It’s rare that returning home is actually as satisfying as this…
Writer/director David Gordon Green and Jamie Lee Curtis return with a true sequel to Halloween that pays reverence to the original with some classic beats for the devoted fans but reminds us all that in genre filmmaking, the old ways are often best.
It’s been 40 years since those fateful events in Haddonfield, Illinois when Michael Myers went on his killing spree, but in the years since; life has moved on. However the only thing Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is doing is waiting. Waiting for the day that she knew would come, when Michael Myers would come back to finish what he started all those decades ago.
This franchise needed a genuine filmmaker to take the reins back after John Carpenter let them go so many years ago. It’s no wonder that this had his blessing as David Gordon Green’s Halloween is both a sly nod to the past allowing the nuances of the original to shine through while adding some fresh beats. Through the use of Carpenter’s original music (with some updated tracks) along with a narrative that focuses less on the gore and more on crafting something that is both stunning and visually intense they recapture the genuine essence of what makes this story so damn good.
Gordon Green dives us straight into it all as the film effectively plays as a true sequel to the original two films (which took place over the same night) and lets some of the lesser efforts fall by the way side. He knows how to make a film look damn good and that is no exception here as he lets shadow and light do so much work for him in crafting genuine mood and tone.
The script takes great care in showing reverence to the source material while giving us something more psychologically satisfying then we’ve gotten in years. So many horror movies have descended into pure gore and horror focusing on kills and violence rather than try to get into your head with something creepy and unsettling. This movie gets us back to the old school, rather than trying to gross out with blood and guts; Halloween is actually making an effort to scare us again with a tale between two iconic characters that are inexorably joined at the hip together.
Having Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jamie Strode was a master stroke because as much as audiences needed Michael Myers they needed the never ending dance of death between him and Laurie. Bringing on Jamie Lee Curtis as an executive producer was a great stroke and allowing her character to evolve into a broken person bent on revenge tied to the ultimate fate of Michael. She plays it perfectly, managing to be bad ass but flawed all at the same time as her family of which she is mostly estranged from now get drawn into her world where she ultimately knew that her and Michael would come to blows once more.
Judy Greer was an excellent choice playing Jamie’s daughter and young Andi Matichak as Allyson the granddaughter made for an excellent time line of Strode women. They all play into the mythology of the family exceptionally well and it works as these characters have to buy into the fact and except then fact that they live in a world where the Boogeyman is far more real than they have ever had to admit. The rest of ensemble is quite solid but this film hinges on Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie and she makes this film as the back and forth between her and Michael is the real magic of this genuinely scary story.
At the end of the day, Halloween is a return to the roots of the genre and focuses on crafting a scary atmosphere and engaging story rather than giving us a cavalcade of cheap jump scares and gory thrills. Much like the original, this film cares about getting in your head and making you pause as you walk around a dark corner and wonder who that shadow in the distance is. It stays with you much longer then you’d ever really expect it to.