Halloween (I) (2018)
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Yes, I was expecting this to have numerous moments of cheese... How wrong I was.
As an avid fan of horror movies, I am totally aware of the shambolic efforts that have graced our screens in years past. I was expecting the worst. But...
I highly recommend watching this, tipsy, in the darkness and alone.... a that's how I did it. If you watch it with someone, make sure they shut the hell up!
How could anyone enjoy a film properly with someone waffling in the background?
I saw this at H40 last weekend. When I left the screening I couldn't help but feel as if there's been a lot of marketing and misdirection thrown out there about this film, because watching the trailers and then the film itself it becomes obvious that Halloween (2018) was heavily reworked and edited.
Aside from that, the script is laughably bad (wait until you meet one of the new doctors from Smith's Grove and Allyson's horribly written father, Toby), the character of The Shape has been reduced to a really dumb, careless random murderer behind a mask (goodbye stalking scenes), the pacing of the film feels entirely like an action movie and lacks the "slow burn" of the original, and some characters just disappear from the story and you never hear from them again. It is NOT at all the dark, brooding film suggested in trailer #2.
Only positives, for me: Andi Matichak is fantastic, as are many of the teen actors. The first 1/3 is actually very good. When Michael arrives in Haddonfield, however, the subpar writing and direction really begins to reveal itself.
Overall, it's so disappointingly bad. The positive reviews seem somewhat disingenuous, probably because of the #metoo subplot (which is nice, but doesn't in and of itself make a film "good") and less of a reflection of the actual quality of the movie overall. All of the TIFF viewers that raved about this should be ashamed, they clearly got caught up in being at the premiere and having the actors in their presence, so they overhyped the movie to the rest of us.
So, so disappointed. The original "Halloween II," somehow, is the far superior film.
Genre: Horror/Slasher My Score: 8.2
Cast=7 Acting=6 Plot=9 Ending=9 Story=7 Scare=7 Jump=8 F/X=10 Kills=10 Blood=9
Laurie Strode confronts her long-time foe Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
"He was not her brother, that's something that people made up." I think my favorite part is that it brought back some of the feel of the original films. The story pulls a days of future past and resets the timeline...turning the franchise into a giant etch-a-sketch. The dynamic of Laurie and Michael's lives was really fascinating and adds depth to the plot. I think this is a solid watch for slasher fans and a must see for fans of the franchise.
....a total and utter surprise, this was a quality film, one that felt as if it had a level of respect for its original, it respected its roots, but forgot all those that came between, perhaps no bad thing.
Michael Myers the man, he transformed years back into some kind of superhero villain, unable to die, able to die and come back life, here he's treated as just a man, very well done.
The writing is fantastic, I loved the story, and how it played out, if only previous films were this standard. The music was absolutely fantastic, I loved it, the best of the original.
Gripping, well acted, exciting, intriguing. Ranks second after the original. 8/10
This film's director, David Gordon Green, has sold himself as a lifelong admirer, lover, and devotee of John Carpenter's original, and while glimmers of that fanboydom shine through periodically, if not continually, they do so in the most ham-handed fashion imaginable (as when Laurie's thrown from a second-story balcony, only to disappear from view immediately thereafter, a la the conclusion of the original). I applaud and was nerdily delighted to see that the opening and closing credits were captured in the same orange font as the original's, but that fact is hardly worth praising when weighed against the sheer stupidity of the bombastic opening sequence (featuring the deplorable British podcasters producers) and the lackluster, anticlimactic conclusion.
A lot's been said and reported, too, of this film's significance in its depiction of a female protagonist dealing with the long-term effects of trauma and striving to reclaim her narrative. Fair enough, but that places upon Jamie Lee Curtis the onus of delivering a pretty bare, fierce, and no-holds-barred Laurie Strode performance. And does she? Well, if you've seen the trailers, you've seen the best of it. But JLC can hardly be blamed for the travesty that is hackneyed writing. Perhaps not every traumatized woman would resort to reclusion in a heavily militarized hermitage and restless rumination over and obsession with an event that occurred 40 years earlier. Laurie's struggles with PTSD are every bit the caricature that the ad campaigns suggest, with her booby-trapped home and arsenal of semi-automatic weapons. In point of fact, she feels more like Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor than Laurie Strode, and whether or not that's a desirable transfiguration is, I guess, in the eye of the beholder.
But above all, I think this film's major transgressions are (1) that is isn't in ANY remote way scary, and (2) that it totally fails to capture any of the original film's essence of simplistic creepiness (which was, after all, the entire point and vision behind retconning out the sequel mythology that followed). Lest we forget that, in the original, Michael slit a chick's throat after choking her, stabbed a guy (once), and choked another chick with a telephone cord. Here, he brutally massacres victims in a manner that's totally on-brand for all of the stupid sequels that were so painstakingly left behind: he rips out teeth, decapitates, impales, and bludgeons, much like Rob Zombie's incarnation did. There's nothing simple, sophisticated, or high-brow about anything that's being served here. And while it may be a stretch to categorize any horror movie as "classy," Carpenter's original came damn close to that distinction. The "genre-defying" Green is fundamentally a humorist, and I don't think that he and his retinue, despite their admiration of and purported respect for the source material, were up to the task of producing a sequel worthy of the original (and when you forcibly scrap every intervening entry in the franchise, for better or worse, that's an expectation you set).
