To me, the original Halloween is a perfect horror movie, so I’m always interested when a new film is added to the series. The sequels, however, are usually hit and miss. Personally, the best sequel is Halloween III: Season of the Witch (don’t @ me), but I also have a soft spot for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. As for the new Halloween, while I’ll say it plays it a little safe, it’s definitely an enjoyable film and one of the better sequels of the series.
Halloween picks up 40 years after the original film, completely ignoring all the others. I think that’s for the best for the film, as the storyline gets complicated in Halloween II with the inclusion of the brother-sister storyline and then continues to get complicated with daughters, psychic connections, runes, and the countless retcons. This one keeps it simple and it’s better for it.
In this one, Michael is not some sort of supernatural unstoppable force. He’s a guy that killed some babysitters 40 years ago and has wasted away in a mental institution for the criminally insane ever since. Laurie Strode isn’t anyone special either; she’s just a woman that faced an unspeakable horror and has spent the rest of her life preparing herself to be anything but the victim the next time evil shows his face or mask again. This obsession has cost her a lot: a normal life, relationships with her daughter and granddaughter, and a couple of marriages. She is a survivor, but forever changed by that fateful night.
I love what this movie says about how trauma can affect one’s life and how some may react to such an event. If anything, I would love to see this explored even more, but I’m glad it’s here. Too often these films come one after the other with the same characters, putting them through unspeakable horrors over multiple movies and have them no worse for the wear. This at least feels a bit more realistic.
I often say that I would love to see one of these movie series have an entire film that never shows the crazy killer that we expect to see. Like, imagine if Jaws 2 just had Chief Brody going nuts trying to stop a shark that never shows up. It would be crazy. Now, imagine if this movie was Laurie spending 40 years anticipating Michael Myers return and then he never does. That would be amazing, and this film almost delivers it. Sure, Michael escapes, kills, and eventually has a showdown with Laurie, but he’s not even looking for her. He’s just killing because he loves to kill. They only come face-to-face because of the machinations of a third party.
More or less, the film does play it safe, though. It mirrors the first one in specific beats, sort of similar to how Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens mirrors the original Star Wars film. And maybe that’s what we want from a Halloween movie. This is a simple story, but told quite well and it doesn’t try to do too much. It’s a crowd-pleaser and a decent time, and sometimes, that’s enough.
For more of my thoughts on this film, I just guessed on the Married Cinematic Universe Podcast, where we went in-depth on our feelings for this movie. You can listen HERE.