I can’t remember the last slasher film I saw that wasn’t a Scream. The roots of this genre go back to the 1960’s Psycho, but it wasn’t until the mid-70s when splatter movies gained mainstream popularity with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and so on. You can attribute the “dumb teenager victims” troupe to these now slasher period-pieces. The original Halloween will always stay with me as the lean and mean gorefest. Simple and effective, the movie covers the events of just one Halloween night in Haddonfield, Illinois. John Carpenter’s assured direction and camerawork is still fresh. The jumpscares are still effective.
But enough about the past. How does the second attempt at the original fare?
The 2018 Halloween serves as a direct sequel to the original and ignores the previous nine lamebrained attempts. In some ways, it is a remake. The first thing you notice is the similarities and throwbacks to the original. The atmosphere, the spine-tingling soundtrack, the not-so-subtle callbacks are all there, giving you a been-there-done-that sentiment. This one is not for people looking for complete originality. But it doesn’t matter.
David Gordon Green approaches this movie as a hardcore fan attempting to do his favourite piece of work justice. Murder sequences are devoid of any flair or a pulsating soundtrack. It is an amalgamation of the old and the new with just enough creative violence to satisfy the horror fan in you. There are satisfying bone-crunching sounds and knives slashing through meat, accompanied by the familiar murder-track. A solid screenplay elevates the stakes but keeps the movie grounded enough to be believable. The terror you feel from the masked murderer in mechanic’s overalls is still there. It doesn’t have anything you haven’t seen before. But you don’t care for originality in a slasher, do you?
The veteran scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis is back, playing the battle-hardened Laurie Strode with unbridled ferocity. You don’t care for the newer cast-additions – they’re meatbags without plot-armour for our man in indigo-blue. Halloween is a solid entry in the franchise. It’s a lesson in remakes done right. In some ways, it even surpasses the original. But at what cost? How many more terrible sequels will we get this time you reckon?