It's a way which I didn't want to see since it was announced, but man did it beat my expectations!
The new variation of the theme music is awesome, John Carpenter serves as executive producer and Laurie's iconic hair from the original is back (!)
I swear this is one of those movies which words cannot serve justice to how great it is, and this is all coming from someone who's seen every Halloween to date. BUT, if you really want to enjoy it even more, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch the original first!!!
Jamie Lee back in action, Carpenter on board as a producer and scorer--what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, a few things.
One, this new "Halloween" seems to be having an identity crisis. It's a somber psychoanalysis on the effects of severe trauma. It's a teenage relationship film. It's a babysitter-in-peril slasher film. It's an action-packed revenge movie. It's too many things, none of them consistent. One moment we're watching hand-held, soft-focus camerawork focusing on a crying Jamie Lee as she copes with her past trauma--a beautiful, poignant shot with diffused lighting that's very "indie." The next, we're transported back into a 1980s slasher film before taking a veer into an episode of "Dawson's Creek" with two teenagers at the school dance. Scenes and tones transition without much coherency, almost as if the director was trying to force several film genres into one movie to cover all possible audience bases. You want a thumping action flick with shootouts and fights? We gotcha covered. A classic slasher film complete with 80s synth score? We got ya there, too. For the kids, you want something to relate to, some high school problems? Come on in. Had the film chosen to stick to one or even two of these genres, I feel the tone would have benefitted from it massively.
Yes, Michael is back and deadly, the kills being more akin to Rob Zombie's entries in terms of explicit violence. When Michael is on-screen, the film works wonderfully. Unfortunately, this being a "Halloween" film and a slasher, he's in it far too seldom for my taste. In the original "Halloween", Michael is a presence in the film from the opening right towards the very end, barely going 5 minutes without an appearance of some sort--lurking around bushes, watching from street curbs, etc. In this "Halloween", there's an entire 20-minute segment with no Michael at all. What's more, entire narrative segments have either been left unscripted or edited out for running time, leaving some jarring transitions where some offscreen action is explained via dialogue. One of these is the critical bus crash that allows Michael to escape--the scene is never witnessed in the film, only the aftermath. The same can be said for the fate of one character, whose death we only see in hindsight.
There are also two completely out-of-left-field subplots that spring up and go absolutely nowhere. How they weren't written out is beyond me, as they promise much exposition in the coming scenes only to completely be abandoned or forgotten about in the next. One has to wonder if such "twists" were really necessary to get said character from point A to point B--certainly there are less outlandish ways, no?
But all's not lost. The film does provide several hair-raising moments of suspense, and, when it plays to its slasher root strengths, works. One can't help but lament how much better it would have been had these elements been the sole priorities throughout.
Jamie Lee is fantastic again as Laurie Strode, and the new cast members all hold their own. The cinematography, albeit ranging from tonally inconsistent indie shots to glossy big-production horror film, is all very good, as is the music.
There's fun to be had here, no doubt, but the overall product is a strange mishmash of ideas and genres, like putting multiple kids' breakfast cereals into one bowl.
The original "Halloween" sequel still reigns supreme.
Halloween returns for it's final chapter, and manages to deliver everything you'd expect from a Halloween sequel, and some things you won't see coming. The film opens with the documentary crew visiting Michael, a scene that's been covered quite extensively in the trailers. You'd expect things to go bad immediately but the film pulls back (not before the intro played, to Carpenter's wonderful score) to introduce its key players and gives them time to breath, setting up the status quo and making them more relatable.
With three generations of Strodes to choose from, there's certainly something for everyone to be able to relate to. Jamie Lee Curtis's Laurie has spent the last few decades getting ready to take Michael out, isolating herself and destroying all her relationships in the process. She has two failed marriages behind her and no relationship with her daughter. Only her granddaughter seems to pay any attention to her, as much as she can anyway, as she enters the movie in the throws of teenage romance, with all the angst and supporting characters such a romance requires. Throw in the Sherrif, Michael's doctor and the documentary crew in the mix, and the movie certainly does a great job of setting up a diverse buffet for Michael to slice and dice his way through. And that, he does. Boasting some truly memorable kills, Halloween does not hold back on the violence and gore, instead using it to build up dread throughout the movie. In fact, the whole film is an exercise in dread, slowly building up tension throughout its runtime and exploding into a glorious, bloody finale.
While the films comes close to going off the rails trying to keep all its moving parts together (there's an odd subplot that pops up halfway through and one that I did not see coming, but never really goes anywhere and is STOMPED out pretty quickly), it manages to hold it all together and deliver a fantastic (hopefully) final entry in franchise, with some fist-pumping moments sure to be memorialized in pop-cult history. Excellent performances by Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer.
