Forty years ago, John Carpenter shocked audiences with the classic 1978 slasher flick Halloween. Since then, the film has become a household name of the horror genre, making disturbed slasher and epitome of evil, Michael Myers, into a film icon.
After several shoddy sequels and numerous parodies, the famous killer got to make a fresh appearance on the big screen in director David Gordon Green’s latest film, Halloween.
Halloween takes place four decades after the original film, since which Michael Myers has been detained in a criminal asylum. Laurie Strode—portrayed once again by Jamie Lee Curtis—has been driven to paranoia and isolation after being the sole survivor of Michael’s first onslaught. This has significantly strained her relationship with her daughter, Karen—played by Judy Greer—and her granddaughter, Allyson—played by Andi Matichak.
After a freak prison bus crash allows Michael to escape on Halloween night, Laurie must protect her family and finish Michael off once and for all.
Halloween is the perfect mix of old and new, with Green adding his own unique style to the legendary franchise while simultaneously preserving what made the original Halloween film so iconic in the first place. The film reuses plenty of components from the original, including John Carpenter’s chilly theme song and bright orange opening titles, while at the same time making the film seem unique.
The cinematography of Halloween is impeccable. Director of photography Michael Simmonds crafts some truly suspenseful shots, with composition and lighting on point in almost every scene to create a truly horrific atmosphere. This feel is helped immensely by the editing, which flows effortlessly from utilizing slow, lingering shots that increase suspense to shaky, visceral scenes that add a sense of momentum when Michael finally reaches his victims.
Plenty of shots come straight from the original Halloween but are included as far more of a homage than a rip-off. At the same time, the cinematography takes exciting turns that make the film stand out in a long history of slasher films. For example, there are several scenes where the camera directly follows Michael stalking his victims and planning his attacks, only to have the camera stop and have the audience clenching their armrests wondering where the killer has gone.
While slashers normally always take the point of view of the protagonist and leave the killer in the shadows, Halloween turns this trend on its head by jumping seamlessly between the viewpoints of Michael and his victims.
While the acting in Halloween is all around superb, Jamie Lee Curtis truly carries the movie. The character of Laurie Strode is a complex character—she is strong and resourceful in her quest to end Michael, but she also has incredible trauma from her tumultuous past.
Curtis absolutely nails this complexity, demonstrating her incredible range. This strong acting is bolstered by a solid script that gets the audience to care about the characters and their plight before the killings begin.
While the film is incredible, it’s by no means perfect. The film features some sub-plots which really amount to nothing more than padding for the rest of the story. The film also features a selection of jump scares that feel amateurish and lazy compared to the incredible ways the film creates tension throughout its runtime.
Despite these flaws, Halloween is a true return to form for slasher films. Whether you’re an avid fan of slasher flicks or someone just curious about horror movies, Halloween is certainly a killer choice to watch this Halloween season.