‘Halloween’ is a fun horror experience, despite flaws

From around the 80s to the early 2000s, one type of film dominated the horror genre: the slasher flick. However, following several unsuccessful reboots of the famous slasher series, the sub-genre seemed to fall into a period of stagnation. It seemed for a time that the curtain had closed on slashers, relegating their classic villains like Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger to forever lie in the doldrums of nostalgia. However, 40 years after its original release, one of the first and most iconic slasher series has sought to reestablish itself. “Halloween” is back, and so is Michael Myers, and he has returned for a bloody, suspenseful, good time.

“Halloween,” (sharing its name with the original horror classic) sets itself up as a direct sequel to the first film, ignoring all other sequels and reboots that have been released over the years. The movie follows Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), protagonist from the first movie, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).

Laurie’s trauma from 40 years ago has turned her into a “doomsday prepper” of sorts, spending all her time preparing for the possibility of mass murderer Michael Myers escape. Her time doing this has lead to strained relationship with her daughter, bridged together almost exclusively by Laurie’s granddaughter trying to maintain a relationship between all of them. However, Laurie’s years of paranoia soon become justified, as Michael Myers escapes from his containment, and seeks to terrorize the people of Haddonfield, Illinois, on Halloween night once again.

To start with flaws, like many slashers, and unfortunately, many horror movies in general, “Halloween” has a fairly poor script. There are moments where dialogue feels very clunky and stiff, feeling only like a vehicle to get from “plot point A” to “plot point B,” rather than reveal anything about the characters. That’s not to say there aren’t good moments in the script. In fact, there are several moments of comedy sprinkled throughout the film (one scene specifically between a babysitter and the child she is watching is particularly hilarious) that actually work very well. However, these moments only make up so much of the film, and much of the other dialogue suffers from just feeling slightly off from human speech.

This movie also has trouble with it’s transitions between scenes. Scenes often cut from one to the other quickly, smash cutting to a new image or frame. These sometimes feel jarring, but overall don’t take away from the movies enjoyment.

Despite these flaws, “Halloween” has many positives. For one, the joint performance of Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers is wonderful. Myers is presented more as an intimidating force of nature rather than a human being. Every motion is done smoothly and calmly, giving the audience the sense of the remorseless brutal killer who manages to commit these senseless acts of violence without making a sound. His very presence makes you feel as if you are looking at evil itself.

Jamie Lee Curtis is also great as a now hardened Laurie Strode, despite some of her lines sometimes sounding corny or forced. Watching her hunt the killer who once hunted her in a movie-long cat and mouse chase is a delight to watch.

“Halloween” also knows how to balance moments of suspense with moments of out and out brutal violence. While not all the scares land, several sequences stand out and keep you on the edge of your seat. Some praise here must be given to the sequence that starts the night of Halloween itself, where the camera follows Myers as he starts his spree in one fluid motion, the camera not cutting once in the entire sequence.

Another great scene follows Jamie Lee Curtis looking for Myers, but removes the music entirely, scoring the scene with the creaks of floorboards and heavy breathing, keeping the audience dangerously close to the edge of their seats.

This film also knows how to balance its own nostalgia. Many films that are reboots or sequels to older films love to reference their own source material, but many overplay their hand and make the audience simply wish they were watching the original . “Halloween” recreates many of the shots and images from the original, but reverses it, or changes it slightly. This gives the audience that sense of nostalgia, but revamps it with something new, keeping you intrigued.

Even the iconic score of the original has been updated. The theme plays frequently, but often with variation. Sometimes it is played slowly, or sometimes it is played with it’s predominantly 80’s feel, with slight undertones of a modern update, providing an interesting musical contrast. This idea can really be applied to most of the score, which works very well as a backdrop for the overall movie.

“Halloween” is a refreshing slasher for the modern age. It’s great score, performances and understanding of nostalgia and suspense provide for a fun horror experience. It should be noted, however, that “Halloween” is quite violent, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, but should be kept in mind for those who are squeamish. If you are not a fan of violence, take a pass on this one. However, if you are a fan of the slasher genre, or of horror in general, “Halloween” is probably for you, despite its weak script. If you’re looking for a scary, bloody, good time for this spooky Halloween season, then this movie is for you.