Doing relative justice to Michael Myers at this point shouldn’t be hard. The sturdy serial killer, who reformed the horror genre back in 1978 with John Carpenter’s Halloween has had his reputation tarnished by a series of increasingly disappointing and weird sequels – remember when his penis got electrocuted by Busta Rhymes? It could only get better after that.
So now he is back in a follow-up that’s also titled Halloween, which ignores all the sequels that came before, attempting to revitalize the series and bring it closer to its roots. The film, helmed by David Gordon Green sees Michael locked up in a psychiatric facility, and the only survivor of his original killing spree Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as a paranoid loner, who lives in a makeshift fortress at the end of town, dreading the day Michael returns. Of course, Michael doesn’t stay locked up, he escapes and heads right to Haddleton, Michigan, where Laurie, her family, and a handful of other supporting characters live. Considering Michael’s holiday plans, it might not be a spoiler to say: you shouldn’t get too attached to most of them.
Michael doesn’t have a motive for his killings because frankly, he doesn’t need one. Yes, we are told once again that he is “evil personified,” but he is still less than that and more like the biggest tool in horror history. He goes to places and does things only because the plot requires him to, without uttering a single word or exhibiting a shred of human like behaviour. Instead of a personality, he’s got a stretched out William Shatner mask, and his only character traits are a series of household items he uses to strangle, stab and club his victims to death with. Also, he is virtually indestructible for some reason, perhaps because there might be some sequels down the line. Sure, he might have a personal grudge against Laurie now, but that aspect is mostly ignored. When the two inevitably face off, it’s more of the same of what had came before in the movie: fake alarms, jump-scares, screaming and blood.
To say that Halloween is totally uninspired and boring doesn’t mean that it’s not well-made. Green has made some beautifully reserved, atmospheric features that lend their tone and pacing to his most recent one, such as Prince Avalanche and All the Real Girls. What he brings to the table is a mood well set, a suspense that is built deliberately, and a cast of characters that doesn’t suffer from the problem casts in slasher movies often do, which is everyone being an unlikeable idiot.
Curtis as Laurie and Judy Greer as her daughter Karen are as good as Hollywood veterans can be at roles that could be comfortably played by college-dropout drama majors, and the rest of the cast are also convincing at just sort of being there until their characters are murdered. It is a by-the-numbers horror movie where the killer keeps killing people until he is stopped, without anything else added to the equation. Some viewers will definitely like that. You know who you are.
Image Credit: Movie DB.