Halloween (2018), by Cameron J. Czaja

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if was going to watch the new Halloween film Halloween Ends. I said yes, but not until Halloween. Ever since I saw the classic 1978 film Halloween for the first time on the title holiday in 2017, I decided that whenever a new Halloween film comes out, I will watch it on said night. A year later after watching Halloween (1978), I saw the direct sequel, Halloween (2018), on the same evening and did the same thing again three years later for Halloween Kills (2021). Even though I won’t have a review ready for Halloween Ends in time for this year because I don’t want to break my tradition, I will however review the 2018 film simply titled Halloween

The Halloween franchise on the whole, is a confusing mess. Apparently, there are multiple continuities including one anthology film and a reboot series directed by Rob Zombie. Halloween (2018) is basically a direct sequel of the 1978 film, and wants you to forget the events from all the other films released after Halloween (1978). I had no problem grasping that concept because the only Halloween film I had seen before Halloween (2018) was the original. That said, was Halloween (2018) just as effective as its superior predecessor? As usual let’s find out.

Set forty years after the events of Halloween (1978), Halloween (2018) starts with Micheal Myers (James Jude Courtney), who is institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital after the events of the first film. He is set to be transferred to a maximum-security prison. On October 28th, two true crime podcasters, Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) and Dana Haines (Rhian Rees), visit the facility before Michael Myers’ transfer to try and interview him about that infamous Halloween night, but Micheal says nothing. Aaron even presents him with his mask that he used to kill his victims, but still no word. Two days later when Michael is enroute to prison, the bus transporting him and several other prisoners crashes, setting the passengers free. Michael uses this opportunity to stop a nearby car, killing the passengers and taking their vehicle. He then drives back to the town where he first committed his murders. The next morning, October 31st, Michael finds the two podcasters in a gas station and kills them both, getting his mask back in the process. This not only increases his kill count, but his presence as well. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who is the sole survivor of Michael Myers’s attack on Halloween night in 1978, has developed major post-traumatic stress disorder from the attack and has been preparing herself in the event of Michael’s return. This has caused a major impact on her family, especially her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), so much so that the state took her away when she was just twelve years old due to Laurie’s condition. She does, however, maintain a good relationship with her granddaughter, Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), which is fortunate for her due to the isolated state that she is in socially. Throughout the day, news media outlets start reporting on the deaths that Michael has caused and the closer he gets to the town of Haddonfield, the more paranoid Laurie becomes because not only will she be danger, but the rest of her family as well.

One thing I can say after watching Halloween (2018) is that I don’t regret not watching the sequels that followed after Halloween (1978) beforehand because I feel like this the direct sequel is a fantastic follow up to the horror classic. To be fair, while I can’t fairly criticize the other Halloween films because I haven’t seen them (yet), for me this Halloween film gets a lot right despite it not being a perfect film.

In all honesty, Halloween (2018) works best because it already has a backstory and the nostalgia of the first film. If I had not watched the original a year before watching this film, then my thoughts would probably not be as positive. I still would’ve enjoyed it, but it would be like watching Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) without watching Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). This is an apples to oranges comparison, but you get what I’m saying. I remember when people were clamoring for Halloween (2018) the weekend it came out, saying how great it was. As such, I was afraid that it would’ve gotten overhyped for me given I was seeing it on a later date. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. In retrospect, I think what helped was my appreciation and simplistic approach to the horror property by the filmmakers. To make another Star Wars reference, Halloween (2018) is basically the Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) of the Halloween franchise: same material, different movie. I know that might be a turn off for some people, but I’m one of the few people who loves the long awaited follow up despite its flaws. 

As far as the Catholic messaging in Halloween (2018), I feel like it’s pretty much the same one carried over from Halloween (1978) in which Micheal Myers represents evil. Unlike the first film, however, Laurie isn’t a helpless protagonist and is ready for anything, even if it’s someone who tried to kill her forty years prior. In general, Christians, let alone Catholics, should always be prepared for evil no matter what because the devil likes to get us when we are most vulnerable. While Laurie isn’t as vulnerable as she was when she was younger, her family is now at risk from Michael Myers, which makes the situation even more dire.

As mentioned earlier, Halloween (2018) is almost identical to Halloween (1978) when it comes to the premise: a quiet killer stalking someone and kills anyone who gets in their way. It is simple, yet effective. I know most people will probably not love either because it’s practically the same movie, but with more characters, or they may not be into slashers period. I, on the other hand, really enjoyed this Halloween film mainly because it did provide the thrills and suspense that I want from a horror film, and done so in a somewhat creative way. It is too bad the sequel Halloween Kills doesn’t live up to the hype as Halloween (2018), but that’s a review for another Halloween.

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