It was so strange seeing a load of critics and most of the public squirting over Halloween three years ago. In my opinion, it was one of the most disappointing and overrated reboot-slash-sequels of all time. The original 1978 version by John Carpenter is a horror classic. It’s about a 6 year-old boy named Michael Myers, who in 1963 killed his older sister on Halloween night and was sent to a mental hospital. 15 years later, he escaped and travelled back to his neighbourhood to cause more havoc. With psychiatrist Doctor Loomis on his trail, Michael went on a kill-rampage in the town of Haddonfield where innocent and slightly sheltered schoolgirl Laurie Strode babysits some kids. Given its success, this movie spawned numerous sequels, all of them disappointing, but Miramax and Blumhouse wanted us to forget about all of them and instead invest in their offering. Apparently Halloween II, 4, 5, Curse, H2O and the rest of them should be forgotten about – so fuck your DVD or blu-ray collection – we’re starting afresh with our iteration of Halloween! Even though, judging by Hollywood’s penchant for profit over storytelling, this will most likely be wiped from our memories in two decades or so when another production company and another wannabe horror director will want to reboot or follow-up a classic that cannot be outdone.
I really hate those “ignore how much our industry spoiled this franchise” sequels (better known as a “retcon” or retroactive continuity) where we’re supposed to turn a blind eye to decades of ruination for profit. Writers Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride and writer-director David Gordon Green seem to be those “we’re making a sequel fans deserve” type bullshitters, but unless these dicks give us something truly worthy of respect, why should they be mentioned in the same breath as the original? The cynic in me is always wary of people in the same sector of entertainment trying to distance themselves from all the previous cases of money-making. Look away from the shite sequels from the 1980s onward, take no notice of the Rob Zombie reboot and sequel, ignore the reality show shite-fest that was Halloween: Resurrection, but here’s another sequel and this one’s good, we promise! Err, no it’s not. You’re just the latest set of Hollywood wankers trying to make undeserved dosh.
Like other disappointing sequels made years or decades after the first film (Bill And.. cough, cough …Ted) the storyline of 2018’s Halloween drags-in depressing ideas such as kids and custody (yawn). And is Michael Myers Laurie Strode’s brother in this movie as Halloween II suggested? Absolutely not! These two being related is “a myth” apparently, so ignore the second film (and while you’re at it, try and explain why the third was the third). This amnesiac-updating of the plot brings its own issues however. Laurie lives on her own and has what looks like Josef Fritzel’s panic room under her property and that’s supposed to be an acceptable conclusion to the nerdy babysitting girl who only had to deal with a crazed killer for one night back in the 1970s? If the killer isn’t related to her, why is she so affected by his one-time escape? It’s almost like she’s lived though Halloweens “II” to “H2O” and beyond.🤔
The film begins with a pair of irritating characters Aaron Corey and Dana Haines who are making a podcast (how original and modern 🙄). The actors playing these two “investigative journalists” give some of the most wooden performances I’ve seen in a while. Corey and Haines go to an insane asylum where Michael Myers has “spent forty years in captivity” under the care of Dr. Sartain, a student of Dr. Loomis (whoopee). But this isn’t a sequel to The Silence Of The Lambs so why is this scene trying so hard to look like that classic flick? Why bring the mask from the attorney general? Why pester a mentally ill inmate? Aaron says “You feel it don’t you Michael? You feel the mask?” which is just terrible writing and acting. This scene looks like a 90’s music video with crappy extra actors playing the other inmates. And on that note, why are they reacting to William Shatner’s mask? Do they even know what it is and who he is? Because if they do, they should probably be discharged.
Seeing Michael Myers in this scene with his bald patch and white hair makes you realise his age. I think he’s 61 at this point which isn’t far from retirement. Unfortunately this franchise is far from retiring. Myers’ appearance means he ages like everyone else but there’s still some of that annoying superhuman element to his character in this so-called retcon sequel. If you drive a vehicle into someone’s legs they’ll be in traction with leg pins and screws but not ol’ Mikey. He might not be sticking his thumb through a paramedic’s skull in this version but he’s far from being an almost-pensioner.
Speaking of pensioners, Michael Myers looks like he’s seen the business-end of a pair of clippers in this sequel, but Laurie Strode has the same 40 year-old haircut because, err… the film-makers think Jamie Lee Curtis can’t act or they think the audience are too dumb? Whilst on the topic of actors, there’s a decent one like Will Patton in this trash-fest but he’s under-used. Instead, two of most irritating “actors” in recent times (Jefferson Hall and Rhian Rees) get way too much screen time to utter their lines in a very amateur way.
