Halloween: A Real Treat, by Jeremy Elder
The very first scene of Halloween works prep the audience for a gritty, stylized psychological thriller placed in the framework of the 1970s teen slasher. In the scene, two podcasters are being led through a Stanley Kubrickian asylum, where Michael Myers is being held. We see Myers in chains, standing in an ominous courtyard with white and red checkered brick. As the journalist reveals the iconic mask of Michael Myers, the inmates of the asylum are thrown into a deranged panic. Tension builds until we are met with the title sequence and the classic theme song of the film. Director David Gordon Green makes bold choices to subvert expectations of a classic remake and open people’s minds to new ideas. And with that open playing field, he is able to create a love letter to the greatest tropes of a 1970s slasher.
David Gordon Green’s Halloween sets out to create a response to the original film that properly serves what the original team worked to create. His film almost works as a correction for terrible sequels like Halloween 2 and the 2007 remake, which were criticized for making poor contributions to the canon of the universe. The newest Halloween makes strong efforts to correct those mistakes, including “retconning” a few choices from the previous remakes. In one scene, a group of teens talk about the incident in the 1970s, and one notes “isn’t Michael Myers like Laurie Strode’s brother?”, to which another replies “that just something people made up”. With that correction, the rest of the movie gets to play in the tropes of the classic slasher, and it has so much fun doing it.
We are introduced to Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), decades after she survived a deadly attack from Michael Myers while babysitting. Strode has turned into a gun-wielding, agoraphobic old woman, estranged from most of her family except her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak). While Curtis’s performance as a victim of trauma occasionally falls flat, the reality of the film reads true throughout. She is obsessed with her safety, and she’s obsessed with Michael. Early on, Myers escapes in a bus crash, silently killing civilians along the way. With all this exposition out of the way in the first 40 minutes, the film takes us directly to Halloween night. The movie is fast, direct, and grips you the entire way.
What is also very well-captured in the film is the teenage characters of a slasher. They are cool, goofy, horny, and naive as ever. Playing into these characters some cheesy, predictable moments, but works effectively in the style of a teen slasher. In the same way the remake of Stephen King’s It was successful in capturing kids horror, Halloween is able to establish likable characters and cheesy moments we are able able to laugh at. The entire feeling of Halloween is very similar to It, just set in the framework of another classic film. The two films show great promise for the future of horror remakes, harnessing the adoration we have for the originals, while offering new horrors and modern commentary. Halloween belongs in the hall of fame of remakes, and will hopefully carve the path for many more to take its place.
You’re the first person I’ve read say anything positive about the teen portions of this film. I think the film had some dumb parts, but the last act in Laurie’s house was excellent.