Halloween Film Review
Halloween, the most recent installment of the series of the same name, opened to a $77.5 million weekend, marking it as the best opening in franchise history. The opening also shone light on lead actor Jamie Lee Curtis, 59, whose part in Halloween marks her as the most successful female in a leading role over 55.
The film begins four decades after Michael Myers murdered three people in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois, on Halloween night. Legendary “scream queen,” Jamie Lee Curtis, reprises her role as the sole survivor, Laurie Strode, who is reeling from the trauma, and leads a life controlled by paranoia and obsession 40 years later.
Strode is convinced that one day the imprisoned Myers will escape and come to kill her. Laurie lives is in a remote location on the outskirts of Haddonfield, in a house equipped with a panic room, booby traps, motion sensor lights, and plenty of firearms. Her obsession with Myers has lost her two husbands, and put a strain on her relationship with her daughter Karen, played by Judy Greer. Despite being semi-estranged from Karen, Laurie maintains a close relationship with Karen’s teenage daughter, Allyson, played by Andi Matichak.
Inexplicably, authorities decide that Halloween night is as good a night as any to transfer Michael out of the facility that has confined him for the last four decades, and put him on a bus with a bunch of other mentally ill prisoners. And thus begins a chain of gruesome bloodshed.
The film is laced with call backs to John Carpenter’s original, and even a reference or two to the sequels. At one point Allyson explains to her friends that her grandmother is not Michael Myers’ sister, “That’s just something people made up.” Clearly a nod to the now extinguished plotline, first introduced in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, that Laurie was Michael’s baby sister.
The violence is updated for today’s audiences, which entitles a higher body count and far more shocking gore. The film is genuinely terrifying at times. Green builds tension throughout, moving scenes along slowly but deliberately. The viewers find themselves holding their breath, waiting for the moment when they can jump, and release the stress. But Green constantly holds out, toying with the audience. It’s classic slasher film formula, that at times feels a bit derivative, but remains consistently entertaining.
The supporting cast is all great too, particularly a scene stealing performance by Virginia Gardner who plays Vicky, Allyson’s best friend. She takes over the role of baby-sitter in this Halloween, running around a house, doing her best to elude the murderous Michael Myers and save Julian, the child she’s watching over, in the process.
Overall, the film is a lot of fun. And the whole experience benefits from an in-theater viewing, especially with a large crowd. Don’t wait to catch this one at home. Green’s Halloween acts as a homage to the original, as well as to the slasher genre at large, while managing to breathe new life into a franchise that, at times, has felt dead. Happy Halloween.