Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton
Directed by David Gordon Green
The latest chapter of Halloween picks up 40 years after the events in John Carpenter’s 1978 original — the progenitor of ‘80s slasher movies — negating everything that happened in the subsequent seven sequels and the vile Rob Zombie reboot (which itself spawned a follow-up).
Hence, coming into the new Halloween, familiarity with the franchise’s history isn’t critical. (However, you may need a fanboy to explain the tributes and references.) Just know this: Scream Queen (or Dowager) Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode is the sole survivor of the murderous rampage of masked slayer Michael Myers four decades ago.
While Myers is locked up in an asylum, Strode is incarcerated in a different kind of jail: Fear and paranoia. Her PTSD has cost her two marriages, estranged her relationships with her daughter and granddaughter (played by Judy Greer and Andi Matichak, respectively), and turned her into a doomsday prepper a la Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. And the day of reckoning finally arrives when Myers breaks out of prison on his favourite holiday to finish what he started.
Director and co-writer David Gordon Green, an eclectic filmmaker best known for stoner comedies (The Pineapple Express) and personal-struggle dramas (Stronger), may not be an obvious choice to helm a horror movie, but he knows a thing or two about cranking up the suspense (one such moment is where the bogeyman stalks his prey in a toilet stall). He also delivers some disturbing kills — some are graphic, some restrained where he shows just the aftermath rather than actual deed.
In most slasher movies, you rarely side with the victims: they’re just fodder for the Michael Myerses, Freddy Kruegers and Jason Voorheeses. But on Green’s watch, he's more concerned with the heroine: Halloween isn't about a relentless serial killer; no, it's about a resilient ass-kicking survivor. You don't want to mess with Granny Laurie. Period.
One more thing: Carpenter’s synthesiser ‘Halloween’ theme still rocks. (***1/2)
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos