In a reality where the infamous serial killer Michael Myers (Nick Castle, James Jude Courtney and Tony Moran), was caught shortly after the events of the original Halloween and is NOT the brother of the sole survivor of the 1978 murders, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the former carefree teenager has grown up into a traumatized, battle-hardened old woman who has spent the last four decades preparing for the return of “The Shape” at the cost of her isolation from her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Her worst nightmares prove to be true when during a prison transfer, Michael escapes from his captors and starts a rampage throughout Haddonfield. Now Laurie must do everything she can to save her family and bring Michael down once and for all…
For the last four decades, antagonists from the slasher genre such as Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th films and Ghostface from the Scream franchises have owed their existence from the emotionless masked murderer Michael Myers from the film that is credited by critics for launching the modern “slasher” genre – John Carpenter’s first major mainstream success, Halloween.
Although it wasn’t the first film to feature a deranged human as the main antagonist (Psycho in 1960) or the first film to feature a group of teenagers getting hunted down (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974), this movie established the tropes that define the slasher genre to this day such as teenage victims being hunted down for their flaws, supernatural killers and the “final girl” who ends up defeating the creature as a reward for her “purity” that directors and writers have used, parodied and lampooned as the years have gone by.
The serial killer himself is terrifying – a living “bogeyman” and a merciless killer, and interesting commentary about how people view serial killers nowadays, with most of his new targets being people who try to get information out of him for their own gains.
This film is not perfect – there are moments such as how a kid would react to Michael Myers nowadays, which, while funny at times, does feel out of place in a film that is trying to recapture the haunting suburban background of the 1978 film. Also, while the attempt to recreate the iconic atmosphere of that film is well intended, there are some moments that feel like this film is trying too hard while also bringing back elements from that film that haven’t aged well as time has moved on.
Overall, David Gordon Green’s Halloween is a great celebration of the 40th anniversary of the film that helped establish the slasher sub-genre and also a powerful tale of revenge and trauma that feels well-timed with the #MeToo Movement. Some of the comedy does feel forced at times, but John Carpenter’s legacy is mostly intact for the future of Michael Myers….