Out this week in cinemas is Halloween the true sequel to the slasher classic Halloween which put Jamie Lee Curtis on the map. Don’t worry about the unimpressive effort in the title, it’s the only major issue with this film.
Halloween stars Jamie Lee Curtis who returns as Laurie Strode. Set forty years after the events of Halloween (this could get confusing) this film is set once again during All Hallows Eve when Michael Myers (portrayed by Nick Castle) escapes and sets off on another murder spree.
This time around though Laurie is prepared to protect herself and her family against this monster.
Confession time – I’ve never seen the original Halloween or any of its sequels (though I have heard that I dodged a bullet with those ones). It is one of those splotches on my film viewing list. If you ever saw my list you may wish to stop me reviewing film forever.
Now I will say that going into this film I had no idea what to expect. After all, I’ve no basis to form an opinion on Halloween save that I’ve seen many slasher films in my past.
The film opens up with an inventive exposition showing where the two survivors of the original film are now. Michael is in an insane asylum. He has been studied for the last forty years. Many doctors have tried to understand what drives him as he has not spoken in the forty years since the events of the previous film. He is to be shortly transported to another location is described as the pit of hell.
Meanwhile, Laurie has become a complete recluse. She has gone full Sarah Connors and has been preparing for what she believes is the inevitable return of the Apocalypse.
With both story threads director David Gordon Green sets up the modern status quo well. Both characters are in prisons both of their own making due to the actions they’ve made in the past. On top of that, the mise en scène of Michael’s introduction is fascinating. He is depicted as a malevolent force that is literally infecting the world around him.
On the topic of the world of Halloween, I was quite impressed by the characters within it. Laurie’s daughter Karen (Judie Greer) and her granddaughter Allyson (Virginia Gardner) are interesting in particular Allyson. She’s charming, has a great rapport with both her parents and grandmother and when the action kicks in she’s a great screamer.
In fact, there are a lot of great relationships in this film. My personal favourite is between Allyson’s friend Vicky and a young boy she babysits. It’s the little touches that make this terrifying event all too real. It is funny then when Michael does inhuman acts of barbarism. He seems almost supernaturally strong and durable.
Ultimately the success of Halloween hinged on the sense of dread and horror within it and honestly, I felt tension and unease but never horror. It’s a shame this is where Halloween stumbles. There are too many jump scares in the film so it dulled the power of Meyers towards the end of the film. Thankfully the first two acts have some fairly intense kills that aren’t just jump scares.
Halloween is a hell of a good time. It’s intense, gory and at times emotional. Just don’t expect it to be something especially original especially if you’ve seen Terminator 2: Judgement Day.