Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
It’s been 40 years since Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) went on a killing spree on Halloween night. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has suffered PTSD from those events, but has been training and preparing ever since should he return to finish the job. Her own daughter Karen (Judy Greer) thinks she’s crazy and overly-paranoid, but Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is a bit more sympathetic. And after Myers escapes from a prison bus crash, Laurie may finally get her chance at revenge.
I keep typing and typing, but there is really no other way to say it – Halloween is awesome. Full stop.
I initially balked when I read that the Film was being co-written and directed by David Gordon Green (of Stronger and Pineapple Express) and co-written by Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride of all people. But after watching the Film with a sold-out crowd at TIFF last month, I realized I should have never doubted them. They wipe the Sequel (and Rob Zombie-inspired) slate clean and go right back to basics, creating a Film that is a direct follow-up to the original Film, paying homage judiciously and forging a new direction for the legendary Franchise. They even bring in a new Score, courtesy of original Writer/Director John Carpenter, his son Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies, which feels familiar and downright terrifying all at once.
But what Green, McBride and Fradley do best is make Michael Myers scary again. He is a hulking beast here, never once suggesting he is anything but evil incarnate. He moves with precision and destroys anything that gets in his way, in increasingly brutal fashion. Gordon even gets a chance to go back to his Indie roots, shooting a one-take scene tracking Myers’ wake of destruction. Needless to say, gore hounds will be delighted at just how vicious the Film quickly becomes. The Team also do a great job building on Laurie’s story, developing her into a formidable force of nature. While they play into her PTSD often, they spend more time making her a fighter and a survivor who won’t be put in the same position of jeopardy ever again. They excel on both character fronts and more than make up for some of the half-baked subplots that fill out the rest of the Film (even if one of them leads to the most gloriously savage moment in the entire Film).
The Supporting Cast is good, with Matichak and Greer – who actually gets plenty to do here – being the clear standouts. But they all pale in comparison to Curtis, who makes it clear right from the start why she was the original Scream Queen. She stays resolute and focused in her performance, being extra sympathetic in some scenes and an absolute bad bitch in others. She is in command of the screen at all times, and while the Film is great, it could have been even better if they used her even more.
Whether you are a fan of Horror, Slashers, Michael Myers or you just like having fun at the Movies, you owe it to yourself to run out and see Halloween as quickly as possible. It’s a blast from start to finish with some genuine scares, some great laughs and a whole lot of ass-kicking from Curtis. This is the Sequel some have waited 40 years to experience and is one of the most satisfying movies I have watched all year. Halloween came early this year and you better believe it was worth the wait.
Universal Pictures Canada unleashes HALLOWEEN on Friday, October 19, 2018.