HALLOWEEN (2018) tries to do everything for the franchise that Scream 4 did for its own, but in the immortal words of Sidney Prescott, “Don’t fuck with the original.”
I paradoxically described HALLOWEEN (2018) as having a bar set incredibly high, but how easily that bar could be met. As the opening scene screeched to its end, I immediately felt a sense of dread, but not the fun kind from seeing the shape stalk babysitters, dread that this movie wasn’t going to get the job done.
The film brilliantly goes back to square one, slashing off the sequels and starting the story directly after the 1978 classic. But bafflingly, it immediately neglects its own premise in favor of leaning heavily on sequel lore; that Michael Meyers is an immortal boogie man and that Laurie Strode is his white whale obsession.
What makes the original Halloween a stand out is how Michael was just a man in a mask, killing people with a knife. That film relies on atmosphere for scares. The 2018 redux ditches that spook in favor of some well-lit close-up gore. The menacing vibe of the shape is lost in ‘money shots.’
It is mired by throwaway subplots and new characters with inexplicable motivations. An exciting new character has a moment that switched my feelings of upset to straight up anger.
The film was so bloated with homage that there was simply no room for anything else. I spent significantly more time asking questions about what was happening than screaming. On a base level, even coming into this cold, it’s apparent that both the story and dialogue are poorly written, with no explanation for major plot points, and conversations that are rendered nonsensical after later twists and reveals.
What could have easily been a self-referential fun film with choice moments, was a clunky mess of references and throwaway lines fit for teaser trailers. Despite referencing almost every element of the original films, it managed to feel like no one involved appreciated nor understood their own muse.
The legend is in no way adapted for 2018. The story of Michael Meyers going on a killing spree one night would be drastically changed by modern technology and sentiments, but the only update the character gets is slightly more brutal kills, including sneaking up on and strangling a child.
Carpenter’s score is the only element that felt like a worthy update of an original. Unfortunately, it was both over and misused, taking all the sting out of Michael’s theme. The climax ultimately gets good with moments that would otherwise make you stand up and cheer, but by then, you will not be committed enough to do so.
Halloween (1978) is an incredible film with a lot of subpar sequels. HALLOWEEN (2018) is no exception.