The film introduces new characters for the first 20 minutes, characters we couldn’t care less about including Strode’s extended family. In the original film you kinda liked some of Laurie’s friends, but here you want every motherfucker from the annoying adults to the vexing teenagers to die, especially Oscar. There’s also lots of banal dialogue, as heard in the restaurant scene, like a bad improvisation in am dram class… “put the past behind you”, “let’s press the reset button” …talking in cliches is really enthralling (not).
For 30-odd minutes nothing happens, then a hoarse-voiced kid and his ol’ man come across wandering nuts exiting a transport bus, a scene which tries to recreate the original film’s escape. There’s also another babysitting scene, but these reproductions come across not as a homage but rather a failed imitation, a fever dream of the first movie.
I can’t stress how much I despise sequels that retread and try to recreate the original film. It’s easier for us to go and watch the first one FFS! 🤦 There’s copycat titles and the same theme tune in 2018’s Halloween, but wait, it’s not really the same… look, the pumpkin in the opening titles is rotting in reverse… how clever (not). Plus Laurie is thrown out of a window which subverts the original in which Michael was thrown out of a window! What is this, an A-Level Film class?
The pace of this movie is awful. There’s lull after lull… nothing happening, nothing happening, nothing happening… Murder! Cue the John Carpenter theme! And it’s back to nothing happening. Someone please tell the filmmakers that boredom doesn’t equal brooding and a quiet dullness doesn’t equal sombre. The flashbacks of Laurie’s offsprings is like a Hallmark movie and the stupid zooms when her granddaughter Alison is surrounded by mannequins makes this film look like some kind of parody of a horror. The scene where the security lights go off and on is, I assume, supposed to surprise-scare us like the View Master toy in Insidious but even that fails.
There’s lots of other problems. Like Jurassic Park, you’d think the folk who live in the location of the original killings would be wary of this local monster but no, they go idly by as someone is dressed exactly like the fella who caused carnage 40 years ago (to the day). And presumably their local news has surely told them of his escape? Ah well, let’s all ignore a man in a white mask and a boiler suit with no kids holding a butcher’s knife.
There’s more issues with the writing and story. Michael going from a hammer to his trademark knife in a Terminator-3-gets-his-leathers kind of way, feels very contrived. At one point we see Michael Myers’ victim through a window looking like she’s waiting for the knife to go through her throat (after already having her head slammed into a desk). This is so false and unrealistic and yet the film and its creators think they’re being gritty and more real-life than the previous flicks. I might as well mention that there’s a black character who at one point shows the “journalists” around, and she knows all about “Muddy Waters” and “Bernie Mac” which is an example of liberal white racist screenwriting. And speaking of liberals, so-called liberal Hollywood is always harping on about gun control but the first thing they come up with is someone having tonnes of guns for protection. But I digress.
Admit it: David Gordon Green is an overrated hack. Why did the director of the appalling Your Highness and The Sitter and the overrated Pineapple Express and Eastbound & Down suddenly decide he’s a horror director and why did so many people buy into it? Halloween isn’t filmed that well, it’s not written that well, and it’s not acted that well. Given the time it’s supposed to be set in, this movie looks less like Halloween than Hubie Halloween. Plus Laurie’s daughter Karen is wearing her Christmas sweater, so even she doesn’t know what time it is (time to stop this never-ending destruction of a classic film me thinks).
If a horror film isn’t tense and isn’t frightening, what’s the bloody point? If an antagonist is supposed be a real man this time around (and can get his arse whooped with a cast iron pan at one point) what’s with the next two films? Surely not profit? No, this movie is for you fans don’t you know! David Gordon Green is honouring the original and oh look, the original director has given his seal of approval! I couldn’t give a toss that Halloween is dedicated to Moustapha Akkad or that his son Malek Akkad is producer (or that John Carpenter is executive producer). We’ve seen this kind of name-association with other sub-par follow-ups. Just look at the inferior Terminator sequels which on the run-up to their release usually come with James Cameron telling us their latest pish is the mutt’s nuts. Carpenter like Cameron, most likely wants money, and given that Hollywood has been bastardising his characters for decades, he deserves it, but just because the bloke’s name is on the poster, trailer, and credits, doesn’t make this overrated crap a worthwhile sequel. Nothing besides the original 1978 movie is worth watching and thanks to this film, nothing has changed.