When most masked people go to the door on Halloween, they are greeted with candy. Horror icon Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) receives far more bullets than Butterfingers when he arrives.
The streets are mean to the slashing psychopath, but for 40 years, Myers has persisted, paving Haddonfield, Illinois, with gallons of other people’s blood. Though occasionally detained inside mental facilities, Myers has unsurprisingly escaped again.
Waiting for Myers’ arrival is his paranoid-yet-prepared sister Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). This is no joyful family reunion. The events of Meyer’s original 1978 movie have consumed Strode ever since, causing her to protect her daughter and granddaughter at all costs.
While many around Strode aim for the rehabilitation and understanding of Myers, Strode aims between Myers’ eyes, shooting for retribution. As the sole survivor of Myers’ 1978 rampage, she knows the pure evil inside Myers’ hart cannot change.
Though a reprisal of an iconic character 40 years later may cause many horror fans to accuse Curtis of a cash grab, viewers quickly realize Curtis earns her paycheck. She delivers a very convincing performance as a grandmother who is as much of a victim as she is a survivor. Her demeanor is appropriately as cold as eyes that have stared into madness and now focus on ensuring nobody else will add to Myers’ gargantuan body count.
Curtis is not the only aspect of the film that shines. Though she delivers the only notable acting performance, a number of nice aesthetic touches blend the familiar formula of the 1978 classic with new updates to create a recipe for cinematic success.
For example, as opposed to a shiny new design to grab millennials' attention and wallets, Myers’ mask is essentially the same design yet cracked, reflecting natural wear and tear that comes with 40 years. Additionally, John Carpenter, director of 1978’s “Halloween,” co-created a score that carries the same simple-yet-scary vibe the original is lauded for.
Though not as dedicated to being a psychological film as the original, the new “Halloween” wisely focuses more on anticipation than jump scares to elicit shudders from the audience. One could argue director David Green should have downplayed the gore, but this isn’t the same Michael Myers that acts goofy in a red suit with Buddy Holly glasses. The modern gore allows bloodthirsty viewers to fully appreciate Myers’ handiness with a knife.
Beyond Haddonfield, Myers is making a killing at the box office. In just three days of domestic release, 2018’s “Halloween” is already the highest grossing entry in the franchise at $78 million, according to Forbes Magazine. That total slaughters Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of the original which grossed $58 million.
References to the 10 previous “Halloween” films are plentiful. Fortunately, they are subtle, as opposed to the obnoxious “look at what we used to be” approach that some other enduring horror franchises take.
Viewers looking for ingenuity will not be satisfied. The latest “Halloween” is very faithful to the attributes that made the original arguably the best horror film ever made. That faith comes with a lack of new ideas and a fresh direction that would send the franchise on the path to modernization.
That said, there are instances when old school is still cool. This year’s “Halloween” fits that bill.