Home Reviews ‘Halloween’ Review: An Icon Returns to Give Us All Nightmares

‘Halloween’ Review: An Icon Returns to Give Us All Nightmares

written by Damian Gordon October 22, 2018
Michael Myers in Halloween

Halloween is one of the best horror films this decade. The film spins horror tropes on its head. It sprinkles in entertaining dialogue and tense action scenes to make a classic for a new generation. Halloween centers on Laurie Strode coping with her family decades after the events of the first film. Micheal Myers has been in locked for decades and is being transferred, things go sideways and all hell breaks loose as Micheal paints the town red in search of Laurie.

I don’t like horror films these days because they do the whole “oh look the chair slightly moved!” gimmick and call it a day. Not here – Halloween wants to make you squirm in your seat and shout incoherently.

The suspense in this movie is top notch. It continuously builds in pummeling waves that leaves you an anxious wreck. There are plenty of moments when I shushed my girl for screaming loudly, only for her to say that was me. I didn’t know my voice can go that high. Well done, Halloween, well done.

‘Halloween’ just got better this year

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Stode being attacked in Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis acts her butt off as Laurie Strode. She is still haunted by Micheal’s devastation decades later. Curtis gave her all as if someone was really waiting off-screen with a knife if she didn’t knock it out the park.

Laurie may be messed up for life, but she is a certified badass and a worthy foe for Micheal. She has been preparing for his eventual return, since the other movies after the first are non-canon now, because she died.

There are a lot of characters in this film with little attempt to give them much development more than “Victim #5”. Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is an example of this as she serves no purpose throughout the whole film. She is one of the three leads, yet you could take her out the film and nothing changes. For the amount of time invested in her for no payoff would have been better spent on Vicky and the hilarious kid she babysits. They have the best scenes in the film outside of Laurie.

Last year’s It is a great horror film for many reasons; the first is creating characters you got invested in what happens to them. Then, the second reason is those named characters didn’t have to constantly die left and right; it was thrilling with situations, not body bags.

Micheal is a truly terrifying figure in the film as he is relentless, quick (for a guy that walks), and a strong antagonist for the cast. His heavy presence can be felt on screen and you sympathize with the people that have to go against this force of nature. Halloween takes a scorched Earth approach; if someone sees Micheal, it’s already too late. This would be fine if the movie stuck to this, but near the end, it becomes ridiculous who survives and who doesn’t.

What helps to flesh out these characters is the engaging dialogue. Conversations feel real and not like 40-year-olds are writing for teenagers. The writing keeps you engrossed in the interactions when horrific murder is not taking place.

The Old-New Face of Horror

Scene with sheet from Halloween

Halloween is very meta and self-aware of what it is and the genre tropes. It uses audience expectations for great use at times, while in other instances it can be annoying.

Man, a lot of kills in this movie could have been avoided easily… but you know white people. Micheal Myers easily walks into multiple houses to murder people. A lot of his victims left their door unlocked or plain open. There’s a joke in horror flicks that white people don’t fear anything, but not even robbery?

Too much killing is a problem I had. Hold on and hear me out. Yes, the big body count shows how badass Michael is. However, when victims stupidly get themselves killed, it makes me think if Michael didn’t get them, natural selection would have.

Costumes and set designs are on point. They help to set the eerie tone of the film. Lots of muted colors work with great lighting in many scenes to help make your arm hairs stand. The music sounds a bit dated on purpose and that’s fine. The score does its job of raising the intensity in scenes when needed, subtlety playing until frantically blaring in big moments.

‘Halloween’s knife isn’t too sharp in parts

Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie in Halloween

Expendable characters here may be cut-and-paste stereotypes, but it works for the purpose. It just sucks I was left wanting more from a lot of faces that were given little screen time. While Laurie is a great, interesting protagonist, the underused younger cast could have helped flesh things out.

There are a handful of scenes that could have either been cut down or cut completely. The film doesn’t feel long but has parts  that have no point or impact, like the prom. I don’t want to watch teens awkwardly dance and grind. Leave that for Drake and Millie Bobby Brown.

Also, the last third of the movie gets eye rolling absurd to the point where it feels like a different film. People start doing really stupid things they weren’t before for comedy or to pad it out until the awesome final showdown.

Overall

Most of Halloween‘s issues can be ignored because the product is so enjoyable to watch. It has the laughs, scares, and intensity that films in this genre lack today. This is a well-executed slasher film mixed with a tense thriller where survival is the game. Mike Myers has all the cheat codes to make a nightmare of what is left of your life.

When a movie like this gets the whole audience to jump and yell at the screen, you already know its about to be a fun night out with the squad.

What do you think about the Halloween series? Got any favorite recent horror films? Any horror tropes you hate? Leave your comments!


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