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Halloween (2018) Review

My History With the Film:
Halloween is my favorite horror movie franchise. I say this not because they are the highest of quality or even the most enjoyable films, but because it’s the franchise that made me love horror movies. I’ve followed it throughout the years and have a lot of fond memories sharing Michael Myers with others.

When a new Halloween (not made by Rob Zombie) was being discussed, I got excited. Then I heard that Danny McBride was writing it and I just assumed it was going to be a parody. I know a lot of people hate Halloween Resurrection, and it’s far from perfect, but Rob Zombie’s films were a step in the wrong direction and a parody would pretty much end the franchise once and for all.

Luckily for us, I was wrong and it was being written as a legit Halloween movie. Not only that, the filmmakers decided to draw inspiration from the original and create a direct sequel to it. Part of me was disappointed, because I’d love to see how they’d try to untangle the mess that is the Halloween franchise, but for the sake of making a good film and bringing in the mainstream audience a simple follow up sounded perfect.

I anxiously awaited the filming and release for the movie for over a year now. I did my best to avoid any spoilers and only watched the first two trailers released. I bought tickets for the 7 PM showing the opening Thursday, October 18, 2018 and tickets for Sunday, October 21, 2018. I needed to see it a second time with my brother, because we bonded over the Halloween franchise growing up, something I’ll post a blog about in the near future.

I had a great time and really enjoyed the film. I liked it even better the second time around.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
After being incarcerated for forty years, Michael Myers escapes to resume his stalking of Haddonfield and Laura Strode.

What I Liked About It:
-John Carpenter came back to score the film and damn does it sound good. There is one piece of music which I’ll link here (be forewarned, the title can be somewhat spoilerish) but I absolutely love it! It sounds so good loud and really was frightening.

-The casting was great all around. There were no major weak links and I really loved the young cast especially Andi Matichak (Allyson) and Virginia Gardner (Vicky). Both Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney were tremendous as Michael Myers and I honestly feel like it was the best performance of the character to date. It probably helped that outfit was good and the mask was beyond perfect.

-The film didn’t rely on jump scares and actually worked to create tension. I loved it. There were some wonderful deaths that went a little beyond what I think we’re used to seeing in slashers recently (say in the past twenty years), but it felt appropriate. I liked that some of the deaths occurred off screen and that really made the ones we saw on screen that much more terrifying.

-There are lots of little nods to the previous films that I think most people will not even realize, but those of us who’ve seen the Halloween films dozens of times are certainly going to notice them. A good way to describe it’s almost like how The Force Awakens paid its respect to A New Hope. Halloween did the same thing, but it was better executed than Star Wars.

-Michael Myers was reestablished as Evil Incarnate. He’s simply a man with no soul, no identity, just evil and that makes him terrifying.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-There is a plot line involving Michael’s doctor that I wasn’t thrilled about. In fact, there is one scene in the film that during the first viewing I almost lost my mind thinking the filmmakers were going to try and break the mold and change the franchise because of this character. Luckily, it was well handled, but for about three minutes I was worried that the film had jumped the shark. It kind of took me out of the movie it was such a horrible tease, so I enjoyed the second viewing more because I didn’t damn near black out due to anger.

-There is some good humor in the film, but it feels a bit out of place in a Halloween film. I write this off as being a nice way to update the franchise for 2018 and I feel like the humor works 85% of the time. However, there are a few moments where I feel like it hurt the film and it also made it easier for the audience to laugh during serious moments, so watching the film with a sold out theater could be a bit annoying.

-The ending is good, but not great. It has that awesome impactful moment, but then the last few seconds make you wonder if they just couldn’t figure out a good way to end the film. The final scene is just one I’ve seen too many times in horror movies.

-There is still a part of me that wishes they would have attempted the massive (almost impossible task) of explaining the sequels. I’m actually okay with most of them being ignored, but I would have loved for Halloween II and H20 to have remained as part of this canon.

Additional Notes:
-Halloween was originally scheduled to be two films shot back-to-back, but they decided to just do one film and learn from it before starting a sequel.

-Nick Castle, who reprised his role as Michael Myers forty-years later, is seventy years old. Which makes him the oldest actor to play Michael Myers.

-Cameron’s dad Lonnie, was in the original film. He was the bully who harassed Tommy Doyle and was scared by Dr. Loomis while outside of the Myers House.

-The gas station is almost an exact replica of the gas station featured in Halloween 4.

-As of October 22, 2018 – Halloween was the biggest horror movie opening with a female lead, biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55, and the biggest opening for a Halloween film. It has the second biggest opening for a horror movie ever and the second biggest October opening ever.

-The movie playing on the TV when Vicky takes Julian to bed is 1984’s Repo Man.

-PJ Soles, who portrayed Lynda in the original film, was Allyson’s teacher in Halloween 2018.

Halloween 2018 is not a perfect film, but it is a damn good one. It’s a wonderful addition to the Halloween franchise and I’m thrilled that mainstream audiences have really embraced it. I’d argue that Michael Myers hasn’t been relevant since Halloween II, so it’s been wonderful hearing people of all walks of life discussing Halloween and talking about how scary Michael Myers is. I feel like the original slasher icon has stepped out of the shadow of Freddy and Jason to reassert himself as the King and this box office just goes to show that.

Having discovered my Halloween fandom right before Halloween 6 came out, I’ve never experienced this hype before. H20 did well, but was lost in the sea of similar horror movies that came out at that time. Resurrection was a bust, and the Rob Zombie films catered to an audience who wasn’t looking for a traditional Michael Myers story. This is the first time I’ve seen this type of reaction, merchandising, and press, and I’m loving it. It feels so good to be a Halloween fan right now.

I hate to try and rank films so soon after they come out, but as of this review, I’d say that Halloween 2018 is my second favorite film in the franchise behind the original. And I say it’s a must see film and would rate it a four out of five.

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