Critic Consensus: Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic - yet still effective - ingredients.
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as Laurie Strode
as Karen Strode
as Allyson Strode
as Michael Myers
as The Shape
as Dr. Sartain
as Cameron Elam
as Warden Kuneman
as Sheriff Barker
as News Reporter
as Phineas Boggs from Voyagers!
as Jeffrey Jones from Voyagers!
News & Interviews for Halloween
Critic Reviews for Halloween
A brutal rumination on intergenerational pain, and the ways that male cruelty can make good women bad.
Rather than having the camera move implacably down a fated path, [Carpenter] seems to be flexing his muscles along with his anti-hero, as if hoping to guarantee them both a place in the horror hall of fame.
There are gaping plot holes and characters make idiotic decisions, but watching three generations of women take on Myers-with some great callbacks to the original-is irresistibly satisfying.
It lays on the dread with finesse before turning the tables in mostly creative ways.
Audience Reviews for Halloween
As an attempt to reinvigorate the Halloween franchise, the film mostly works. I have a few problems with it, mostly involving the 40-year gap and ignoring the previous films. I hold know ill will towards ignoring Resurrection, and it'd be pretty weird if they acknowledged the Thorn trilogy and all that. But the problem with ignoring everything is that Michael Myers goes from a force with 100s of kills to 5. We as the audience understand Michael Myers as a force of nature, but the characters in the movie shouldn't, but they still treat him that way. Laurie's trauma I understand and actually kind of like. At first I felt the same way about it that I did about everyone else's reaction to Michael, but really she was at ground zero to Michael's rampage, and just looking to real life people have gotten messed up from far less so it's actually believable she'd become this reclusive person prepping for his return. The film is at it's best when it's Laurie's story. I'd kind of compare it to the Aliens films. In the first one, it was people totally unprepared. In the second one, we got to see what happens when soldiers face off against the Aliens. Here, Laurie has completely Home Alone'd her house to prepare for Michael, so the final confrontation is satisfying because she knows what to do and she's prepared for it. However, the other characters are still required to do lots of stupid stuff. There's some dumb comedy and weird character bits, and I actually didn't mind it for the most part because it gave a level of realism to their world. What I did mind was when people would do the dumbest things they could. Not just things like "oh, they don't know they're in a slasher movie," dumb, things no person should do in any situation regardless of a killer being on the loose dumb. There's also some annoying subplots that go absolute nowhere, like a cheating boyfriend. Most slasher movies would take the chance to kill him, but here he just...I don't even know, he never even shows up again after being a dick. Look, the film has problems when I look back at it is what I'm saying. But while I was watching it, I can't deny it was a satisfying Halloween film. Far and away the best of the sequels, and definitely a better return than H20. There's a great approach to Michael as a creepy force in the distance that I really liked. There's one scene in particular where I thought to myself "wait, did I just see him walking by in the background there?" and I really wasn't sure I had until the characters started finding bodies. Stuff like that is great and gives it a creepy atmosphere. It's got good atmosphere, but for me it was never outright scary. I was never really terrified or genuinely creeped out, more just thought "ooh, that was well done". Still, it's a good return, and it shows Michael well, and Jamie Lee Curtis absolutely owns the show.
Halloween is yet another reboot, revival, whatever, that once again fails to recapture the thrill and horror of the original. Forty years after his killing spree Michael Myers escapes while being transferred to a new facility and Laurie Strode, one of the original survivors, attempts to hunt him down. Unfortunately Jamie Lee Curtis doesn't have the magic touch this time (like in H2O) and brings nothing new or interesting to the series. In fact, it's rather sad what's done to the Laurie Strode character. And, the film doesn't really gain much by wiping out all of the previous sequels from continuity: Michael Myers gets a little bit of his mystique back and the brutality of his killings make him someone to be feared once again. But the plot is pretty lame and the characters aren't all that compelling (or even likable). Halloween is a lackluster sequel that couldn't even come up with a new title, let alone a good story.
