Saturday 6 November 2021

Movie Review: Halloween (2018)

A slasher horror movie, Halloween is a direct sequel to the classic original. Investing in a feisty grandmother as a protagonist is courageous, but the film is repeatedly stabbed by mundane cliches.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still traumatized by the events of Halloween night 40 years ago, when as a teenager she barely survived a killing rampage by the indestructible, silent, and mask-wearing Michael Meyers. Laurie has dedicated her life to prepare for her next encounter with Michael, an obsession that has damaged her relationship with daughter Karen (Judy Greer), although teenaged granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is more understanding.

Michael is in a prison hospital under the care of Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), who is intent on getting into the mind of a killer. Michael escapes by causing a prison transfer bus to crash, and starts a new killing spree on Halloween night. Sheriff's deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) tries to stop the murderous rampage, but Michael is destined for another showdown with Laurie.

Properly aging the characters by 40 years and placing Jamie Lee Curtis' return as Laurie Strode at the heart of the action are welcome highlights. Curtis is by far the best thing at the disposal of director and co-writer David Gordon Green, but after a promising start she is unfortunately underused. Too much of Halloween is repetitive and derivative, Michael Meyers' never-explained superhuman strength ensuring he carves a routine path towards the predictable final confrontation.

Along the way plenty of potentially interesting characters and silly twists are introduced and summarily eliminated, including a couple of podcasters, a babysitter, her boyfriend, and a doctor far from worthy of the name. Other side-stories that go nowhere include Allyson's tiff with a boyfriend and a tangle with a dorky classmate, all the dead-ends superficially delivered with a distinct lack of conviction.

Grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter were always going to come together to battle evil, but it's a surprisingly inert climax, a long search-in-the-dark sequence killing momentum as a kitchen counter hiding a bunker endlessly swings open and closed. It's 40 years later, but this Halloween is all tired tricks and too few treats.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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