The Halloween franchise is one of Hollywood’s most iconic and absurd slasher series.
With its fair share of reboots and sequels (and even more reboots of sequels), Halloween is no stranger to new instalments every few years that add another layer of crazy to the series. And I can comfortably assure you that 2018’s Halloween has more than enough crazy reveals and plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat.
That’s not to say that it’s a good movie though.
As always, we’ll start with the positives. Visually speaking, the movie looks phenomenal. There’s something really awesome about watching Michael Myers walk around stabbing people accompanied by awesome cinematography. One scene in particular was truly amazing (a direct homage to the original Halloween) where Myers walks around a neighbourhood and stabs someone in one long take.
The mask looks great too. It looks old and dishevelled, but realistic. And especially when you compare it to whatever atrocity was used in H20, the mask has a certain charm to it, which makes Myers’ return all the more powerful.
The deaths are pretty gory too, and again a lot of homages were made to the original films. What surprised me however was how the movie seems to obscure a lot of the deaths, which is quite unheard of for a R-rated iconic slasher film.
The homages don’t seem to end there however, because the film panders a lot to ’80s nostalgia.
I won’t lie, the opening credits were pretty cool. In a weird way, I sometimes miss having to wait several minutes at the start of the movie for the credits to roll to the film’s theme. As a matter of fact, they actually play the iconic Halloween theme very often in the movie, which I, for some reason, didn’t expect to hear in more or less every scene Michael Myers is in.
Easily the best part of the film, however, is the dynamic between Laurie Strode and Myers. Director David Gordon Green understands these characters well and the exploration into someone’s life after all that chaos is a unique take.
I loved seeing Strode return in a badass and prepared manner, and while at times she’s portrayed as almost over-the-top or neurotic, it doesn’t seem like a far assumption to bet that she would become someone of that nature. I loved how she set up her home to be some sort of a weaponised battleground.
Something the film does (unintentionally) well is how it handles comedy. There are lines in the script that are just so bizarre and poorly timed that they came off as comedic. For example, a very overly acted child going “oh shit” when Myers appears. There’s an element of cheesiness that I can only attribute to the comedy, and as much as it detracted from the tension, I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun with this movie.
And that’s probably Halloween’s biggest problem.
It’s not scary.
Tonally speaking, it’s a mess. There are weird cuts between scenes that change from a highly tense scene to a more casual and relaxed sequence. I can’t even fault the movie for failing to build suspense because they actually did a fairly decent job at that. There are a small number of scenes that are wonderfully intense. It’s disappointing that other scenes weren’t of the same calibre.
Here’s one example that doesn’t spoil the plot. Following a rather grim sequence with the film’s antagonist, the film makes a direct cut to two police officers talking about their sandwiches. This unfortunately extended conversation is weirdly mundane, it’s not comedic, nor does it add anything to the story or characters. It’s just there.
It’s clear from the get-go that Green obviously has a strong passion for the Halloween franchise, and it reflects through the numerous homages and throwbacks the film loves to throw at you. But what he lacks is the tone and atmosphere that Carpenter was known for building.
I dare say that I wasn’t even particularly scared of Myers in the film, and when you combine that with the ever iconic soundtrack that I love, I might even argue that I was rooting for Myers himself.
It’s not just the tone that feels messy. The story jumps all over the place. With all the bizarre twists and turns, you’ll either feel sick riding this rollercoaster or have the time of your life.
Yet, despite everything, there’s still a good chance you’ll have the time of your life watching Halloween.
Maybe it was because I was in a good mood or because I was with my mates, but I had such a blast watching this film. It has a lot of structural and tonal problems no doubt, but if you can let go of your disbelief and lend yourself to its ups and downs, I am almost certain you’d enjoy yourself.
Maybe take it as a dumb fun slasher to watch this halloween.