t's been 40 years since the original Halloween changed the horror industry. That is no overstatement. The low-budget 1978 movie by John Carpenter was a box-office sensation and ushered in a decade-plus of bloody slasher cinema. It's even been 20 years since Halloween: H20, which was a 20-years-later sequel bringing original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis back into the mix. It's now been another full H20 of time since that film, which makes me feel old, personally. Rob Zombie revived the franchise in 2007 with a back-story for methodical killing machine Michael Myers that nobody asked for (surprise: his family life was not great). Now an H40 later, director David Gordon Green and actor/writer Danny McBride have revived the franchise by going back to its roots, namely by ignoring all of the seven sequels and bringing back Curtis yet again. The new Halloween 2018 edition is a strange experience for fans. The first half feels like an elusive parody of the franchise, and then the second half drops comedic pretext and becomes much more serious and straightforward. As my pal Ben Bailey said, I can understand people hating this movie or loving it depending upon the half they focus on. This new Halloween ends on a high note but still could have been so much more. In the decades since the original murders on Halloween, Laurie Strode (Curtis) is living a hermetic life. She's never fully recovered from the events of her traumatic youth, and so has been preparing intensely for Michael's eventual return. She rigorously trained her own daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), for self-defense to be a survivalist, locking her in the basement and training her with an array of firearms. Laurie thought she was drilling her daughter to be strong and a survivor, but the state had other interpretations, and so Karen was removed from her mother's home and grew up resenting her oppressive, paranoid mom who took away her childhood. Karen has forbidden her own daughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), from interacting with her crazy grandma, but both find ways. Michael Myers breaks loose from a prison transport and is heading back to Haddonfield with a mission to find and kill Laurie. They're on a collision course H40 years in the making. Let's focus on that peculiar first half first. There were several points that made me shake my head and wonder if they were trying to be subtlety tongue-in-cheek or bad on purpose, and because of the pedigree behind the project, I had to give it the benefit of the doubt, but to what end? Why skewer horror tropes in a subtle way that could be construed as simply being bad instead? Why even do it for this franchise and then mostly drop it by the second half? There were several moments where I had to laugh and I wasn't fully sure it was intended. This was my dilemma watching Halloween 2018 and I'm sure others will have a similar experience, scratching their heads and wondering why the movie is going the route that it is. Take for instance the horror trope of the bad babysitter. We have another situation where a nubile high school girl is going to invite her boyfriend over for some late-night action, nodding to the 1978 original film. Except the kid being babysat sees through everything and calls out his babysitter. He's a street-smart kid who speaks with the voice of the knowing participant, like when he tells the boyfriend that he will die if he goes upstairs (spoiler alert: this kid is prophetic). There's a string of kills that feel perfunctory, like the filmmakers have noticed that too much time has passed and have to satiate audience bloodlust to buy them another ten or so minutes of setup and characters. The kills themselves are lackluster. Even the gratuitous nudity is fleeting, confined to a quick flashback relating to young Michael Myers spying on his big sister (one of these days a slasher movie is going to be replete with wall-to-wall male nudity and no boobs just to mess with its target audience). There's the trope of the ineffective police officer. After finding out Michael Myers is on the loose, an officer bluntly says, "What are we gonna do? Cancel Halloween?" The answer is, yes, you cancel the trick-or-treat activities for the town where this guy is clearly heading and you adequately warn the populace. You ask for assistance from anyone with a cell phone to broadcast the whereabouts of fugitive Michael Myers. The guy is pretty large and easy to spot, plus he's not that traditionally fast. A citywide digital manhunt might have made for a more interesting movie premise with some genuine cultural commentary. Or take for instance the stupid side characters meant to be fodder for the merciless kill count. The movie mysteriously gives these disposable characters little one-minute asides to present a glimpse of another story that we're just not privy to. There's the little kid who doesn't want to go hunting and wants to be accepted by his father as a dancer. Okay, that's a more interesting conflict than I thought, and then the dad immediately stops at the