Halloween sequel finally offers fans satisfaction

Alex Gonzales, Staff Editor

Halloween (2018), directed by David Gordon Green and co-written by comedy star Danny McBride, is the first sequel worthy of the original 1978 film. It’s a welcome relief after a series of follow-up films left most fans rolling their eyes a few decades ago.

Forty years after the events of the first film, we are brought back to Haddonfield, Illinois with the return of actress Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as victim Laurie Strode. Now turned doomsday prepper, Laurie awaits for the return of serial killer Michael Myers, who is set to be moved from institutions the night before Halloween. Predictably but appropriately, the bus transfer goes wrong and Michael is set loose on his unsuspecting town to begin his killing spree.

This current version of Halloween does an amazing job of paying homage to its original source material along with the few redeeming moments of forgotten sequels. The movie proffers up huge servings of nostalgic satisfaction for fans of the franchise. Early on, director David Gordon Green recreates some recognizable scenes from the first classic film by including POV shots from Michael’s perspective behind the mask. In other scenes, he mirrors the better moments from sequels like Halloween 2, Halloween 5, and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. It’s a cool way to acknowledge its predecessors before the movie completely tosses the old films aside to take an original turn. The opening credits even feature the same font as the 1970’s original with Carpenter’s famous soundtrack playing in the background.

The symbolism and seriousness of Gordon Green’s approach are truly impressive. He rivals the haunting tone of Carpenter’s original where lesser directors attempted to hide their inferiority with campy-humor. The film opens with the image of a rotted pumpkin in a reverse time-lapse, slowly coming back to life, symbolizing the revival of a dead series. The movie also introduces some annoying podcast journalists who serve as symbols of what most horror films do wrong in trying to humanize or rationalize what makes a film scary. The movie becomes self-reflexive by killing off the podcasters as soon as they try to dissect Michael’s inclination for carnage. This clearly sends the message that there is no explanation on Earth for this sort of evil, and we should be afraid, very afraid.

Green also shoots for some original contributions to the Halloween saga. The biggest change to the film’s typical tropes are reversals in roles of power. The first hint at this intention comes when Laurie’s granddaughter and her boyfriend dress up as Bonnie and Clyde for a Halloween party, but she dresses up as Clyde and he is Bonnie. Reversed roles are focused on heavily throughout the movie, and we see this on multiple occasions with Laurie and Michael. At one point it even feels that Laurie has become the hunter instead and Michael the hunted. Fans from every generation will welcome a heroine who does more than stumble and scream.

Despite Green’s mostly successful ambitions, the writing falls short at times. It tries to tie in a plot twist that is nothing short of dumb and has no foundation to work on. The twist’s reveal lasts five minutes, leaves no one gasping and doesn’t drive the plot forward in any way. Some characters in the film are so underdeveloped that their deaths seem inconsequential though it’s clear we’re meant to care.

This latest version of this classic horror film was obviously made for fans of Carpenter’s work and that’s where it succeeds. The director didn’t go into this film trying to make it the greatest horror film of all time. It’s a love letter to Carpenter and a chance to give fans more of they want to see a second time around. We do have to understand that director, David Green, and co-writer, Danny Mcbride, have mainly worked with films involving comedy. This is their first work on a horror film and they do a great job all things considered. They set up that same childhood fear of this plain white face stalking you in the dark that the original set up so many years ago.

Halloween (2018) is the most fun for existing fans who will pick up on countless references to past films, but new viewers will still get the premise and enjoy the ride. Despite a few plot holes, this version is a must-see for all horror fans and cuts to the core of what made the first Halloween one of the best slasher films of all time.