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Halloween : A tame reboot of horror’s most successful franchise
October 23, 2018
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 perturbed. The menacing novelty of silent, masked psycho killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney/ Nick Castle) has completely worn off and unable to conjure up any ounce fear in audiences, making this Halloween reboot a sort of a watered-down entry of the Scream franchise, without any of the successfully 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 rather 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 what happens to him.
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. So, I’m guessing the comeback they are referring to 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 just brilliant; she has two failed marriages under her belt, her over-protective parenting has estranged her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) but she 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 or continuation will always pale in comparison. Halloween, the 1978 version, captures a puritanical and sinister essence, that came at a time where audiences were less knowledgeable of psychopaths and psycho killers, making Michael Myers an even creepier prospect, giving him almost a supernatural aura. In today’s standards where bangs and shudders are calculated to minutest detail, with countless horror reboots and reimaginations, as well disturbing and the gruesome imagery permeating most genres of films and TV, it is truly surprising that Halloween (2018) is so underwhemigly tame.
Halloween (2018) is out now.
Word by Daniel Theophanous @danny_theo_.