Directed by: David Gordon Green
Written by: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley
Based on Characters Created by: John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Produced by: Jason Blum, Malek Akkad, Bill Block
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Will Patton, Nick Castle, Andi Matichak, Omar J. Dorsey.
A continuation of the first Halloween (1978), serial killer Michael Myers (Nick Castle), the boogie man, remains behind the walls of Smith Grove Sanatorium.
He doesn’t speak; he’s The Shape. Without reason he is the ultimate human monster.
And forty years after her last encounter, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), now a grandmother (to Allyson (Andi Matichak), knows he’s a monster. She has sacrificed her life, losing her daughter (Karen (Judy Greer)) to social services because of her obsession to prepare as she waits and hopes for his release… so she can kill him.
There’s not much more to the story: the monster, the mask, the victim turned heroin.
Director and co-writer David Gordon Green (Stronger (2017), Pineapple Express (2008), All The Real Girls (2003)) isn’t known for working in horror. Yet he’s successfully kept the re-boot of this thriller simple yet effective in the telling.
There’s an echo from the original Halloween that gives that 70s tone with the same synth soundtrack and font for title and credits. It feels like the same film but brought forward in time with a story-line with details giving the film a surprising sharp edge (ha, ha): it’s violent and bloody without getting over cheesy with too much gore.
There’s clever editing and careful shooting never slowing down the monster; and a sometime focus on the eyes of the stalked without too much drama. Just some good old fashion knife-in-the-neck, head stomping, hanging-from-a-wrought-iron-fence-by-the-head horror, shown in shot without any need to linger.
John Carpenter states, ‘I’m excited for audiences to see this. It is going to scare the shit out of you. I guarantee it.’
The monster behind the mask is scary because his face is never shown, he’s a mystery. I still don’t understand why he’s evil and the film doesn’t explore the depths of his psyche, just the statement that fifty clinical psychiatrists who assessed Michael reached different conclusions.
It’s the way the film is shown that’s interesting and the intensity is relieved with some good humour like Michael’s current and long-term psychiatrist Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) being told to sit still after his patient escapes, ‘I am sitting still, what are you saying?’
And the little dude, Julian (Jibrail Nantambu) being baby-sat (of course) a classic, wanting to be the pretty babysitter’s favourite with some fun dialogue from the writers that I always appreciate in a good slasher movie.
Yet more importantly, there’s a careful piecing together of moments that gives the film a solid driving undercurrent with the relentless pursuit of the masked monster and the equally resilient Laurie Strode determined to exterminate what she can see is pure evil.
A blunt and bold telling that made me feel like I was re-watching a classic made new.
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