“Halloween” — a killer revival of a horror classic

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“Halloween” — a killer revival of a horror classic

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

Trevor Tyle, Life Editor

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It’s been nine years since the last “Halloween” movie, and 40 since the last good “Halloween” movie (John Carpenter’s 1978 original). But after a string of poorly received sequels and reboots, Michael Myers has returned to the big screen for one final killing spree — and fortunately, it’s well worth the wait.

With 2018’s “Halloween,” director David Gordon Green (thankfully) retconned the events of the first film’s nine sequels and reboots. Despite their shared titles, the 2018 film is not a remake of the original, but rather, a continuation.

The 2018 sequel reintroduces us to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the sole survivor of masked murderer Michael Myers’ initial chain of mass murders four decades earlier. Traumatized by their last encounter, Strode has devoted her life to preparing for Myers’ return — at the expense of her relationships with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).

Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney), meanwhile, is being transported to a maximum-security prison to spend the rest of his days. But of course, things go wrong and the bus crashes, prompting him to escape and return to Haddonfield, Illinois — the site of his inaugural rampage — for one final confrontation with Strode.

“Halloween” accomplishes exactly what it set out to do. The 2018 sequel stays true to the age-old expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and plays it relatively safe, mostly to its own advantage. At the same time, it lives up to the greatness of its 1978 predecessor as much as it can without surpassing it. The elements that made the first film so terrifying are just as present — though thankfully, modern filmmaking techniques have allowed for far more convincing action sequences this time.

Though there may be more action this time around, it’s always warranted. The 2018 sequel replicates the first film’s ability to rise above the mindless gore of the slasher genre. This narrative substance is perhaps the principal reason “Halloween” has withstood the test of time.

As much as “Halloween” is timeless, it’s also timely. Though the film doesn’t strive to spark any sort of political conversations, its parallels to the #MeToo movement are uncanny. “Halloween” was written long before such a movement even existed, but the traumatic experiences that catalyzed #MeToo are at the film’s core, a sentiment to which Curtis has agreed.

However, the franchise’s cultural relevance is largely thanks to its leading lady. Curtis’ performance in this film is fierce. Her emotionally-charged return to the character that made her famous is nothing short of fantastic and reaffirms audiences of a long well-known fact — Jamie Lee Curtis is a total badass.

Though Curtis may carry the weight of the film, Greer and Matichak’s performances, which are particularly strong in moments when they come face-to-face with danger, echo the fearlessness we’ve come to associate with Curtis’ character. 

But it’s the more explicit callbacks to the 1978 original that will really make longtime fans smile. From the opening credits — complete with the iconic Carpenter-penned score — to various instances where Strode and Myers end up trading places, the visual homages made by the 2018 film give it a familiar authenticity that has long been missing from the franchise.

Green’s attempt at reviving “Halloween” is beyond successful. The film does its parent film the justice it deserves, bringing the 1978 classic to a whole new generation of theatergoers. It keeps audiences on the edge of their seats, squirming and screaming the whole time, in a way that feels both fresh and familiar.

Though it’s hard to top the original, 2018’s “Halloween” has accomplished the rare feat of being a damn good sequel to one of the most beloved horror films of all-time.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars