Halloween Review

A blessing from the man himself to go forth and sully the reputation of Michael Myers, John Carpenter must be sick of the Halloween series by now. No creator can care this much about a series he has had little involvement in since the early 1980s. Constant reboots, remakes and proclamations of something new for the series have followed. None have offered that. No film to imitate or change his original vision has been better than that. A clean break is a laughable notion at this stage. With so many failed spin-offs, rumblings and returns, it is difficult to take the series all that seriously. But the latest reboot has had some success. Halloween takes audiences back to the basics of Haddonfield, but what can it do once it’s back there? 

Very little, unfortunately. At the very least, this offering from director David Gordon Green feels like the most earnest and viable offering for the series since Halloween II. That is not saying much, but at least the work Green puts in here combines the ambition those brave directors had before him with the core positives of the original feature. Jamie Lee Curtis returns, surrounded by strong characters and recognisable faces. The allure of horror has grown, and that rebirth of the genre sees classic characters like Myers and Laurie Strode return to the screen with competence and confidence behind their next iteration. That is what sets Green on track, but he manages to derail it all anyway. 

His desire to create an overarching narrative is bold and ambitious, but the self-contained styling of the previous iterations was solid. Changing that changes his narrative. It stretches it far beyond the open and closed case audiences would usually expect. A nice change indeed, but only if Green has a story worth stretching over such a time. Halloween Kills will make or break that notion, but the work found in Halloween is open-ended enough to cause a stir yet not as fascinating or alluring as it could have been. Audiences will no doubt remember these angles from the widely viewed Halloween: Resurrection, which no longer counts as canonical. Either way, the revenge story decades down the line has been followed before, and Green is going to have to think big if he wants to shake up the status quo.  

But that is what Halloween has the scope to do. Creative kills and chilling thrills lie within, and that is, at least, a vast improvement over the previous iterations of the series. There is depth, finally, to the characters. They are now more than vessels for screams and slasher-clad moments. Curtis welcomes the opportunity to design new avenues of her character, a new generation follows her through this journey and they act as great support for it. As to whether it can be capitalised on, that is something Green will have to design and think about. Who knows, his work on the series could improve, but Halloween feels, for now, like the sketch marks. The detail is soon to follow. 

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