Despite its legacy as one of the most influential horror series ever, the Halloween franchise has arguably been circling the toilet for some time. A succession of diminishing sequels before an underwhelming retconning took some of the gloss from John Carpenter’s ferocious and chilling original. Schlock hack Rob Zombie tried his handsome ten-odd years ago during that brief but regrettable period of horror remakes, the result of which gave us one tedious Halloween remake and one irritating and tedious Halloween 2 remake. Now, forty years after the night Michael Myers came home, he’s returning in this simply-named reboot-cum-remake produced by Blumhouse with Jamie Lee Curtis back as a subject of Myers’ continued attention, Laurie Strode.
Forty years after the events of the original film, a pair of journalists arrive at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium interested in interviewing Myers. One of the journalists has (somehow) managed to acquire Myers’ mask and, in a move that is so obviously a bad idea it could only exist in a slasher movie, proceeds to wave it around in front of his face. Predictably, the site of the mask and the mention of Strode awakens something within the killer and he breaks out to pursue his victim, a woman who has now turned into a paranoid survivalist determined to destroy her pursuer should she ever meet him again.
The worry here is that, after promises of new life being breathed, aborted false starts and hackneyed reboots, all we’re going to get here is a mere remake, done up in the finery of a “re-imagining”. Jeff Bradley, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green’s script, thankfully, contains enough nods to the classic, while moving the story along in the right direction. Laurie Strode’s reinvention as the slasher equivalent of Sarah Connor is a neat move away from the stereotype of the screeching hysterical final girl, breathing some exciting new life into a franchise that ought to have little right feeling fresh after four decades.
Nods to the original come in droves, neatly crafted to work on a meta-level one removed from direct quotation and will be a treat to fans. It’s also the most outright humorous of all the Halloween movies to date, striking a tone that feels closer to Wes Craven’s wry Scream than previous Myers instalments.
A note of caution: for all its fun and smart sense of identity, Green’s movie lacks a little bit of the tension that still prevails in Carpenter’s original. An ingenious and welcome addition to the series that, like H20 and Resurrection before, it rewrites the canon; this latest edition bodily hauls the show back on the right track, providing fun if slightly too little fear.
Chris Banks |
Horror, Thriller | USA, 2018 | 18| 19th October 2018 (UK, USA) | Universal Pictures | Dir.David Gordon Green | Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Haluk Bilginer
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