This week I saw Halloween! And this 2018 film was my exposure to the franchise. Apparently this is the eleventh film in the series, so I’ve missed a lot. Though it didn’t feel like I missed anything at all – there was a nice succinct recap of the very first movie and it felt exactly like an immediate sequel. Well, not quite immediate, this takes place 40 years after the original film but it certainly did not feel like Michael Myers has been killing through the 9 movies in between now and then.
Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
I don’t quite get the appeal of slasher films. I never have, except maybe if you count the Nightmare on Elm Street series, those were good fun in my teens. But Halloween is mysterious to me. What is Michael Myers up to here? Is it to kill as many people as possible? Or does he kill with purpose? Why does he seem to pick houses at random, leaving a trail of death and then walk for miles to get to one house in particular? It doesn’t make sense. And wouldn’t your face get super sweaty with that mask on all the time? I know I’m overthinking it but I still have to wonder. Though as it went on, I think I got the appeal of the film. By the end, I was definitely rooting for Jaime Lee Curtis. I wanted so bad for her to succeed.
I’m not sure how well this was written. Logistically it was great, everyone knew what they wanted and why. It was well paced and the perfect length. And we really got a sense of the emotional impact of the first film. But there were so many little plot points that were brought up and just not resolved. People behaved unpredictably and I was confused about this until I realized: ‘Oh, they did this so she wouldn’t have her phone now’ (for example). Characters should be more than plot points; it felt a little contrived. Though the performances made up for it. Jamie Lee Curtis was amazing coming back as Laurie, destroyed survivor of the first film, now emotionally destroyed. I also really liked Judy Greer, as her skeptical daughter.
So is Halloween worth watching? Sure, if you’re into that kind of thing. It’s nice to have horror films in Halloween to get us into the spirit of the season. It wasn’t actually that scary and even most of the gore happened offstage (though not all of it). There were less jump scares than I was expecting. There was brief fan service, but not the good kind but more as a brief nod to the original films in the 80s. Halloween knows where it came from and delivers more of the same, for better or worse. Probably more better.