By Andy Chandler
Halloween is one of the highlights of my year, and I’d imagine it’s the highlight of many people’s years, but for me it’s always held a bit of a mystical charm.
Ghosts, ghoulies, witches and zombies are roaming the streets and the only way to fend these little blighters off is to give them sweets. I love it!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘It’s April, why is this eejit talking about that!’. Well it’s because this week I finally got to watch Halloween … No, not the John Carpenter original, the 2018 sequel to the original that recons every single sequel released since 1978, that’s right, even the imaginatively titled Halloween 2 (which is a continuation of events on the same night) have been stricken from the record, as have ANY films that even hint that Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are related.
This is a wiping clean of the slate for old Michael who, at the start of the film, is still incarcerated in Smith’s Grove Sanitorium for doing all them horrible murders on those teens all them years ago.
Myers is an inhuman shape again in this film, all that rubbish about runes and wizards has been, rightfully, thrown in the bin. He’s evil, intimidating and utterly terrifying once again.
But Myers is one of those timeless horror protagonists like Freddie Krueger, Jason Vorhees and even Leatherface, but they can simply be anyone big in a mask, and it’s that level of ‘that’ll do’ that many film-makers have approached not only Michael but a plethora of horror icons over the years but, alas, I digress.
This Halloween does a lot of things differently, that includes bringing back the original 1978 Michael Myers actor James Jude Courtney whose presence fills the screen, even when his Michael Myers remains wordless.
Jamie Lee-Curtis returns as the tough but broken Laurie Strode who has never really gotten over the events of Halloween 1978, no she’s not a headmistress in this film, she’s a mess.
Walled away in her own prison of a house, she’s armed and ready to stand up to Michael should that opportunity ever arise and there wouldn’t be much of a film if it didn’t.
The 1978 Haddonfield massacre hasn’t just ruined the life of Laurie Strode, it’s had a knock-on affect and even Laurie’s daughter and grand-daughter have been adversely affected by the fallout of that night’s terrible events.
Laurie’s estranged family want nothing to do with her, viewing her as a psycho unable to move on with her life. All the while she waits. Her life on stop until either herself or Michael dies, but who will it be?
Anyways, those crazy doctors at Smith’s Grove decide to transfer Michael to a new facility and it’s the perfect opportunity for him to escape and go on the rampage again.
And what a rampage it is. No-one is safe from Michael’s violence, it’s bloody, visceral and definitely not for the faint of heart.
Halloween builds the tension perfectly and the ultimate showdown between Laurie and Michael (a showdown 40 years in the making) is everything that this Halloween fan wanted it to be.
However, it’s not perfect. A lot of the set-pieces have been lifted from Halloween films that have been released over the years, the petrol station from Halloween 4 is virtually re-made, the hiding in the bathroom scene is almost lifted from H20. It makes this film feel a bit like a ‘Halloween: The Greatest Hits’ highlight reel. Maybe it’s my fondness for the films that have gone against me here, maybe if you’ve only seen the first one and you go into this with fresher eyes than mine, those moments will simply be scary instead of a knowing wink to the series’ past.
All in all I enjoyed the hell out of this film, I’d just have prefered to have seen this a tad closer to Halloween, but them’s the breaks of living in rural West Wales.
So, check this film out if you want a modern take on a classic horror icon that doesn’t fall back on humour or parody, just brutal set-pieces, terrifying tension and that theme music, ooooh, it’s enough to make me shudder all over again.