Halloween – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago. – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81% (Critics) / 79% (Audience)
MetaScore: 68 – Generally favorable reviews
Directed By: David Gordon Green
Written By: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak
Studio: Universal Pictures

The Good:
Jamie Lee Curtis delivers a strong performance as the traumatized yet tough-as-nails version of Laurie Strode who has become Haddonfield’s resident “crazy old lady” living out in a creepy compound in the woods. This Laurie is still trapped in that singular bloody night nearly 40 years ago and has been living an obsessive life that alienated everyone including her own family and Curtis plays every beat of it to the hilt. Our Final Girl has become a Final Granny and I loved every second of her performance.

In all there were three actors playing Michael Myers in this film but the one that most stands out is James Jude Courtney who carries the bulk of the load as Michael when he puts on the mask and becomes “The Shape”. The almost inhuman way that Courtney moves was one of the most unnerving things I have seen in a horror movie in quite some time. The idea that Michael is just an evil killing machine was on full display thanks to Courtney’s performance.

David Gordon Green and Danny McBride deserve props for coming up with a re-imagining of the events following the night Michael returned home four decades ago and building a world where that one event has shaped so many lives in different ways from the over-eager podcasters in search of Michael’s story to the psychiatrist desperate to break through Michael’s psychic walls to Laurie and her dysfunctional family dynamics to the town of Haddonfield that still had the specter of that night hanging over it every October 31st.

And a separate nod has to go to Green’s directing which was stylish in depicting the brutality of Michael’s attacks and also the way that Green made Michael, pre-putting the mask back on, into a literal shape who the viewer never got a clear look at and who was basically a “shape” on the screen. And the call-backs/Easter Eggs to the original movie were really cool and should make fans of that film incredibly happy.

I would watch a full franchise of Jibrail Nantambu’s Julian giving his precociously snarky reactions to every horror movie genre in existence. The kid was hilarious.

The Bad:
To borrow from wrestling parlance, there is a swerve near the end of the film where a character makes a heel turn that was a bit much to swallow and could have used a bit more fleshing out of said character to make the switch to the dark side a bit less out of the blue.

Aside from Virginia Gardner’s Vicky, none of Allyson’s friends were fleshed out enough to make me care about them or not want them to die and the main one of them that I was eager to see meet the pointy end of Michael’s blade never even got the comeuppance he so richly deserved. In contrast to Laurie’s circle of friends from the first HALLOWEEN these teens were imminently forgettable.

This movie is a scathing indictment on small town police departments because the constabulary of Haddonfield, IL were bumbling idiots from top to bottom. This is why I tend to not be a fan of slasher films where the police are made aware of the killer’s existence early on and then become a major part of the film because it creates a need on the filmmaker’s part to go overboard with the incompetency of law enforcement to the point that it strains credulity in a situation where suspension of disbelief is already pretty high.

The Ugly:
I understood Green and McBride’s desire to retcon the sibling connection between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers but the execution of it created a clunkiness that hurt the overall quality of the film a bit. By making Laurie just the random victim who go away the movie then was faced with not only coming up with ways to bring Michael and Laurie together again but also to sweep up Laurie’s family into the mix as well. This created a bit of a logistical nightmare for the movie in my eyes.

Final Verdict: A stylishly gory slasher that delivers more than enough (despite the issues I had with it) to be deemed a worthy follow-up to the 1978 classic. Just for Jamie Lee Curtis’ full throttle performance alone it is worth seeing in a movie theater.

Grade: B

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