal to engage with them in any way, shape or form. Which drives a lot of the first act as people try so hard to project what they think must be going on in Michael’s head even as they are told again and again (mostly by Curtis) that their overthinking  Myers.

I even enjoyed some of the films kills, but I find it interesting that in the original film, the body count is a mere 6 (5 if you don’t include a German Shepard). Here? That total is surpassed before the end of the first act! Also, where the first was relatively chaste with it’s violence and quite graphic with it’s nudity, this version is ridiculously graphic with it’s violence and really chaste with it’s nudity. Maybe there’s some sort of comment there on how society has become more open in some ways and yet more prudish in others but i’ll let those with more free time then me pick it apart.

Jamie Lee Curtis is fantastic but she’s basically Sarah Connor Mark 2 who has tried to raise her daughter and granddaughter to be ready for a inevitable conflict that they don’t seem to realize is coming. I enjoyed the doctor who has spent his life studying Michael and, and….

It’s a clone, ok.

I was really trying hard to get into this film because Blumhose make amazing low budget films and I love pretty much everything they do. I love the cast and the way that the iconic theme music is used. I love that Carpenter was involved, but….

There is a difference between making nods to the original and lifting whole scenes, almost frame by frame and giving everyone a smartphone. Scenes that in the original had me scared and worried, here just made me check off an imaginary checklist. And the ending? Well, that’s twenty minutes that could have been handled so much better. I get what it was trying to go for but towards the end it was verging on the slapstick! Pointless slapstick as well. You could have removed it with a slight rewrite and lost nothing at all.

And there were so. Many. Characters. People forget that the first Halloween film was a low budget, stripped down film with no-body there that didn’t need to be there. Here? There were so. Many. Characters who existed purely to die. Half the films body-count could have been removed and nothing would have changed except the run-time.

When it was setting the scene it was interesting, when it was a Halloween film in the second act it was tense, when it was in the third act… it was fine but overlong by the end.

When it’s a modern reboot it’s tense but pointless, well acted and with a few interesting ideas but it goes on too long and it wastes a fairly interesting twist late in the third act. It takes too long to let Myers get on with his thing and to be honest?

I’d still take the original any day of the week.

Halloween 2018 is fine, nowhere near as good as the original but it was never going to be. I saw it, liked it but the more I check my notes, the more I realize that it was fine and all the bits that worked were lifted almost frame by frame from the original. Strip out the last third, reduce the run-time to the 90 minutes  that films like this need to have in a bid not to overstay their welcome.

What a shame.

My Score- If Nothing Else 

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