Horror films are still a major part of film releases and we’ve come a long way in the different types. Early horror films were iconic characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and Bea Arthur. Then we had zombies, exorcists, and then back to iconic characters (Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers and to lesser degrees, Chucky and Pinhead). Then after Hollywood made those franchises silly beyond recognition, (Jason goes to space? Michael Myers was part of a druid cult? Hillary Clinton pulled hot sauce out of her bag to relate to black people?) we then hit the “found footage” horror types. The Blair Witch Project started it all and then Paranormal Activities came which then gave birth to the Exorcisms of Haywood Jablowme. For a hot second, we had the Saw franchise sneak a couple of ok sequels in there after a fantastic opening to the series. But mostly, we’ve seen reboots fall flat: the aforementioned Jason and Freddy rebirths were lackluster and toothless.
So when I read they’re doing a sequel to Halloween, I could’ve given 5 cat shits. But then, the reviews came in from the Toronto film festival that this wasn’t a reboot or sequel in its typical sense. David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley decided to wisely ignore ALL of the Halloween sequels and pick up 40 years after Michael was captured after being shot by Dr. Loomis. Jamie Lee Curtis reprises Laurie Strode, who is now a recluse that has a gun arsenal that would’ve made Charlton Heston harder than a shark tooth. She regularly engages in target practice, has a hidden entrance to her basement, and has an insane home security system. I’m sure Alex Jones would give this house a 5 star review on Zillow. Laurie has a daughter whom avoids her like people from Pittsburgh avoid diction lessons. She also has a granddaughter, Allyson, who keeps in touch with her, unbeknownst to her mom and goofball dad. Laurie keeps reminding her family that Michael is due to be transferred to a new prison and oh yeah, it’s almost Halloween and the 40 year old anniversary of when Laurie’s friends were killed for fucking or just being clumsy.
Spoiler alert: Michael escapes during the transfer and starts killing more people in 10 minutes than he did in Halloween 1, 2, and 4. If this is a spoiler, than you need to go to night school. Double M racks up kills like he’s trying to break the time record of getting 5 stars in Grand Theft Auto. This film is insanely different versus others where you think some characters have a chance to live. Nope. He leaves corpses everywhere like the first 10 minutes of Saving Private Ryan on the D Day Beach scene.
Let’s take a brief timeout to discuss a few gems: John Carpenter never signed off on any of the sequels. He saw this script and IMMEDIATELY wanted to be attached. He also signed on to do the music again and the music is as masterfully scored as the first one. Obviously, you hear a lot of the same arrangements but with cool twists. And like the master scorers do: Williams, Zimmer, Elfman, etc, the music intensifies the mood and puckers up all the buttholes in the audience. Back to the story.
So of course, MM comes back to Haddonfield and lays waste to those good town folk, in search of Laurie Strode and her offspring. I mean, wouldn’t you move FAR away from a town your mom get sliced up in? It’s not like they live somewhere cool like Manhattan where you weight the pros and cons of a stalker possibly returning. You live in a suburban town, ANY of them around the country can suit you just fine. Why stick it out in Nowheresville where there’s the chance that lunatic could escape and easily track you down because of your laziness?
Here’s why this film works and other serious reboots like the Batman trilogy, Star Trek reboots, or Dredd worked: Because they took it seriously and made it DARK. No campy horseshit, no cheap gimmicks like the lack of cell phone reception. There are a few laughs, some land and some don’t. But man, these film knows how to build tension and hold it. There are plenty of visual and musical nods to the original film. And what really works is you really believe Michael is truly an evil spirit with ZERO human emotion. Throughout the film, the characters BEG him to say “something.” The reactions are priceless. And you truly buy into Michael being a badass by just murdering ANYONE in the way but not for the sake of gore but for the sake of letting nothing stop him in killing Laurie Strode.
This is EASILY one of the best horror film sequels ever made. But honestly, besides the original Halloween 2 (It’s fine), Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (love it), or Friday the 13th 2 or 3 (Meh) Dawn of the Dead (maybe), this isn’t stiff competition. Some will say that Silence of the Lambs (yes, that’s a sequel) or Aliens fall under horror. I would call them thrillers, not horror. This film is AWESOME, I dare you not to love it. You’ll get sucked right in for the 105 minutes and already make plans to see it again. But in the daytime when not many people will be in the theater. Because most people chew loudly and make unwarranted, dumb remarks to their friend instead of shutting up for 2 hours.
I give it an 8/10