Thursday, October 25, 2018

Halloween 2018 #25: Halloween **1/2 (2018)

The highly anticipated reboot of Halloween set 40 years after the 1978 original has its share of good qualities: good characterizations, a retro soundtrack from John Carpenter, and a satisfactory update of the story. Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode, the final girl from the original. Audiences may forget Curtis had already returned to the franchise twice in Halloween H20 (1998) and Halloween Resurrection (2002), but now her character is given a completely new arc. Instead of being a psychologist, Laurie is still reeling from the events of the first film.

Halloween is indicative of the current reboot trend, telling the same story with some variations on the beats. While the 2018 incarnation of Halloween is better than all the sequels in every respect, it never transcends the source material. What the original accomplished cannot be replicated. Carpenter's original was an experiment in suspense and horror that found its way into the collective unconscious, while the reboot plays like a greatest hits of slasher horror for a new generation. Entertaining, but derivative.

In terms of plot the new story lends itself to some baffling coincidences, the fact that all this goes down 40 years to the day of the original is a bit much. While the gender politics of the film are progressive, the relationships among Laurie, her daughter and granddaughter are never developed fully. 

When the film moves into slasher territory the "kills" get repetitive. As for "the shape", we learn little about Michael except he hasn't changed much, maybe a little bit older and a little bit slower. When Laurie's adult daughter Julie (Judy Greer) says "I don't believe in the bogeyman," Laurie replies, "You should." That's about as profound as the dialogue gets regarding Michael, although there are some nice moments of levity among the supporting characters.

Halloween is a competent horror film, unashamed fan service that looks good, just short on substance. 

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