After over-dosing on bucket loads of candy coupled with a fair few pints of beer at the Halloween (2018) inspired press screening of its latest instalment, I was hoping my intoxication would help take the edge off a bit. I really needn’t have worried, I could have watched this cold sober, in pitch black, all by myself and I would still not be scared, not one bit. The menacing novelty of a silent, masked psycho killer such as Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney/ Nick Castle) has completely worn off and unable to conjure up any ounce fear in me or the audience, making this Halloween reboot a watered-down entry of the Scream franchise, but without any of the knife cut heavy, gripping bloodthirsty chases or any of the gags.
The sheer fact that Myers holds on to his grudges for almost half a century, feels pathetic more than anything else. His inevitable yet implausible escape from maximum prison security sees him on single-minded hunt for Laurie, in a bid to kill her once and for all. This is basically the premise of the story and everything else is just salad dressing. The narrative reverts back to the original but forty years later Myers is no longer Laurie Strode's brother and gone is the complicated backstory. As we never see Myers face, only the back of him when in prison or disguised behind his signature mask, you never develop any sort emotions for the him, whether good, bad or just plain scary. So, even in his eventual death, which of course we do not see (signalling to more sequels perhaps?) we couldn’t care less of his outcome.
The film's marketing is heavily focused on the re-emergence of Jamie Lee Curtis and her reprising the role Laurie Strode, although she was in Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of The Witch and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. The comeback they are referring perhaps means not featuring in the seven out the eleven films of the franchise. However, Curtis as a paranoid grandmother with her impressive shoulder length silver locks is undeniably brilliant. With two failed marriages under her belt, her over-protective parenting has estranged her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) but is on amenable terms with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak). She has transformed her house to a mini Fort Knox , bobby-trapped to the max and guns galore; equally equipped for Myers return, as he is for her.
There are numerous nods to the original, by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, a horror masterpiece that has aged so incredibly well that any replication will always pale in comparison. Halloween (1978), captures a puritanical and sinister essence and came at a time where audiences were less knowledgeable of psychopaths and psycho killers, making Michael Myers an even creepier prospect, giving him supernatural aura. In today’s standards where bangs and shudders are calculated to minutest detail, with countless reboots and reimaginations, as well the disturbing and gruesome imagery that pervasive in most genres of films and TV nowadays, it is truly surprising that Halloween (2018) is so underwhemigly tame.
Halloween (2018) is out now.
Word by Daniel Theophanous @danny_theo_.