An Arguing With Myself Review: Halloween 2018
Forty years have passed since that fateful Halloween night in Haddonfield. Michael Myers was taken into custody and has spent those years in captivity. Laurie Strode, who escaped his murderous rampage, stays vigilant, anticipating the day he escapes so she can kill him and finally find peace.
Let me begin by stating a fact: I do NOT hate the horror genre. There are very few I can say I’ve enjoyed in the last decade, alone. Maybe a handful? Actually, I can pinpoint the time I gave up on the genre. It was after Wes Craven gave us Scream and the subsequent rip-offs that would follow. Also, CGI. F CGI right in the FN A! Sorry for the harsh letters. Practical is tangible. Horror is punk rock! Sloppy, low-budget and unpredictable. Everything after Scream was polished, structured and tied up with a nice little bow. Before you start spouting out ALL the examples to “change my mind”, stop. I know them. I like some, love others, but as a whole, it takes a lot for me to want to go see a horror film.
I grew up in the 80’s, at the height of horror. You could go to your local video store (shout out to Tommy K’s!) and fill your weekend with some great and not-so-great finds. But even with the bad ones you never felt gypped. Today, bad horror makes you feel cheated. You want your money and/or time back. At least I do.
Let’s get to the subject at hand. Being a fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween, any filmmaker that wants to return to the well, is more than welcome. But beware, they’ll be met with some scrutiny. Forget all the sequels that came after Carpenter’s ’78 classic, this Halloween is its direct sequel, ignoring 2 through Z (“Z” is for Zombie). But not so fast my friends! Because Danny McBride and David Gordon Green (who co-wrote and directed) cherry picked ideas from those “scrapped” sequels…to pay homage to them? Hey guys! Do you want us to remember them or not?
If I may continue the music comparison? 2018’s Halloween is like a cover band. They play the hits, note by note, but when they try to put their own spin on a classic, the crowd can turn on them. I found myself ticking off my mental checklist of nods to the previous films. I get that there needs to be some sort of fan service for the die hards but let’s move forward, shall we? I mean, you have Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) come out and say to another character, “You’re the new Loomis.” Those kind of meta observations are best suited for comedies, not a horror film. Not this horror film.
Lines of dialogue had the undeniable McBride flavor. Sophomoric humor, drug references and the like were scattered throughout. To me, it seemed misplaced. My issues, though minor (you couldn’t tell by this review), were abundant. All the tropes you’d find in other horror films were used in this film…with abandon. I felt my eyes were in a constant roll with disbelief. I questioned character’s motivations and decisions. Not by a couple of them but by all of the characters. Not everyone has to be the smartest one in the room but they can’t all be the dumbest, either.
Overall, Halloween was a misfire for me. When the credits rolled, I walked out of my viewing, not feeling cheated, really, just…underwhelmed by the experience. I’m not going to sway anyone from seeing a film. I can only tell you how I feel, having seen this. My opinion of the film isn’t the only one. People’s views of Halloween are as divided as our political landscapes. Let’s be honest, though, isn’t this more fun?