FilmReview

Review: “Halloween” Perfects the Formula

Christian Ziolkowski ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

In this contemporary Hollywood environment, where risk is frowned upon and intellectual property is king, nobody seems to know how to make the perfect reboot. Over the past decade, every film franchise, video game, and grade-B TV show made into big-budget movies, with mixed success. Studios have taken every possible angle in their quest to extract value from their vaults.

The new Halloween reboot demonstrates the perfect way to do just that.

Judy Greer and Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Halloween, directed by David Gordon Green and co-written by Danny McBride of all people, is a direct follow-up to John Carpenter’s 1978 classic. It ignores the multitude of sequels that came between and takes place in real time, 40 years after the events of the first movie. It opens with Michael Meyers in a mental hospital, and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), still traumatized from his murders 40 years prior. She has spent her life preparing herself for another attack, alienating her daughter and granddaughter in the process. Then, while being transported between facilities on Halloween night, Meyers escapes and comes after Laurie and her family.

Laurie’s years as a doomsday prepper seem to have paid off, as she has turned her house into a deathtrap specifically designed to kill Meyers. The family takes cover as the evilest man on earth tries to kill them on their own turf.

Suffice it to say, horror ensues.

Halloween. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

The movie’s genius is in its simplicity. The filmmakers know that nobody goes to a Halloween movie for something complex. They want to watch Michael Meyers stalk people with a knife, set to the series’ iconic music. They want campy teenage antics. They want people making horrible decisions with violent consequences. And Halloween serves those up in droves.

The source material is updated in a way that makes it feel like the first Halloween if it came out in 2018. It contains organic references to modern culture (a true crime podcast about Michael Meyers, a sophisticated understanding of the effects that trauma has on people) while maintaining the spirit of the original.

Rhian Rees in Halloween. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

For studios seeking to reboot comparable movies, there is a lot to be learned.

The decision to hand the franchise over to people who grew up with it (Gordon Green and McBride are both self-professed superfans) is a wise one. Rather than hired guns with a tendency to overcomplicate, these filmmakers know what the franchise does well, and what they’ve always wanted to see from it. It was also smart to involve the creator in a new capacity. Director John Carpenter served as an executive producer (often a symbolic position) but also composed the film’s score. The result is a movie that retains its ties to the past but also feels fresh and new.

Halloween is not going to win any Oscars. But it’s a blast. It’s short, fast-moving, full of scares, and nostalgic in all the right ways. It delivers exactly what fans want from the franchise, something that doesn’t happen nearly enough these days.

Overall Grade: A-

Watch The Trailer:

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