By Lauren Harding
Halloween (1978), Laurie Strode (played by scream queen actress Jamie-Lee Curtis) and her friends are stalked and terrorised by a masked killer known as Michael Myers. This low-budget movie became the godfather of slasher films, and by consequence the tropes and clichés of horror films were born. In the end, only Laurie survives this horrifying experience. Or does she?
The latest sequel follows on directly from the original, and ignores all the other films in this series, to its benefit. Halloween (2018) focuses on Laurie, 40 years on from this traumatic experience, who is suffering from PTSD. She is now an avid survivalist, who has trained herself in preparation for the inevitable return of Michael Myers. The Laurie in this film is a survivor but her involvement with Michael has left her in ‘final girl’ mode for the remaining years of her life. Which begs the question, did Michael make a monster out of Laurie? The physical scars may have healed but the mental ones remain fresh for Laurie Strode. The consequences have been two failed marriages, a strained relationship with her only child, Karen, and estrangement with her teenage granddaughter, Allyson.
This is an interesting and fresh plot device for Halloween (2018), as it touches on the life-long effects on what violent and traumatic experiences can create, not only for victims, but by extension, those close to them. Jamie Lee Curtis is in her element as survivor Laurie Strode. Her performance is strong, where it seems she has tapped into her own personal demons and experience as a recovering alcoholic and addict; struggling to connect with the important people in her life.
Michael Myers as the antagonist is fantastic. The writers (director David Gordon Green and his co-writers, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley), have honoured the original film by keeping Michael as close to his original form as possible. He still steadily stalks, watches from the shadows and never gives reason or motivation for his killings. It’s also in the small tributes, such as the scar on Michael’s neck from where Laurie stabbed him with her knitting needle, which will thrill the fans of the original when spotting these cleverly inserted details.
Director David Gordon Green understands his audience. From getting John Carpenter to compose again, well produced cinematography, settings and high-tension scenes; Green appreciates that a good horror lies in the necessary solid foundations of film. Green also acknowledges that audiences have become desensitized with slasher films and in this Halloween they have upped the ante with bloody violence.
There are some issues with this sequel, namely the storyline of Doctor Ranbir Sartain and Allyson and her friends. When the film focuses on these characters, the pacing slows down (with the exception of one porch sensor light scene). The film could have been tightened by focusing more on Laurie’s relationships, or lack thereof, with her daughter and granddaughter. The drama from an intergenerational trauma would have been a unique take on this franchise.
Despite this, Halloween is a suspenseful and high-tension horror which has been expertly shot to pay homage to the original; a true and worthy sequel.
Have you braved the cinema to watch the new Halloween? Has Lauren got it right? Let us know in the comments!
Lauren Harding is The Pioneer Australia’s resident Scream Queen. She loves nothing more than turning off the lights and flicking on a scary movie to watch with her husband and two dogs, developing new phobias from those movies, then repeating the process over and over again!