site of a bus crash with wandering chained inmates and says, "I'm gonna check this out, stay here." It's like Green and McBride gave us one page of characters from an indie drama and then had them smash back into idiotic plot devices making the most headache-inducing decisions. Another instance is a pair of cops debating over adult meals and bread. I appreciate the effort to try and flesh out the characters in a way that makes them feel more real, but then they have no larger bearing than being the next in a line of victims. There are other strange reminders that things just aren't exact with the movie, at least for the first half. It's this curiously overwrought, off sensation that keeps the audience from fully engaging, being told to possibly laugh with or at the movie. I also think the film is fundamentally flawed in its approach, namely by elevating Laurie's granddaughter as a co-lead. Allyson is too removed from the situation to give an interesting perspective, so she becomes any other teenage heroine we've seen in scores of slasher cinema likely meant to appeal to a teenage ticket-buying audience. The real conflict and the real story is the relationship between Laurie and her estranged adult daughter. There is so much drama there to unpack and the movie would be far better had the filmmakers eliminated the majority of the extraneous characters and focused on these two women and their decades-long acrimony. Get rid of Allyson's boyfriend, who gets way too much screen time to simply be jettisoned without resolution (his lone purpose seems to be disposing of her cell phone). Get rid of his friend, a supposed "nice guy" with his own entitlement issues. Get rid of the babysitter friend and her dumb boyfriend. Get rid of the cops. Get rid of the Doctor Loomis prison doctor replacement, nicknamed the "new Loomis." Get rid of them all, including Allyson. I would have preferred Allyson being murdered in the middle of the second act as a means of raising the stakes and forcing Laurie and Karen together again. This is very much a PTSD film about the long ramifications of trauma and how it affects multiple generations. I would have loved seeing that play out in the interplay between Laurie and the daughter that she pushed away in an attempt to save her life. There is so much palpable drama there that I'm genuinely shocked how little Karen figures in Halloween 2018. It's such wasted dramatic potential as well as a better focal point for the movie. It's the second half, and in particular the third act, that saved the movie for me. The finale is everything fans would want, transforming into a surging siege thriller built around Laurie's well-armed abode. It's here where the movie becomes a multi-generational fight to the finish and the Strode women must team up to fight the man responsible for the long lingering trauma that has defined their lives in innumerable ways. It's a climax that feels elevated by the pull of history, and it's terrific and terrifically satisfying. Watching Laurie stalk the house in search of Michael Myers, going from room to room and locking them down, is the first actually nervous sequence in the film, benefiting from the investment we have in Laurie as an avenging figure. It's during this sequence where Curtis (Freaky Friday) and Greer (Jurassic World) remind us what wonderful actors they can be. It made me wish for my more realized version of the two of them and their relationship even more. This is where Green (Stronger) also demonstrates his best sense of geography and escalation. Beforehand there are a few nifty tracking shots, paying homage to the opening of the original, but they're self-contained, congratulatory moments. It's the finale that made me realize what this movie should have been from its first frame. Lucky for Halloween 2018 it ends a high note (excluding the cliche post-credit revelation). The newest Halloween movie has lit up the recent box-office charts and ensures this won't be the last we see of Michael Myers and potentially old lady Laurie Strode. That's kind of a shame because Green's movie serves up a fitting finale for the series that could work as a capper for Laurie as a character and a survivor of trauma. But alas, the ringing of cash registers will be enough to extend the franchise and carry on more blood-letting adventures for the man in the William Shatner mask. Halloween 2018 starts off fairly rocky with a question concerning overall tone and intent. There's humor that feels grafted on from other parallel reality versions of this story, somehow blurring together into a weird final product. The second half works much better than the first when it stops cracking wise and takes itself seriously enough to realize where the real drama lies, with Laurie facing down her demons and working together with the women of her family for maximum vengeance. Watching three generations of Strode women fighting together is a triumphant conclusion. It's a shame that it won't actually exist as a conclusion for that much longer. Nate's Grade: C+
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