Halloween is but two days away. You are now Uni students and too old to go out trick-or-treating dressed as your favourite pop culture character. But, don’t despair. Halloween brings with it the promise of new horror releases to coincide with this Pegan holiday. This year imagination was damned as the studio system released Halloween the ninth instalment in the classic franchise, forty-years after the original.
The plot revolves around Laurie Strode (Curtis) now in her 60s, as she prepares to do battle with returning serial killer Michael Myers one last time forty years since she first defeated him on Halloween night in the small Illinois town of Haddonfield. This time she need not face him alone, she has her family by her side.
There were many reasons to be optimistic going into this film. The latest manifestation features the return of original stars Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies) and Nick Castle as the slow walking, boiler suit aficionado Michael Myers. The returning cast are joined by Judy Greer (Arrested Development) and Andi Maichak (666 Park Avenue) among others. More importantly, John Carpenter himself returned as producer and consultant. For both horror and sci-fi fans, any film Carpenters name attached to it is worth seeing.
Before I begin the review proper I must just say how pleasing it was to see Curtis return to the role that not only made her but acted as an archetype for all future ‘scream queens’. As with the original, Curtis steals the show. Her transformation from scared teen victim to determined, strong protagonist is done excellently without it feeling too disconnected. Unfortunately, director David Gordon Green underuses her throughout, but her dynamic with her daughter played by Greer in particular works very well. The film is very sleekly produced with an impressive soundtrack and great colour palette.
The film does have its issues. Among the film’s weaknesses are its predictable plot, its reliance on jump-scares and the overall lack of menace provided by Myers, who at times feels more comical than sinister. Its biggest problem is that Gordon Green sacrifices Carpenters, use of sound and minimalistic cinematography and replaces it with the fast-paced editing tropes seen in most of today’s horrors. But this is a criticism of the modern genre as a whole not just this film.
While the film doesn’t come close to the magnificence of the original but if you are a fan of the genre’s golden age and want to see what could be its last hurrah, then you won’t be disappointed by Halloween.
Last modified: 21st February 2020