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Halloween (2018) Improves Upon a Classic

By Mason Masotta
On November 2, 2018


40 years ago, the horror movie genre was introduced to the mask-wearing serial killer known as Michael Myers. Since then, the Halloween franchise has exploded with its ever-continuing mythology. With over half a dozen sequels, which featured mad cultists, super soldier cloning, and satanic rituals, the roots of the series had long been forgotten, but the newest addition of the Myers story looks to return to its glorious slasher nature from 1978.

Halloween 2018 (which is how I shall be referring to it) looks to fix the mistakes that the various sequels created after John Carpenter’s original became a staple in horror. The world is reset and the chronology has been simplified as going directly from the 1978 film to this one exactly 40 years later. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, the sole survivor of Michaels Myers’ original rampage on Halloween night. She has lived her life in constant preparation of Myers’ escape from prison, fortifying her home with weapons and defenses. This way of living has driven away her daughter and granddaughter, until the worst comes to pass on the anniversary of her trauma, with Michael escaping and returning to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill once again.

Right from the start, I would recommend that moviegoers watch (or re-watch) Carpenter’s original film. Plot-wise, the movie does a great job of recapping the story, but it can’t be appreciated in the same way. The iconic theme and camera work match almost perfectly with the original with so many subtle, yet brilliant, callbacks that can only be noticed by observant viewers. 

One aspect that the film gets completely right is the characterization of Myers. The “super strong silent killer” has no lines or readable expressions, but that was always the point of the character. Michael Myers is not a sympathetic villain and he has no reason to kill like he does, but this is exactly why he has managed to last as a horror icon so long. He is evil incarnate, and you truly feel like no one is safe as long as he is on the hunt. 

The thrills and kills are in top form as Myers uses his inhuman strength and surprising stealthiness to terrorize the suburbs. The unsuspecting teenagers he stalks are classic horror bait and you can’t help but laugh at some of the dialogue that plays out. 

This isn’t just a senseless slasher flick like we’ve become accustomed to. The film deals with the very real effects of trauma and shows how Laurie has been permanently changed by her encounter with Myers. She is obsessed with never again being a victim and distances herself from her family as a result. This is a very realistic conflict that exists in a movie where you wouldn’t have expected it. 

Halloween (2018) more than improves on the original, while maintaining an obvious respect and influence from it. The characters are more fun and the atmosphere of the hide and seek scenarios are authentic. It’s refreshing to see a horror movie not be overdependent on jump scares and loud noises, but actually setting up real tension through excellent performances, camera work, and, of course, that legendary theme. I would give Halloween (2018)an 8 out of 10.

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