FIGHT­ING BACK

Hal­loween se­quel about con­fronting the mon­ster is so timely

NOW Magazine - - MOVIES - By NOR­MAN WILNER

HAL­LOWEEN di­rected by David Gor­don Green, writ­ten by Green, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley, with Jamie Lee Cur­tis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak and Will Pat­ton. A Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures re­lease. 106 min­utes. Opens Fri­day (Oc­to­ber 19). For venues and times, see Movies, page 33. Rat­ing: NNNN When Jamie Lee Cur­tis and David Gor­don Green pre­miered their muchan­tic­i­pated Hal­loween se­quel at TIFF last month, a good por­tion of the postscreen­ing Q&A was ded­i­cated to its core theme of what it means to sur­vive trauma.

Which, of course: it’s a metaphor that runs through ev­ery hor­ror se­quel that fo­cuses on some­one who es­caped the mon­ster the last time around, and one that turns out to be en­tirely rel­e­vant in the age of Don­ald Trump and Brett Ka­vanaugh. Now, an at­tempt to re­vi­tal­ize a decades-old slasher fran­chise feels like the movie of the mo­ment. And it is.

Pick­ing up 40 years after the events of the orig­i­nal Hal­loween – and ig­nor- ing every­thing that fol­lowed – this is the fol­low-up John Car­pen­ter’s 1978 masterwork has al­ways de­served. Green and co-writ­ers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley give Michael My­ers his due. But they also un­der­stand Cur­tis’s Lau­rie Strode is much more wor­thy of our at­ten­tion.

It turns out Lau­rie has gone full Sarah Con­nor since sur­viv­ing the babysit­ter mur­ders in Had­don­field, Illi­nois, and her para­noia and anx­i­ety have es­tranged her from her grown daugh­ter Karen (Judy Greer) and grand­daugh­ter Ally (Andi Matichak). But Michael es­capes dur­ing a pris­oner trans­fer and re­sumes his killing spree, putting all three of the Strode women in danger.

Green and com­pany up­date the ma­te­rial in some in­ter­est­ing ways (Michael’s case is the sub­ject of a Se­rial-like pod­cast!) and let Cur­tis – who re­mains a for­mi­da­ble screen pres­ence, in case you were wor­ried – bring some gen­uine ten­sion to her scenes with Greer.

The sim­ple fact of mak­ing another Hal­loween movie in a post-Scream world changes the game some­what. The au­thor­i­ties – some of whom were around in 1978, and re­mem­ber the car­nage of that night – be­lieve Lau­rie with­out hes­i­ta­tion, which cuts through most of the fool­ish­ness that usu­ally bogs these movies down.

And while Ally and her friends of­fer a way for Green to nod to­ward the stan­dard teens-in-trou­ble tropes – and turn one of the orig­i­nal film’s best im­ages on its head – they are defini­tively not the main char­ac­ters here. Lau­rie and Michael are, and it’s fas­ci­nat­ing to re­al­ize you’re watch­ing a hor­ror movie where the hero and vil­lain are on ei­ther side of 60.

It takes a lit­tle too long to get go­ing, but the only thing that re­ally mat­ters is whether this new Hal­loween can de­liver a sat­is­fy­ing cli­max, and it ab­so­lutely does.

Maybe that will fi­nally put this boogey­man to rest. normw@nowtoronto.com | @normwilner

See in­ter­view with Judy Greer at nowtoronto.com/movies

Jamie Lee Cur­tis (top) and Judy Greer pre­pare to bat­tle the en­emy in Hal­loween.

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