I heard a right-wing commentator on the radio making fun of Jamie Lee Curtis because she was on a talk show and said something about being against assault rifles. He went on and on about how hypocritical it was for her to make a movie like Halloween (she was also a producer) in which her character has a variety of weapons, and like most actors — don’t give a whip about what their characters do on screen. Well, I call hogwash on that. In my opinion, you can have Stallone and Schwarzenegger shooting guns, and still want strict gun laws. You can have characters in movies smoking, and still be against the tobacco industry or think smoking is bad. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite (as long as actors realize, they’re partly glorifying that behavior). Curtis is playing a character that is suffering PTSD from the horrific attacks her family suffered from a psycho killer. My bigger complaint with this movie is that the character is named Michael Myers, because now when I hear that name I just think of Wayne’s World and Austin Powers. When the movie came out in 1978, Myers hadn’t been on SNL yet.
I have an even bigger complaint with this movie being called “Halloween.” Uh, folks…that was the name of the first movie. Why are they using the same name? When the Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th sequels came out…none of them used the same name. What were these guys thinking? I’m not saying the Friday the 13th sequels had clever names — Friday the 13th Part II, Friday the 13th Part III, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, VII: The New Blood, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan…which kind of sounds like a Sex and the City episode.
When the original Halloween came out, I was around 10 and I saw it on HBO. It scared the crap out of me. A lot of that had to do with the great music John Carpenter created, as well as that creepy mask (fun fact: the budget on the film was small, they went to a costume shop and merely bought a William Shatner mask, and painted it white and cut the eye holes up). Luckily, both those things are back in this version. And lucky for the filmmakers, they were able to bring Jamie Lee Curtis back, this time as a grandmother. She screams a lot less than the original, but packs a big punch with her weaponry.
Laurie Strode (Curtis) is dead set (no pun intended) on killing Mike Myers (Nick Castle, also from the original). When he’s going to be transferred to a different facility, Strode figures that will be her Jack Ruby moment.
The fact that this was directed and co-written by David Gordon Green (Stronger, Princess Avalanche, Your Highness, Pineapple Express) worried me. But…he did do Snow Angels, which I loved.
It was also co-written/produced by Danny McBride, his “Your Highness” and “East Bound and Down” partner. Surprisingly, they did a good job making this a love letter to the original that would bookend nicely with the 1978 film. They also added a lot of comedic elements that worked well. My favorite being a little boy that’s being babysat, and is a smart aleck. You adore this kid, and never think he’s too precocious. Sometimes in a film like this the kid is so annoying, you’re rooting for him to get slashed up (like we do with one obnoxious teenager that tries making moves on a girl).
Now, I have to admit I’ve never seen any of the Halloween sequels. I think this picture is done as if those other films never existed.
The movie starts with a podcast crew (Jefferson Hall, Rhian Rees), who visit Myers in his facility, and for some reason, pay Strode $3,000 to talk to her. She basically says, “Get out. And give me my money.”
They get killed first (oh, spoiler alert)…and Myers is back terrorizing the town. Luckily for him (and us), those two kept the mask in their car, so it was easy enough for him to retrieve it.
I don’t think this was in the original (it’s been almost 40 years since I saw it), but I loved that in a few scenes, we can hear Myers breathing. It had a Darth Vader vibe that was cool.
Laurie Strode doesn’t have a relationship with her daughter (Judy Greer), but does sometimes talk with her grandchild Allyson (Andi Matichak). Hey…I know one way Laurie could get back in their good graces. Any guesses on what that is?
There were lots of small touches that tip their hat to the original, and a few lines that I think showed the filmmakers’ love of other movies (one line a sheriff has about how “We can’t just cancel Halloween” after Myers’ escape, is reminiscent of a line in Jaws about closing the beaches on the 4th of July weekend).
The problem I have with this movie is that…well, these just aren’t my cup of tea. If I was 10 again, this would be giving me nightmares and I’d love it. I’m an adult, and this type of storytelling and gore, just isn’t my bag. And yes, it’s very, very gory. At least it had some fun scary moments. It’s even more frustrating when I sit through these horror movies (The Nun being the last one), and you’re not scared by anything. It’s also hard to be an adult and watch these movies, and not notice all the flaws in logic (certainly the row of women behind me at the screening, who couldn’t stop talking at the screen or to each other), probably felt the same.
The movie was a nice nostalgic trip to my childhood. Myers doing his deliberate, slow walk. That great piano riff in the popular score.
The added humor was fun (although the joke about a girl’s boyfriend being 7% Cherokee, got a laugh for a completely different reason).
Horror movie fans won’t be disappointed.
2 ½ stars out of 5.