Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Halloween, the sequel to the first Halloween released in 1978, is an entertaining horror film that expands on the franchise’s legacy. Although lacking in originality, the film’s mix of nostalgia towards John Carpenter’s original film and its brutal intensity make for an enjoyable experience for horror admirers.
Halloween follows the iconic heroine Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as her traumatic past with the pure-evil slasher Michael Myers (Nick Castle) has caused her to spend her past forty years living in seclusion and preparing for his inevitable return. Strode’s perpetual instability and anxiety about Michael Myers has created a separation between her, her daughter Karen Strode (Judy Greer) and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).
The film begins with two journalists making a podcast based on the Myers Halloween murders go to visit Myers in a mental hospital. Myers does not answer any of their questions, so one of the journalists pull out his mask and it evokes an eerie reaction from all of the surrounding inmates. The opening sequence of the film is perfect in creating an unsettling mood.
On Halloween night, Michael Myers is being transferred from a mental institution to a different hospital when the bus crashes. Myers escapes and begins to wreak havoc among the town of Haddonfield, Illinois (named after Haddonfield, New Jersey where the original film’s writer Debra Hill is from).
Although compelling scares and intriguing visuals help Halloween, the film stands upon the dynamic between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. Laurie has spent the past forty years of her life preparing for his return. Her isolated home in the woods is constantly monitored and is full of artillery to defeat Myers. Jamie Lee Curtis portrays Laurie’s fixation with Michael Myers to perfection and her settlement on the line of genius versus madness is an important part of her character. Curtis, in 1978, established the female heroine, and forty years later once again optimizes it.
On the other hand, the other major strength of the film is Michael Myers. After his release, his multitude of horrid murders to innocent townspeople are mortifying. After so many Halloween films, it is difficult for a filmmaker to make Michael Myers still scary. However, director David Gordon Green uses unorthodox techniques to install fear in the audience. Myers has always been the king of horror villains, and this film proves his status.
The two major strengths of the film are the two main characters, but the film lacks in any originality. The film takes common horror tropes and therefore makes the film very predictable, aside from a third-act twist that ultimately hurts the film. Many characters are used strictly for Myers to kill and have no real substance. Another disappointing aspect of the film is the many plot points used strictly to set up a character in a later situation with Michael Myers and after reflection of the film, did not add to its overarching story. Above all, the misplaced humor is very destructive to this film’s enjoyment. Every film, even a horror movie, can use some lighthearted moments but it is very misplaced and it is hitches the gloomy tone. These problems with the film lowered my enjoyment of it. However, it did not make me dislike the film as a whole.
Halloween is an above average horror sequel that was entertaining and gave good scares. Also, the film is extremely violent so it may not be enjoyable for all audiences. I give Halloween a three out of five stars.