Is there any subject in the history of cinema more divisive and debated than a sequel? Whether or not follow-up films are necessary and for better or worse is a matter of subjectivity that swings in either direction depending on who’s talking. But here’s a better question. Are there any time limits to abide by in order for a movie to truly be a sequel? When doing the math for the 40-year gap between the 2018 Halloween and the 1978 original, the answer is an obvious no.
Seven sequels and two remakes have filled the space in between the two films. Such has made Halloween a franchise. However, as anyone with any in-depth knowledge of this new incarnation already knows, none of the sequels or remakes matter in regard to this release. Even Halloween II from 1981 doesn’t count, and the time frame for that one picked up right where the original left off with the subsequent events occurring on the same day.
This 2018 slasher kicks off with a pair a pod casters visiting the sanitarium where Micheal Myers has been incarcerated for four decades. They’re interested in interviewing him but soon realize that any attempt at conversation will fail and they instead opt to merely get the antagonist to react. There’s a tension that builds during this scene. It’s a feeling that Myers will snap if continually provoked. Unfortunately, the apprehensiveness fizzes out when the screen abruptly shifts to the opening credits.
The villain is presently 61-years-old as he was 21 when captured and imprisoned. Forget any logic about the physical shape of people in their sixties. Myers is a strong and nimble as ever. He is shown as a balding, grey-haired mental patient in his opening scene. Yet, he possesses the abilities of a young juggernaut capable of stomping a human head into brain matter with the energy of one motion. The character’s age is also no longer noticeable once he is reunited with his signature mask.
Laurie Storde (Jamie Lee Curtis) returns as a now paranoid, neurotic, shut-in who’s spent the gap in years preparing for doomsday by making her home into a barricaded fortress and training her daughter to shoot rifles and fist-fight. This upbringing causes an estranged relationship between the elder Strode and the rest of the family.
Haluk Bilginer plays the role of Dr. Sartain, a student of Samuel Loomis who assumed Loomis’ responsibilities over Myers following the death of the former. It seems as though Bilginer was only cast to fill the void left by Donald Pleasence who portrayed Loomis five times over the course of the franchise. The most distasteful scene in the film occurs when Sartain is referred to by name as “the new Loomis.” It comes off as rather cheap and lazy to have Bilginer stand in and mimic Pleasence’s performances. When considering the legacy that Pleasence has in Halloween films, it would have been better not to have someone try to take his place. It’s a disrespectful move that deserves two thumbs down and an endless amount of criticism.
The positive aspects of this new release include some engaging cinematography, including a few shots that pay ode to the original, a musical score composed by John Carpenter, and the highly invested acting of Jamie Lee Curtis. Even some of Myer’s kills deserve praise as he kills a preteen for the first time in known history; a decision that could have many crying foul.
The negative aspects include large amounts of stoner humor, something that likely spilled over from writer Danny McBride’s and director David Gordon Green’s work on Pineapple Expresss. Some may say that a dose of humor is necessary in a Halloween movie, however if the humor were removed from the script, there would be no foreseeable adverse results on the final product. Some of the dialogue is meaningless as well.
The intention of this sequel seems to be to provide a sense of nostalgia for those who saw Halloween as teenagers in 1978. And it could have done exactly that had a few details been changed. But It’s unlikely that someone 55 or older will take interest in seeing it. There’s something about it that doesn’t feel connected to its predecessor. Maybe it’s the natural modernization between the two flicks over 40 years, or maybe it’s that 40 years is just a bit too long in general. Despite this discord, younger generations should find themselves completely capable of enjoying this film.