Halloween (3 stars)

Halloween

David Gordon Green steps into the directors chair for this solid sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 slasher classic

Forty years after John Carpenter's 1978 original helped reinvigorate the ailing big-screen horror genre, director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Manglehorn, Stronger) reanimates the slasher classic for a new generation. In blending old ideas with modern sensibilities — both visual and thematic — this franchise reboot is more successful than Rob Zombie's 2007 reimagining and its 2009 sequel, but still lacks the visceral punch of Carpenter's original.

Ignoring the seven other films that have come in the years since (which, as well as Zombie's double take includes, most recently, Halloween: Resurrection in 2002) Green, who co-writes with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley, instead presents a direct sequel to the original. In this reimagined timeline, serial killer Michael Myers, who murdered his teenage sister when he was only a child and, 15 years later, dispatched several more one fateful Halloween night, has been locked in a maximum security prison for most of his life. When he manages to escape, it once again falls to one of his original targets, the long-suffering Laurie Strode (a sterling Jamie Lee Curtis) to stop him.

After a slow beginning, in which a pair of bloggers somehow manage to gain access to Myers and start a chain reaction which ends in him escaping and donning that now-grizzled mask, Halloween gets into its stride along with its unshackled boogeyman. As the body count ratchets up, Green includes some neat nods to the 1978 original while spraying the screen with modern levels of blood and gore.

Underneath all the carnage, there are some interesting ideas at play. Now a mother and grandmother, Laurie is forever changed by her experiences, her adolescent traumas shaping both her character and relationships with those around her. While she may be a hero, she is also a victim, constantly doing battle with her personal demons and unable to trust anyone. And in this #MeToo age, the image of women finding the courage to fight back against their attackers takes on sharper lines; although, of course, the teenage Laurie would point out that this has always been central to the franchise.

Unlike other recent horrors such as Get Out and A Quiet Place, however, the exploration of such deep-rooted psychology is not Halloween's focus. The times may have changed but this song remains resoundingly the same; Green has turned in a straightforward stalk-n-slash that sticks true to the tone of the original — and, in the grand tradition of the franchise, leaves the door open for more Myers mayhem.

General release Fri 19 Oct.

Halloween

  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • US
  • 1h 45min
  • 18
  • Directed by: David Gordon Green
  • Written by: Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
  • Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner, Nick Castle

A direct sequel to the 1978 original: Michael Myers has been locked in a prison for most of his life, and it falls to long-suffering Laurie (Curtis) to stop him. After a slow beginning it gets going, and Laurie, now a mother and grandmother, has to battle with trauma. A straightforward stalk-n-slash in the best tradition…

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