Some points to note: -There is a lot of Scream 4 in here. From self-aware teens to a toughened-up, table-turning protagonist. Not necessarily a bad thing. -I thought this was a sequel to H1 and H2, but early on they make a point of saying Michael Meyers has killed 5 people - which could not include H2's body count? -It's a pleasure to see Michael Meyers finally cement his position as the Boogeyman of Haddonfield, part of it done during a wonderful long-take.
People are very, very dumb in this. Like, "there is a bus crashed off on the side of the road and mental patients wondering the street!". "Let me leave my child in the car while I investigate". Or "I know we are hiding underneath a kitchen counter/trap door in the kitchen and Michael won't likely find us but let me make as much noise as possible with my crying to help him find us". Or "I am a lady in the ladies room using the bathroom but why is this strange man in a jump suit and steel boots in here"? "And why is he opening every stall door?" "When he gets to mine I'll just tell him it's occupied" "Wait he won't leave...now he's just standing here, OH MY GOD TEETH!" And the list goes on.
I had high expectations (I don't know why). Jamie Lee Curtis did a good job I thought. As for Michael, this is a nitpick but he's unmasked a little too much for my liking. They never fully show his face but you see him from behind and from the side and he's an old, balding, white male with white hair. I kept expecting him to turn around and it actually be Richard Dreyfuss. The movements weren't Michael like, he moved almost like a robot or like someone was controlling him with a PS4 controller or something.
I just wish the movie would have been a little better. Especially when Michael finally returns to Haddonfield. It should have really picked up there but unfortunately the movie went down with lame kills, unwanted comedy, and the movie actually being edited badly. There is a scene where Michael is struck with a cop car and it is shot so badly. I hate to nitpick on something like that but it was so bad and obvious. The ending was flat and it was clear that the directors didn't want to kill Michael off because they want to make another one. If this guy traumatized you that bad, why wouldn't you make sure he was dead for sure. Why catch him on fire (they never show Michael actually being on fire) instead of shooting him in the head? He was standing right there?
I like the Halloween movies and hoped this would set them on a new better path but it might be time to FINALLY just let these movies and the Michael character be because this wasn't it.
It is a phenomenal movie, I only wish more horror sequels were like it.
Side note: ignore the haters. I read most of the bad reviews here and it's evident they never saw the movie but are just ripping into it for their own malicious reasons. Ignore especially those who claim to be fans of the original. An example would be kylejs-71926, who definitely has never been a fan of horror or Stephen King. Why watch this if you hate horror movies? Losers.
We're told that Laurie Strode is so traumatized about her experience she has spent 40 years reliving the horror and preparing for the day when the Shape comes for her. Why the hell would she have stayed in Haddonfield???? What was holding her there? A sense of duty? That she, and only she, could put a stop to him? Preposterous. And then when she and her daughter are hiding in the basement and the Shape is in the house looking for her, she draws attention to him by shooting into the floorboards?????? Why would she do that? Preposterous. And then this incredibly anticlimactic confrontation we've waited 40 years for and all that happens is that she traps him in the basement and sets the place on fire??? And then doesn't even wait around to make sure he's gone?
The movie made this big point about how Myers had the ability to speak but chose to be silent. So you would think that was leading up to something. The Brits tried to get a word out of him and failed. The new Loomis begged him to say something with his dying breath to no avail. Would Laurie be the one person who could reach Myers where everyone else failed? Wouldn't the fans of this franchise appreciate it if she could get one word out of him . . . something for waiting 40 years for this showdown. Nothing. How boring.
Was there any merit to this film at all? Any shining light in a sea of blah? Just one - the black kid. He was hilarious. He's got a career ahead of him. The rest of the actors . . . .Zzzzzz.
I hate writing spoiler alerts and I won't ruin this film for anyone willing to pay to go to the theatres to see it, so I won't go into any real details. There were plenty of kills--on and off screen--but it just felt like the filmmakers were rushing a dying story along to it's inevitable end, but not doing a good job of taking its audience along for the ride.
A few good jump scares, to me, does not equate to a very good horror movie.
Laurie Strode has been reduced to a binge drinking, neurotic, gun-toting momma with zero people skills. Michael is still...well, Michael. Good old, non-responsive, non-speaking Michael. Both have aged but still can hold their own against the other. And if it had been just the two of them, mano a mano, to the very end--much like Neo and Agent Smith in Matrix Revolution--I would have rooted and cheered them on.
But, instead I found myself squirming in my chair, wondering how did I allow myself to get suckered into yet another senseless slasher film with no strong plot, no strong characters, and no strong ending. Even the plot twist near the end of the film involving Myers' doctor was weak and did nothing to move the story along, seeming out of place and time, much like the rest of this movie.
I went into this wanting to love this newest installment of the franchise. But I can't sit here now and lie--much like I lied to myself in that theatre chair--and say that this is going to get better. Believe me, it's not. I did like the few nods the filmmakers gave to some of the earlier films and John Carpenter's signature score.
Trust me, this is not one of the Halloween movies that has to be viewed on the big screen to be fully enjoyed. I wish I had waited to rent it from Redbox.