40 years after Halloween unleashed the pure evil of Michael Myers, the silent slasher franchise returns with a “give the people what they want” formula. In its first-ever “direct” sequel, Michael Myers terrorizes Laurie Strode and Haddonfield, Illinois. It has been done before (ten times), but the 2018 Halloween updates the Myers-Strode saga with satisfying storytelling and references to its predecessor.
After four decades of sequels and remakes, the creative core of the original Halloween reunites for the first time in the new movie. Director and co-writer of the 1978 film John Carpenter is an executive producer. Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode) and Nick Castle (Michael Myers) also reprise their original roles.
There are three key secondary characters who are quickly introduced. Judy Greer and Andi Matichak play Laurie Strode’s daughter and granddaughter. Will Patton is a Haddonfield sheriff’s deputy and the stereotypical only smart cop in a small town.
There are other secondary characters who are introduced in Halloween. Most are not terribly memorable. Predictably, many do not make it to the final credits.
These characters are stabbed, mutilated, and strangled as the film carries on the franchise’s reputation for concocting gore. After all these years, Michael Myers and John Carpenter have not lost their touch. The film is the only time that I ever want to witness gas station dentistry.
All this violence takes place as we learn about Laurie Strode’s life from 1978 to 2018. PTSD from the first Halloween transformed Strode into a recluse with an apocalypse-ready fortress. She has anticipated Michael Myers’ return so much that the training and preparation destroyed her family.
Meanwhile, Michael Myers has been locked inside an asylum. He escapes after yet another movie prison bus crash, allowing him to reacquaint himself with his abattoir hobby.
It is during this free-for-all that some gaping holes in Halloween’s story unmask themselves. Ranbir Sartin, a doctor obsessed with Myers, is an underdeveloped character whose limited involvement randomly facilitates parts of the film. The town is also a little too agnostic about Myers’ capabilities.
Similar missing plot points only raise eyebrows. They do not negatively effect the overall outcome of Halloween. The film moves at a crisp pace. The confrontation between Myers and Strode is all that really matters.
The film’s casting choices pan out well in the moments leading to this clash. Greer and Matichak believably play a family who have lived with a boogeyman they’ve never encountered. They also play instrumental roles in the Strode-Myers tussle, a scene that is good enough to justify the franchise’s return.
There are several references to the 1978 film throughout the 2018 Halloween. Many of these are present in the final scenes. The design of the house, camera shots, and music twist aspects of the original Halloween in a way that caters to fans and brings the story full circle.
By ignoring previous sequels and returning to the original Halloween premise, John Carpenter meets expectations. If box office numbers are any gauge, audiences were looking forward to a Strode-Myers rematch. By nodding to the original film and crafting a noteworthy ending, Halloween is a successful movie that is worth taking a stab at.