“Halloween” pays respect to the spirit of the original

Erik Jimenez/Staff Writer

Ever since John Carpenter’s “Halloween” dropped like an atom bomb in 1978, the horror genre has never been the same. From kickstarting the directorial career of Carpenter and turning star Jamie Lee Curtis into Hollywood royalty, “Halloween” took elements from slasher films like “Psycho” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and created a genre all its own. It had a hand in creating other iconic horror franchises and spinning off a string of sequels, remakes and even reboots, none of which match the majesty of the original. And while the latest installment, simply entitled “Halloween,” is also nowhere near the original’s quality, it’s the best movie in the franchise since and a great B-movie in its own right.

As for the plot, “Halloween” is another reboot, this time ignoring all previous entries in the franchise except the ‘78 film. Set 40 years after the original, the film follows Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as she prepares to face Michael Myers in a final confrontation. Michael returns to Haddonfield, Ill., after a bus transporting him to a maximum-security prison crashes, allowing him to escape.

Laurie, who is suffering from PTSD after the events of the original film, has prepared all her life for the possibility of Michael escaping, causing a strained relationship with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and son-in-law Ray (Toby Huss). But all these issues will have to be put aside if the family wants to survive Michael, who has decided to make Allyson and her friends his next targets.

Series creator John Carpenter returns to the series after nearly 40 years to co-produce the movie with famed horror producer Jason Blum from “Paranormal Activity” and “The Purge.”  Carpenter also composes the score alongside his son Cody, and Daniel Davies. The film is directed by David Gordon Green, who specializes in comedies like “Pineapple Express” and “Your Highness” and co-wrote the script with Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride (yes, that Danny McBride). This is their first attempt at directing a horror film, which explains why there are some areas that don’t quite hit the mark. But those moments are few and far between.

The film excels in the acting category due to the three female leads. Curtis falls back into her role with ease, making you believe she is still troubled her past. Despite that, though, she is still determined to defend her family at all costs and wants nothing more than to kill Michael.

Michael is back to being an unstoppable force of nature in the film. He is almost supernatural in his will to do nothing but murder everyone in his line of sight. The fact that he is out to kill as many people as possible is what made Michael so frightening in the original film. When push comes to shove, he really is just a blank face waiting in the dark to kill you.

The score was also really impressive. Carpenter adds onto the traditional sounds of the franchise and updates it with new material that doesn’t feel out of place. There are some creepy images, but a vast majority of the thrills rely on jump scares, which are effective thanks to the cinematography. It feels like a modern look of what Carpenter was aiming for back in 1978, but it is still a suspenseful experience that respects what made the original a classic.

And that’s because it’s a movie made by fans of Carpenter’s work. And those who appreciate the “Halloween” franchise as a whole are bound to appreciate it for what it is.

Happy Halloween, Michael. We missed ya.

Photo by FilmBook on Flickr.

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