HALLOWEEN (2018)

HALLOWEEN

(director/writer: David Gordon Green; screenwriters: Danny McBride/Jeff Fradley; cinematographer: Michael Simmonds; editor: Tim Alverson; music: John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies; cast: Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), Judy Greer (Karen Strode), Andi Matichak (Allyson), Haluk Bilginer (Dr. Sartain), Will Patton (Officer Hawkins), Toby Huss (Ray), Drew Scheid (Oscar), Miles Robbins (Dave), Virginia Gardner (Vicky), Nick Castle(The Shape-played Myers in 1978), James Jude Courtney (The Shape), Jefferson Hall (Aaron), Rhian Rhees (Dana); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Malek Akkad, Jason Blum, Bill Block; Universal Pictures; 2018)

Another sequel, the ninth, to the 1978 original slasher film that makes you ponder why keep going down this familiar path when there’s nothing more to say.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Another sequel, the ninth, to the 1978 original slasher film that makes you ponder why keep going down this familiar path when there’s nothing more to say. At least this one has Jamie Lee Curtis repeat the same role that gave her career a boost 40 years ago and one she revisited some 20 years ago in a patchy sequel–even if her character had more depth than in this version.

Indie director David Gordon Green (“Stronger”/”Pineapple Express”) and coscreenwriters Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley ignore all the other misguided sequels, as they snobbishly attempt to make this as the only worthy sequel to re-invent John Carpenter’s popular horror classic as it should be by returning it to the original blueprint.

The back story revisits Halloween Eve, in suburban Haddonfield, Illinois, when the escapee mental patient from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, the psychopath masked serial killer Michael Myers brutally killed 5 people, with the only survivor being the traumatized young babysitter Laurie Strode (Laurie Strode). She’s now turned into an embittered elderly revenge seeker still suffering from PTSD and other mental problems. The survivor is a damaged goods grandma, twice divorced, who prays that the incarcerated monster who has been returned to Smith’s Grove for the last 40 years to be studied, escapes so she can get her revenge by killing him in her highly-secure paramilitary designed isolated house in the woods where she’s armed with a stockpile of weapons and has schemed to make sure he will no longer live.

The plot is framed around a British podcast duo (Jefferson Hall & Rhian Rhees) of exploitation journalists getting an interview in the high-security facility with the chained but unmasked Myers, who refuses to talk since captured and refuses to be goaded into talking when the exploiters wave his mask under his nose. His creepy shrink Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) hopes to make a rep by finding out what motivates the psycho to kill (like maybe that’s why he’s crazy doesn’t seem to get the shrink’s attention). Laurie’s prays are answered when on Halloween Eve, while transported to a new maximum-security prison facility, the bus Myers’s is on crashes and he kills the driver and security guard and escapes with several other dangerous inmates. Because Laurie’s revenge obsession is so great, she lost custody of her young daughter Karen (Judy Greer), who now has a conflicted relationship with her bug-eyed mom. Karen’s nice guy husband (Toby Huss) sides with his wife, as does Laurie’s innocent granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). Now the dysfunctional family must stick together as the escaped killer comes after the one that got away and the still on the job police officer who arrested him (Will Patton) after he was wounded by the previous mental hospital doctor.

Unfortunately the rematch between the vic and the psycho killer is just routine, that carries no gravitas, no further insights into evil, no fully developed characters and gives us no reason to invest more time with this moribund franchise.

It has a good director and its imagery is eerily sound, but it still might best please only its large uncritical fan base. Though inventive and made on a low-budget (in 1978 it was made for a budget of only $325,000), if the filmmaker could have used his talent to explore further the ill-effects of psychological damage from trauma instead of squandering his talent on making just another meaningless and disposable slasher film (filled with slashings, beheadings and gore), I might have been more receptive.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle in Halloween (2018)

REVIEWED ON 10/20/2018 GRADE: C+   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/