by Gabby Pfleger
The newest addition to the long-reigning Halloween movie franchise, ‘Halloween’ (2018) was officially released in theaters on Friday October 19. It most notably stars Jamie Lee Curtis who, 40 years after the release of the original, returns to her iconic role of Laurie Strode (the protagonist from the 1978 film) alongside Andi Matichak as protagonist Allyson, and Nick Castle as the infamously stoic Michael Meyers.
Also making a reappearance to the franchise is executive producer John Carpenter, director of the 1978 film and scorer of both the 1978 and 2018 versions. Having both Carpenter and Curtis (two people very familiar with the series) combined with director David Gordon Green’s total admiration of the original movie meant this reboot had all the promise of the film released four decades earlier. However, not everyone was convinced.
Few people are experts in the slasher film genre, but the public knows what it likes, and the original ‘Halloween’ is one horror fans can’t get enough of. What dedicated audiences definitely don’t like, however, is an overly-cheesy rendition of a classic film. So, when this new sequel was officially announced in April 2018, many thriller junkies were immediately skeptical. Replacing the director was a cause of concern; (David Gordon Green readily admits to having almost no horror experience prior to this movie). Not to mention this film is a direct sequel to the one made in 1978, completely disregarding the original sequels of the ‘80s.
It was a major surprise, therefore, when the movie turned out to be a success! Contrary to the fears of many, Green stayed true to the style and tone of the first beloved films, while taking enough creative liberties to make it his own unique creation. The characters were interesting, the events were paced beautifully, and the fact that is was made on such a strict budget using a variety of experimental techniques (very reminiscent of how Wes Craven described the production of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984)) made it the underdog film of the year.
Green had mentioned in one article that he watched John Carpenter’s Halloween 90 times in preparation, and every second of that time and research made it a perfect continuation of the story. ‘Halloween’ (2018) was the perfect tribute to the original and to John Carpenter himself; with camera set-ups that mimicked the original, coupled with that all too recognizable theme music and the nostalgic return of Jamie Lee Curtis.
It was everything an updated slasher could hope to be. The way Green was able to create the perfect balance of tension and panic throughout the film was especially enjoyable, and the gore was effective in providing a strong shock factor without being overdone. Every killing was just as surprising and gruesome as the one before it, and with every glimpse of Michael standing silently behind his newest victim came a heightened feeling of unease.
In the words of Jamie Lee Curtis herself, during an interview with the Washington Post shortly before the film’s release, “’It is everything that the first movie was… It was simple, it was terrifying’”. And she’s not the only one who thinks so: making $77.5 million in opening weekend alone and breaking box office records as a result, the new Halloween movie has already made itself at home in the hearts of horror fans, a perfect slasher for anyone looking for a thrill this Halloween season.