Stupid decisions. They’re everywhere in films. In all fairness there would be hardly any horror films without characters making insanely stupid decisions but, in the scheme of things, even some decisions in horror films are stupider than others.
David Gordon Green’s reboot of the Halloween franchise is an honest attempt at bringing the quality of the much loved original film into the modern day. This isn’t a bad film by any means, and I did enjoy it as a decent horror film, but it also doesn’t do anything groundbreaking or clever enough to make it stand out from the crowd. Expectations are high for any Halloween film, due to its heritage, but this one was garnering a great deal more than the ever-decreasing returns on the previous Halloween outings.
Bringing the story back to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her eternal battle with Michael Myers, as the one that got away from him, is a good choice, rekindling the seminal good vs evil that the 1978 film portrayed in such style. However, much has changed in the intervening years and 2018s version doesn’t touch the heights or tone of the 40 year old film. There are some nice touches here and there: the nods back to the original, some updates that switch the roles around harking back to parallel events, but in the end it feels more like an effort to strike the nostalgia chord and not anything that ultimately adds to the story or the atmosphere.
The thing that made the original so good was the purity and innocence of Laurie pitted against the unknowable, motiveless evil of Michael Myers, however here that balance is completely destroyed and the film suffers for lack of tension because of it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with Laurie preparing for this day, preparing her family for what is to come and accepting her destiny to be the one to deal with this. And I don’t have an issue with Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance as Laurie; being stronger, more determined and able than the frightened youngster from back in the first film. But the choice to do this has affected the tone of the film immeasurably: The tension and fear has gone as Michael is no longer the all powerful threat that he once was. Yes Michael is still able to gut and demolish countless people indiscriminately, but at no point did it feel like Laurie was under a real threat of dying and, feeding off of that, the rest of the strong female line of the Strode family was also similarly protected from this evil-doer.
Jamie Lee Curtis does well and I was more compelled by her characterisation of Laurie early on as the reclusive, slightly crazy, grandmother. In detailing her preparation for what she thinks of as the inevitable then she clicked into another gear and became something else entirely and that was when the film started to lose its footing for me. The rest of the cast do their things well but are obviously secondary to the Michael-Laurie storyline, makeweights to string the tale out long enough to get to the inevitable face-off and climatic ending. Judy Greer and Andi Matichak as Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter, Karen and Allison, perform well in their roles but don’t have much to do, the same with Will Patton as Sheriff Hawkins and Toby Huss as Ray.
And back to stupid decisions. There are some REALLY stupid choices made in this, indeed there were people in my screening shouting at the screen at the stupidity of some of them, and that only detracts from the horror experience, takes you out of the moment and lessens the tension that it is trying to build.
Halloween (2018) is a decent effort at updating the groundbreaking horror for this day and age. Enjoyable but predictable.
Horror Rating : ★★★½☆
Overall Rating: ★★★½☆