Halloween Movie Review
So when you take your mom—well, my mom—to Halloween, three things will happen: 1) she will insist that the original movie was gorier (it isn’t); 2) she will awkwardly grab most any part of you nearest her, even if she doesn’t know you (quote from the other guy sitting next to her: “That’s the most action I’ll get in months”); and 3) she won’t read your review because she never reads your review even though you’re her loving son.
This new Halloween, confusingly titled because it is the sequel to the original Halloween and ignores all other Halloweens—including Halloween 2 where it was revealed that Laurie Strode is Michael Myer’s sister—is an impressively thrilling spectacle.
Gory, violent and consistently suspenseful, the movie, from David Gordon Green—an odd choice considering his best movie is the comedy Pineapple Express—has Michael escaping from prison 40 years to the day after he killed five people, because transferring him on Halloween is the most logical thing to do. Meanwhile, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) has become Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, a crazed woman who has spent the last 40 years of her life preparing for Michael's return and who no one believes until, well, they do.
Halloween pays homage to the original without being overt about it; the movie feels like a legitimate continuation of the original, only updated for modern tastes. The kill count is much higher and the deaths bloodier (and yes, the acting a little less B-grade), but most importantly this new Halloween is a visceral experience, a fun, fantastic blast from the past.
Green and co-writer Danny McBride—yes, another weird choice—do work themselves into a few corners, however. While the transformation of Laurie Strode into a frantic and [rightfully] paranoid grandmother serves the story well, this new Halloween isn't, nor should it be, a deep character study of a horribly traumatized woman. And yet you can tell that Green and McBride want to dabble with that element anyway; the result is a bit mixed, with Curtis oscillating between powerful protagonist and an obnoxious distraction. Judy Greer and Andi Matichak, as Laurie's daughter and granddaughter respectively, are good in their respective roles, though the filmmakers write themselves into a corner with these women, making things a little too predictable in regards to who will live and who will die.
On a side note, young Jibrail Nantambu is absolutely fantastic, delivering many of the film's best and funniest lines.
Despite a few character issues that are minor and all but to be expected from a slasher film—and frankly, even with these faults, the characters here are much more interesting, distinct and memorable than most you'd find on the receiving end of a knife—Halloween is a rich, highly entertaining film that offers plenty of thrills, a few twists and turns and an exciting climax.
My mom would agree, if she were to read this review. Which she won't. I'm sad. Goodbye.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.