Wednesday, October 31, 2018

[Review] Halloween

2018's Halloween aims to wipe the slate clean, dumping the run of questionable sequels and remakes of John Carpenter's 1978 classic into the trash with the uneaten and stale candy. And while it doesn't exactly take things to the next level, this rebirth is an entertaining slasher that sticks closest to the spirit of the original, like a juicy Milk Dud lodged to your gums.

Just as the film itself arrives exactly 40 years later, the story picks up exactly 40 years later. The infamous Michael Myers has been spending his days under intense observation in an insane asylum. This opening scene has such an eerie build that the cut before the title sequence greatly teases us and unsettles us at the same time. Anyway, you can probably guess that Mr. Myers eventually escapes, retrieving his iconic mask to terrorize the neighborhood where Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role) resides. And she's been PREPARING FOR THIS.

Director David Gordon Green, who has a wildly hit or miss filmography, mostly nails all the right spots here. The camerawork is voyeuristic and stalkerish, always creating the feeling that both unsuspecting and suspecting victims are being watched and just  moments  away from meeting their gruesome and bloody demise. There are some pretty gnarly kills here, with Myers leaving a trail for of broken jaws, smashed skulls, and pierced arteries. But the scariest and best shot in the movie is an early image of Myers' ghastly face reflecting off of the front window of someone's front porch -- it's a creepy foreshadowing of the intrusive mayhem to come. And of course, every time John Carpenter's seminal score is paired with these images, we're reminded of how powerful and terrifying those piano keys really are.

The screenplay does have a few glaringly odd choices in narrative and script though, but we wouldn't exactly expect a masterwork of dialogue in a movie about a seemingly undying serial killer going around and stabbing people. Judy Greer joins the cast as Laurie's daughter who is well aware of the legend, but unfortunately she doesn't have a whole lot to work with here. The person who steals the show is a young boy named Julian (played by Jibrail Nantambu), who adds a fresh spunk of personality and comic relief to an otherwise bland set of characters. When we first meet him, he's bored to death by his babysitter and saying stuff like “Got me sitting here cutting my nasty ass toenails.” The kid is involved in some of the most amusing scenes in the movie, and he definitely has the most memorable lines of dialogue. It's to the point where you wish he were the main character. #WhereDidJulianGo?

So even with its flaws, this thing still provides a decent amount of goods for spooky season. And it's more likely to leave a satisfying taste in your mouth instead of a bad one. Happy Halloween!

( 7.5/10 )

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