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 ‘Halloween’: The best sequel to the original film

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Review: “Halloween” is a movie to go see with friends and have a fun time.

1978 saw the release of a movie so iconic, that it would change the face of slasher movies forever – John Carpenter’s Halloween. With its unforgettable musical score, suspense and terrific performances by Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance, and not to forget presence of the film’s murderous villain Michael Myers, Halloween became a bona fide box office hit and indelible part of pop culture.

Halloween was followed by a gaggle of 7 sequels, a remake and a remake sequel. Although fans continued to patronize the franchise, it slowly began to lose steam. After the critical and commercial failure of the sequel to the 2007 remake, the Halloween films were thought to have finally died a long gestating death.

Cut to 2017, when film fans got a most pleasant shock when it was announced that Blumhouse Productions (one of the premier horror film production companies of today) would be producing a direct sequel to the original Halloween ignoring the rest of the franchise, something never done before in the history of horror movies. The film was written by comedian Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley and David Gordon Green, the latter of whom would also direct the film. The biggest surprise came when it was also announced that Jamie Lee Curtis would be reprising her role as Laurie Strode. With such talent at the helm, the bar was raised for a Halloween film to finally exist that is a worthy sequel to the original. Did it succeed? Let’s find out…

This Halloween takes place exactly 40 years later from the original. Laurie Strode (Curtis) has been living a hermetic and isolated life away from her family, which consists of her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and son-in-law Ray (Toby Huss). When the threat of Michael Myers, who survived his encounter at the end of the original film, looms large again, Laurie decides to end the threat of Myers once and for all.

I will go straight off the bat and say that this is undoubtedly the best sequel to the original film. Performance wise, Jamie Lee Curtis is simply awesome as Laurie. This time we have not a fearful teenager, but a fearless, bad-ass grandma who has planned entirely how she will kill Myers and protect her family. Curtis is in top form here and is definitely one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood. Judy Greer, Will Patton, Andi Matichak, Haluk Bilginer and Toby Huss do a great job in their respective roles. Matichak in particular is a complete natural and it is hard to believe that this is her first film. Special mention should be given to Nick Castle, Tony Moran and James Jude Courtney for their portrayal of Michael Myers. They are the whole foundation of the franchise. Castle, as I understand, is the original Michael Myers, so great to have him back in the franchise. I also have to acknowledge the scene stealer of the movie – young Jibrail Nantambu. He brings the house down with his portrayal of the feisty Julian, the young boy who witnesses the murder of his babysitter by Michael. He should get his own movie!

In terms of the script and direction, it is top notch. The film moves at a fast pace, and picks up the pieces from 40 years ago very quickly without the necessity for much exposition. The plot also has some novel twists and adjusts itself into the 2018 milieu fairly smoothly. The climax keeps you on your toes and leaves an open ending, if one pays close attention. What distinguishes this movie compared to other Halloweens is that it also has a great dose of humor doused everywhere. This helps keep the proceedings more interesting and brings necessary relief when things might be TOO intense. Clearly, McBride’s touch is evident here.

Some sequences are done masterfully, such as the sequence in the gas station bathroom, the climax at Laurie’s house and the death of Allyson’s friend on the lawn of a neighbor’s house. These are done not only with the right amount of tension, but are new ways of Michael “handling things” when compared to previous movies. I also want to give kudos to the director for not making the movie too violent. Much like the original film, where physical violence was minimally displayed and suspense was greater, this movie also follows that path. As a result, you don’t feel depressed leaving the theater, and rather come out with a smile on your face.

If there is any criticism, it is the film’s scenes that show Myers without his mask. I think if any showing of his face, even from the back or side, was curtailed, that would be a better move stylistically. The fear is not knowing “who” is under the mask and I think they tried to skirt it and show it at the same time. That element did not work for me.

Music is incredible, done by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies. Editing is just right, and cinematography is also suitable for the film, with the right amount of darkness, lighting and shadows on display.

All in all, this is a movie to go see with friends and have a fun time. I give it a 3.5/5. Happy Halloween!

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