Review: Resurrecting beloved horror franchises is no easy task. We've seen plenty different attempts disappoint audiences everywhere, from 2009's Friday the 13th to 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street. They felt hollow and artificial. Thankfully, on this particular occasion, there's much more positive sentiments to report.
David Gordon Green's Halloween (coming to us from Blumhouse and Universal Pictures) is the inverse situation to its reboot/sequel peers. The film, which takes place 40 years after the original 1978 classic, presents to us a story that's a sequel, a fresh take, and a commentary on the franchise's place in pop culture all rolled together. From moment one you can tell this was written and made with love and appreciation for the 40-year-old work of John Carpenter. This is a film that's keenly aware of what Michael Myers should be. It feels extremely nostalgic for the unexplainable horrors of old, in the best way. This is back to basics. Unstoppable, unwavering basics.
Every character in this film is affected by the lingering horrors of Michael Myers in their own way. From the overall direction to the performances, his presence is felt throughout the entire film, even when he's not on screen. And when it comes to Laurie Strode in particular, Jamie Lee Curtis is at her all time best. She leads the cast with a quiet fury, and such believable pain behind every line of dialogue. It feels like a tribute to not only the character's legacy, but every "final girl" in the horror/thriller genre. This is still a slasher (in both traditionally tense and shockingly gruesome ways), but it's also a war film. It's about settling a score, and all of that works super well. This film starts incredibly strong and ends in equal fashion, always knowing when to scare with restraint, and when to show the goods.
The film isn't without its flaws, of course. For starters, it's way too funny for what it is. The issue is never that the jokes don't work (they're actually quite funny), more so that they feel very out of place. I found myself wondering why we had to stop for certain moments. Also, while the opening act and the third act are extremely strong as I said, the second act is very clunky and uneven. I found myself questioning some of the more meta choices and focus on secondary characters, but David Gordon Green always managed to pull me back in. When we did get the one SUPER meta moment later in the film, it deservedly sparked applause in the theater. I can see the final moments being divisive, but I feel that comes with the territory of sequel this far out from the original.
Halloween is a film that's gotten better as I've thought about it. It deserves to stand with the original, easily beating out any of the now not-canon sequels in my opinion. It's made with such reverence for a different era in horror that it manages to overcome some of its more glaring modern sensibilities for an experience that feels very classic. The franchise, like its hero and villain, has been successfully revived. I definitely predict that this will make its way into the seasonal rotation for many film fans.