*Spoiler Alert: The following movie ‘review’ contains certain plot elements- such as the beginning, the middle and the end.
I thought maybe this latest incarnation of Halloween was going to make me pine for the days of eight track tapes, boom shakalaka vans and reckless hair. But nope, that’s not where the Danny McBride and David Gordon Green’s sequel to the shape lives at all as it picks up forty years after the original movie. It’s a modern day slasher flick dressed in an old ghost story and it aspires to be both at the same time. Sometimes it works, and sometimes . . not so much.
McBride and Green are ambitiously dedicated to the franchise, and I dig that very much. Their decision to wipe the timeline clean and to pick up where the first movie left off was inspired. Their idea to frame Myers murder spree in the original movie as random in nature, and not an evil obsession to end the family bloodline was reminiscent of In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter. Because fratricide is something every sibling has contemplated, but a totally random killing is more chilling than a Shackleton Martini.
And hey . . don’t take my word for it. Watch this one take scene where Michael borrows a knife from a random victim. I should supply a word of warning that Michael doesn’t borrow things in the traditional sense of the word. It’s more like stealing . . with lots of mangled body parts. Fucking guy . . .
Bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis was a sublime stroke of genius. In reprising her role as Laurie Strode, Curtis is the most believable- and enjoyable part- of the film. She plays a gun hoarding hermit who has been preparing for Myers return for the last forty years. She lost her family in the process, but is ‘vindicated’ when Myers escapes and returns to Haddonfield to hunt her down. And inviting the original ‘Shape’- Nick Castle- to don the mask (even if only for a hot second) was a cool hat tip. So with all that, I was digging more than a private investigator working on commission.
Here is what I ain’t dig so much . . .
In trying to appeal to a new audience whilst catering to those of us who were around for the original release, the movie comes off as unfocused. We’re introduced to investigative journalists Dana Haines and Aaron Korey- whose only purpose, it seems, is to reunite Michael with his mask. And it kinda pisses me off that Rob Zombie was criticized for portraying Michael as a terminator-like slasher rather than a supernatural ninja whose dedication to his craft was subtle and spooky and altogether kooky. Because in the 2018 Halloween, Myers is . . . you guessed it, a terminator-like slasher. There ain’t no subtlety to him. His kill scenes are every bit as grotesque and demonically mechanized as Zombie’s. And I have no beef with that. I just think my man Rob was an easy target thanks to the pissing contest he engaged in with Carpenter back in the day, but whatever.
The creepy Dr. Ranbir Sartain (played by Haluk Bilginer) brings a story line I had the most trouble with. Sartain is the protege to the since deceased Dr. Loomis, and he is nuttier than a Twin Peaks convention. In the movie’s home stretch, we come to learn the depths of the bad doctor’s obsession with Michael Myers. He prevents the local Sheriff from putting a bullet through Michael’s head . . by murdering him. After which he gives Laurie’s granddaughter and Michael Myers a lift back to Laurie’s crib so they can, yanno . . resolve their differences. It’s in this scene that we come to realize the doctor was responsible for Myers escape, the Patriots sustained success and the selfie. Of course, the doctor is such a fucking whack that he never stops to consider what happens when you cozy up to a spring-loaded temperament under high duress. Until Myers turns him into spaghetti squash with his boot.
After which we get, the showdown. Michael versus Laurie. Because the more things change, the more this franchise will keep going back to the same bloody well. These two are so inextricably linked to the franchise that to kill one of them is to kill both of them. Which is what I was hoping for, all the while knowing it was never gonna happen. Because there’s sequels in them Hollywood Hills, and yanno . . .
So long story short . . Michael ends up at Laurie’s compound and he is majorly pissed at having been led all over town by Dr. Strangelove. So he takes out Laurie’s son in law first, and she’s like “Mikey , that doesn’t make up for all the shit you’ve put me through for the last forty years, but thanks for trying . .”. And then Laurie’s granddaughter shows up since all her friends are dead thanks to Michael, and now Laurie’s daughter has to draw on her fucked up survivalist upbringing to save the day because Mom is using a shotgun to kill Michael when a Bazooka would’ve been a much better idea.
So the three girls end up hiding in the basement as Michael searches the place for someone to dismember. Laurie decides to shoot into the floorboards and in so doing, officially becomes the worst participant in hide and seek . . . ever. So Michael disassembles the kitchen island and somehow . . the girls sneak past him. It’s not nearly as easy as I’m making it out to be, but ridiculous nonetheless.
As Michael climbs the steps, Laurie activates ginormous wooden spikes that sprout from the walls and it all becomes clear. Her compound was never meant to be a cage . . it was meant to be a trap, for Michael. The girls post a couple pics on Instagram before Laurie lights the place on fire and they skip the scene. As flames engulf the compound, Michael is nowhere to be seen and then . . after the credits start rolling, we hear that infamous heavy breathing once again.
Despite my snarky fucking manner, I did like the film and I’m giving this sequel a solid 3.5 out of 5. I loved the score, the kill scenes, the mask and the jump scares. And I love that it made me have to run back to the original, which is the gold standard for the genre.
I’ll leave you with a dedication made possible by those frugal geniuses at Blumhouse Productions who made this puppy on 10 million bucks and are killing it (pun intended) at the box office to the tune of 100 million and counting. I mean, it’s raining so hard that JLC is talking up a rematch with Myers.
So here’s the song I want them to play at the conclusion of the sequel to this sequel. As Laurie stands over Michael’s cold and lifeless body whilst swigging a bottle of whiskey, she looks down at the mask and spits the words we’ve been longing to hear.
Boogeyman my ass . . .