Got off of work early enough to catch a screening of David Gordon Green’s Halloween, and boy, am I glad I did! This is the sequel the world has been patiently awaiting for forty years, the Aliens to the John Carpenter classic’s Alien. It shares some thematic and stylistic DNA with its predecessor, but evolves in bold and exciting new directions, pursuing its own agenda without losing sight of the elements that made the revered original so special. Whereas the the first film was about fear and vulnerability, this one’s all rage and righteous fury, reimagining Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode as a pissed off, gunslinging granny. Despite her strength, however, she’s also deeply flawed, allowing her single-minded obsession with overcoming her trauma and conquering her personal Boogeyman to poison her relationships and splinter her family.
Speaking of The Shape, Green and his collaborators (Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley) take a refreshing “back to basics” approach to the iconic killer, abandoning the occult nonsense that made the later installments in the series such a convoluted mess; apart from his ability to endure an absurd amount of physical punishment, Michael Myers is a perfectly mundane psychopath, murdering for inscrutable and arbitrary reasons—his lack of a greater purpose is the very quality that makes him so terrifying.
I loved everything about this movie, from the brilliant opening credits sequence (a rotted jack-o’-lantern gradually rejuvenates, symbolizing the dormant franchise’s return from the grave) to the cathartic climax. I look forward to revisiting it again and again as part of my annual October horror-fest.
[Originally written October 20, 2018.]