The most anticipated horror movie of the year has finally arrived. Is it worth taking a return trip to Haddonfield or should this film have stayed languishing in development hell?
When it was announced that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride were going to be the team responsible for bringing Michael Myers back to theaters, the reception was lukewarm at best. After all Rob Zombie was handed the keys to Haddonfield and to say the response is polarizing (to this day) is a severe understatement. Luckily the creator of the original, John Carpenter not only gave his seal of approval, but signed on to executive produce and perform the film's score one more time. Jason Blum acquired the rights and put the Halloween brand under his Blumhouse banner, with Universal and Miramax handling distribution. In the process, the filmmakers managed to convince Jamie Lee Curtis to return to the role that made her a household name, Laurie Strode.
While it was great news for fans, they were also puzzled as to how Laurie could possibly be returning after the events of Halloween Resurrection. The answer was simple...Green and McBride decided to retcon all the sequels. Even Halloween 2, which is loved by fans of the franchise, was being ignored. This also meant that Laurie and Michael are no longer related.
While quite a few fans were vocal about this, Carpenter himself has stated numerous times that he hated coming up with such a quick plot twist. The filmmakers were able to get Nick Castle for cameo as Myers one last time(he's in one scene but its pretty awesome). With all the ingredients in place, the time has finally come for us to see if all the early hype and buzz surrounding the film was right or just blowing smoke up our butts.
40 years after the original film, Michael Myers was arrested after being shot 6 times by his psychiatrist Dr. Loomis and has been in Smith's Groove since that fateful night in 1978. 2 British journalists come to the asylum doing a report on the infamous Babysitter Murders that occurred on Halloween night. Upon showing him his aged mask and mentioning the name Laurie Strode, something is triggered deep inside The Shape and a chain of events is set in motion that will lead to the final confrontation with his arch nemesis.
On the flip side, Laurie Strode has spent the last 40 years preparing for Myers inevitable return. 2 blown marriages, losing her daughter Karen to the state, and barely having a relationship with her teenage granddaughter Allyson have all been the aftermath of her ordeal in 1978. Living in a secluded ranch house that is armed to the teeth with weapons and booby traps, Strode is ready for anything wicked that may come her way.
The Shape is set to be transferred to a new facility where he will stay until the day he dies, only things don't go according to plan. The bus crashes and Myers escapes, heading back to his hometown leaving a trail of bodies in his path. A trail of death and destruction that leads him into a final battle with Laurie Strode.
This is hands down the BEST sequel in the entire Halloween franchise. Is it perfect? No. In fact there are 2 problems I had it with it. The first one is not much of a spoiler as the trailers and commercials have shown this already, but Michael's face is shown way too much prior to getting his beloved mask back (which is an awesome and brutal scene). Too much attention is shown to his damaged eye from his first round with Laurie Strode. The second and most frustrating is one scene before the film's climax that could have really hurt the wave of momentum it was riding until that point. Thankfully, everything is restored to normal, but this was a head scratchingly bad decision to include in the film.
These 2 things aren't enough to derail the awesomeness of this movie. As stated earlier, this is the best sequel by far. It is the closest in tone to the original film and stays true to the blueprint that Carpenter set up 40 years ago, yet takes things in a new and exciting direction. Green and McBride have crafted a fine horror film that is only enhanced by having the incomparable Jamie Lee Curtis return to the role that made her famous.
She brings a tragic sadness mixed with a total bad ass that adds more depth to the aura of Laurie Strode. In many interviews promoting the movie, Curtis mentioned that the film is about dealing with past trauma that causes PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and she is on the money with that statement. Many instances in the film show the ripple effect of having survived such a traumatic experience and delves deeper into what happens after you vanquish the monster and the effects that has on you and the people around you.
The Shape is scary again! This is the first time in decades Michael Myers is absolutely terrifying. 40 years in captivity and he hasn't lost a step. His murder game has been upgraded and this time he doesn't discriminate who meets their maker. Some are killed in brutal fashion that will totally satisfy the gorehounds as well as appease fans of the franchise. Even at 61 he moves with the brisk and ease as his 21 year old self and looks right at home scaring the crap out of a new generation. James Jude Courtney deserves a lot of credit for bringing a fierceness to Michael Myers. As for Castle's cameo as The Shape its during a pivotal moment in the film that you've already seen it in the trailers and commercials.
Andi Matichak and Judy Greer are great in their respective roles as Allyson and Karen, Laurie's granddaughter and daughter respectively. While Greer does get a tad whiny and annoying, Green and Gordon give her one of the most bad ass moments in the movie that redeems her character. Matichak is extremely reminiscent of her on screen grandma's character who goes from teenage girl to woman over the course of one fateful Halloween night.
I'd be remiss in neglecting that one actor truly steals the entire movie in the brief time he is on screen and that is young Jibrail Nantanbu who plays Julian. This little guy is not only a natural but is hilarious in the scenes he is in with his older co-stars. In a film with such a talented cast that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, it truly speaks volumes that this young man stands out with such a memorable performance.
This is also the first time since Halloween 3: Season of the Witch that has had so much involvement from John Carpenter. Thankfully he provides the score and it is arguably the best thing about this movie. The music pulses during key moments and if it's even possible, Carpenter has managed to top himself with yet another legendary score. If you get the chance, get your hands on this soundtrack asap and enjoy the master at work.
This is the best horror film of the year and will undoubtedly cause a rebirth in the Slasher subgenre. Judging by the social media presence and the film's box office numbers, Michael Myers has come home at a time when we needed him most. For loyal fans of the series, there are Easter Eggs a plenty scattered throughout the film for you to feast on, some subtle, some not so subtle.