Halloween (2018)
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Halloween (2018)

Much like the preternatural serial killers that drive the gory action of many popular horror franchises, the franchise itself appears to be imbued with the same insurmountable longevity. Fans of such groups of movies might adopt a mantra culled from a famous line of dialogue, "just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." while there are undoubtedly a myriad of examples the prime example addressed in this consideration can be found in the grandfather of the modern d=slasher film, ‘Halloween (2018)’. It has been over forty years since the master of horror John Carpenter, and Debra Hill unleashed one of the most iconic cinematic boogeymen upon the world, Michael Myers. Peering through the eye holes of an old William Shatner mask, Michel with his penchant of sharp objects gruesomely dispatched teenagers but any other hapless person in the wrong place at the wrong time. During these decades eleven movies have contributed to the franchise including a reboot attempt by Rob Zombie. In this latest, and possibly final chapter, the studio brought the band back together. For the matriarchal scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, she reprises the role that started it all, Laurie Strode. There is a certain sense of reality or those of us that sat in the movie theaters forty years ago are revisiting our first occurrence of a Final girl. Naturally, it would be more accurate to describe her current role at our age it’s nice seeing old friends again. As ‘Last Woman Standing.’ It would be prudent for the producers to make a movie that can only be enjoyed by an older audience. It is true that longtime fans will gain an undeniable added appreciation but there is enough excitement, thrills and suspense for the audience members of tender years to enjoy.

With this installment of the saga, Michael. The OG slasher is credited only as ‘The Shape (Nick Castle) and is incarcerated in a high-security mental health institution, the Warren County Smith's Grove Sanitarium. Our first sighting of Michael is him in the common room of the hospital standing, chained to the floor. The date is October 29, 2018, two days away from the anniversary of his original killing spree. True-crime podcasters Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) and Dana Haines (Rhian Rees) interview Michael's psychiatrist Dr. Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), a former student of Dr. Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasence), Myer’s first physicist. Reports were warned to keep back from their subject and that the interview might be extremely brief, he has not spoken during his entire time there. Myers ignores the questions not reacting even Aaron brings out his original Shatner mask. A lack of common sense and cascade of random circumstances has become de rigueur for the genre, necessary for the plot to move forward. A movie centered on a silent psychopath would hardly be expected to sell a lot of tickets. This is where a modicum of rational thought is eradicated. It is decided that Michael, along with several others, is being moved to a different facility. The vehicle used for transport is a regular bus. Despite his catatonic nature his previous rampages and the brutal nature of the murders, Michael should have been moved in something rated for transporting nuclear waste. It should come as no surprise that the bus gets in an accident and, wait for it, Michael escapes near his hometown the day before Halloween.

Jamie Lee Curtis looks great in those commercials for Activa or in a recent stint in television, but the hair and makeup department had to alter her appearance suitable for a woman stalked by an unstoppable force of pure evil for the last forty years, Laurie Strode. Understandably her encounters with Michael have gouged deep emotional and psychological scars. No amount of therapy can begin a semblance of healing. Over the last few years, Laurie has become a hermit, isolating herself from the world and plunging into alcoholism. There must have been a few calm periods since Laurie has a daughter, Karen Nelson (Judy Greer), and a granddaughter, Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), a plot point of this nature offers a unique glimpse at the requisite slasher archetype, the final girl. At the end of the film, the final girl remains, usually covered in blood walking away from the vanquished monster. The credits roll and unless there is a sequel that is the last she is shown. Here we have the rare opportunity to witness the incredible torment and anguish that tuned a young woman’s life. Laurie went into full-on ‘Sarah Conner’ mode learning to expertly use every imitable weapon with deadly accuracy. Her paranoia, admittedly well deserved, permeated Karen’s life. Normal childhood activates supplanted by weapons training, trap design and server defense procedures. Their home retained the façade of normal but in a hidden underground bunker was a very well stocked armory. Having lived in New York City most of my life the multitude locks on her front door didn’t register as too unusual. From Karen’s point of view, the home was a barracks and her mother a drill instructor. As frequently happens in families, emotional closeness can skip a generation. Karen and Laurie have been estranged for years, but Allyson has maintained affection for her grandmother and a desire to reconcile Laurie and Karen.

With the foundation firmly established, freshman director, David Gordon Green, can allow the action to begin to build the tension, igniting the fuse for the terror to begin. At this juncture, the filmmaker interweaves mundane issues with the mounting violence. Allyson is upset when she finds her boyfriend Cameron (Dylan Arnold) cheating on her and leaves with his best friend, Oscar (Drew Scheid). While this family drama plays out Michael stalks the podcasters as they visit the grave of his sister, his body count goes up by two. These murders early superficially appear to be consistent with the de rigueur for progressing the standard slasher movie playbook. Much to the credit of the upcoming auteur, his lack of prior experience helming a film in this genre works to his credit and the benefit of the audience. In almost every slasher flick in every growing list of the genre, the central figure is inevitably the relentless killer as he carves a bloody swatch to get to his main objective, the Final Girl. David Gordon Green is best known for his humorous progress as ‘Pineapple Express,’ ‘Prince Avalanche’ and ‘The Sitter.’ Currently, there is a growing trend of people successful in comedy migrating to horror. The most famous is ‘The Quiet Place,’ and ‘Get Out,’ both incredibly well crafted phycological horror films from the creative imagination of established comedic performers.

Coming from a different narrative perspective permitted a novel twist in the underlying story. Rather than carrying the audience through the carnage by focusing on its dispenser, the filmmaker strikes out on a less trod path. Under typical horror scenarios, the meager emotional component is generated by manipulating the audience to become invested in the Final Girl as the damsel in dire distress fighting for her life. In this story, the final girl is considerably older the usual, not a coed but rather a grandmother. This tale places us back in the life of a woman who survived her boogeyman a lifetime ago. The considerable emotional connection with the viewers is built on Laurie’s lifetime of justified paranoia. The ever-present specter of Michael destroyed her relationship with her daughter and twisted the way her granddaughter relates to both her mother and grandmother. Laurie supplanted Karen’s childhood with hardcore survivalist training that makes Sarah Conner look like June Cleaver. Laurie transformed her home into a militarized compound with booby traps at every corner and hidden caches of weapons always within easy reach.

The film transformed what might have been a mundane slash and dash flick into a deeper character study of the long term emotional and physiological inflicted on the Final Girl. After a night of unbearable torment comes a lifetime of continued emotional agony. Fans have been involved in this franchise for two generations; this movie is a fitting capstone for one of the founding members of the slasher horror genre.it is not what most fans expect but that makes for an intriguing experience.

Posted  02/21/2019

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