Ever since word first surfaced that a new entry was planned in the Halloween saga, I have found myself more nervous than I can ever remember about a film’s release.

The info kept dripping through – Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter and even Nick Castle were back (yay), the film ignores the other sequels in the series (sort of yay), even Halloween II (boo) and that it was coming courtesy of director David Gordon Green and written by Green, Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride (umm, ok).

So settling in for the preview screening I was a bundle of nerves and high expectations, so my thoughts about the film have swirled around (and even changed slightly) over the days since.

First and foremost, this sequel is a great horror movie – and most definitely a great Halloween movie.

It has tension, great kills, a nice atmosphere, a Carpenter soundtrack, Curtis on fine form and an incarnation of Michael Myers that is deliciously brutal. It is, in fact, everything you could want as a fan of the franchise.

At the same time, it is stuff we have all seen before – Halloween 2018 does not reinvent the horror wheel and it is not a genre gamechanger. That was my immediate take from the film, but the realisation seeped through over the days since that the makers were probably not even aiming for that.

Anyway, back to the storyline here. We pick things up 40 years on from the original, with Myers now safely locked away in a mental institution.

Things start to get interesting when a couple of British podcasters turn up to see old Mikey, eager to talk about the case – and even brandish his old mask as a way of provoking a reaction.

That reaction comes in a slightly different way than they expected though, with the decision to transport Myers to another institution the perfect opportunity for Michael to off a few security guards, slaughter someone for their overalls and head back to Haddonfield for a showdown with Laurie Strode.

The difference this time though is that Laurie is waiting, a virtual recluse who has armed herself to the teeth convinced that the masked one will someday turn up on her doorstep. Still carrying the physical and emotional scars of that night in 1978, Laurie has broken relationships aplenty, whether it be with her daughter or former husbands.

The stage is set – will Michael turn up? Is Laurie really ready for his return? And how many poor individuals will get carved up along the way?

The real beauty of this entry is how Green, Fradley and McBride succeed in pleasing the fans, while keeping them on their toes at the same time. The film is packed with references to the earlier film, but often with a neat twist – and at no point do they overwhelm the viewer or stray close to parody.

Yes, there is humour, but it never becomes anything closely resembling a comedy and, if anything, does a nice job of lifting the oppressive tension in certain scenes.

The violence is vicious, and Michael is about as far removed as the patsy he appeared in the latter entries (Busta Rhymes and a kung fu kick anyone?). And Curtis is a complete badass, a gun-toting machine that is hunting Michael as much as the other way round.

The look of the film is impressive – yes there is an obvious budget here, but it still has that lo-fi feel at times that really works. And any time that Carpenter piano tinkling kicks in, the hairs on the back of my neck still stand to attention.

All in all, Halloween is a bloody good time at the cinema that may, hopefully, draw a new generation of fans to the franchise’s delights.

Movie Review: Halloween
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle