Director David Gordon Green takes a stab at the horror classic — and hits the mark
So one week ago I was extolling the virtues of “Bad Times at the El Royale” (which you should see) for its refreshing, made-for-the-screen originality.
And this week, I'm singing the praise of a “Halloween” reboot? Yep.
OK, “reboot” isn't exactly the right word. Despite the fact this movie is simply called “Halloween,” it's a sequel — a very well-executed one that gets almost everything right in recreating the spirit of John Carpenter's 1978 classic.
The 2018 “Halloween” is a true tribute to the original, and it's one of the better old-school slasher films in the 40 years since.
Four decades have also passed in the story timeline. In a thoroughly modern touch, a pair of true-crime podcasters/”investigative journalists” is revisiting the grisly events that took place in suburban Haddonfield, Illinois.
In a creepy opener, the team visits a high-security mental institution: “We are here to see a patient who has been here for 40 years and by all accounts has not uttered a word.”
Spoiler alert: It's Michael Myers (Nick Castle, reprising his original role).
Then they visit Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, also reprising her original role), who has become both a recluse and a badass in the years since her original trauma.
Laurie has a strained relationship with her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), traced back to a survivalist upbringing as a child.
A third generation enters with Laurie's granddaughter, Allyson (newcomer Andi Matichak). And, of course, Michael returns to their lives.
Credit director David Gordon Green with some serious and unexpected horror chops. He's done indie dramas such as “All the Real Girls” and offbeat studio comedies such as “The Pineapple Express,” but nothing that would indicate this. He runs laps around Rob Zombie's reboot.
He and co-writers Danny McBride (!) and Jeff Fradley wisely ignore every sequel since the original (save a few nods) and create both a valid update and an homage.
I'll be curious to see how this “Halloween” plays to the jump-scare horror generation. It harkens back to Carpenter's everytown suburban setting and the silent placement of a bogeyman. I was more than effectively creeped out in many of the same ways.
Curtis, who also co-produced with Carpenter, has evolved her character from a survivor of trauma to a protector. This “Halloween” isn't a heavy-handed feminist screed, but there's some power in the moment.
I expect audiences to be divided by “Halloween,” but count me as a big supporter.