The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THETAKE CRITICS’ CHOICE -


First the trick: David Gor­don Green’s Hal­loween se­quel pre­tends like the last nine films in the fran­chise don’t ex­ist, pick­ing up 40 years af­ter John Car­pen­ter’s sem­i­nal 1978 slasher movie as if none of that other non­sense has ever hap­pened. Now the treat: His take re­unites Michael My­ers (once again, it’s Nick Cas­tle un­der the mask) with Lau­rie Strode (Jamie Lee Cur­tis), the babysit­ter who got away, for a fi­nal con­fronta­tion.

That makes this new Hal­loween an act of fan ser­vice dis­guised as a hor­ror movie.

Cur­tis plays one of the tough­est, most com­bat-ready grand­mas ever to grace the screen, a lady who can get tossed over a bal­cony, fall off the roof, and still pick her­self up, if it comes down to it. Karen may not ap­pre­ci­ate her mother’s over­pre­pared­ness, but it’s sure to come in handy for Karen’s daugh­ter Allyson (Andi Matichak), one of the few peo­ple Green gives us to root for in an en­sem­ble that’s fre­quently in­tro­duc­ing char­ac­ters right be­fore they get killed, or else for­get­ting about them en­tirely.

Car­pen­ter’s orig­i­nal theme holds up nicely here (up­dated/remixed with son Cody and Daniel Davies), adding syn­the­sizer chills to scenes in which Michael goes out stalk­ing. That’s just one of the many hat-tips Green of­fers to the 1978 film.


Green has a good grasp of hor­ror beats and tim­ing, which is more than most stu­dio genre films can claim (look­ing at you, The Nun.) Still,

Hal­loween 2018 is too hokey and ram­shackle at the level of the script and shot to stand shoul­der to shoul­der with the care­fully cal­i­brated, fat-free 1978 orig­i­nal.

Save for a brief flash­back in which the young Michael mur­ders his to­p­less teen sis­ter, all sense of sex­u­ally mo­ti­vated vi­o­lence has been blanched from the project. The stalk­ings and killings are mostly well-ex­e­cuted – if that is the right phrase – but with­out any mean­ing­ful con­text or con­nec­tion to the in­ter­change­able vic­tims. Many char­ac­ters are hastily in­tro­duced and never seen again. The ac­tors all pull in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions: for­mer

Eas­ten­der Haluk Bil­giner is agree­ably fruity as the crazy doc­tor work­ing Michael’s case; Judy Greer de­liv­ers ev­ery line like she’s in a wacky fam­ily sit­com; Jamie Lee Cur­tis holds the line. The in­ter­gen­er­a­tional fi­nal act, mean­while, is spoiled by a point­less se­quence in which Alyson runs through the woods, be­cause this theme was al­ready teased out in

Hal­loween H20.

It’ll do well enough for sea­sonal Blum­house kicks. But it’s no

Hal­loween III: Sea­son of the Witch and it cer­tainly doesn’t war­rant toss­ing out the pre­vi­ous films.


If you don’t think it’s fab­u­lous that in­die dar­ling David Gor­don Green has made a se­quel to John Car­pen­ter’s Hal­loween that pre­tends that all those other mis­er­able se­quels and re­makes never hap­pened and that Michael My­ers was ac­tu­ally caught and in­sti­tu­tion­alised that very Hal­loween night in 1978 and that the lone sur­viv­ing babysit­ter, Lau­rie Strode (Jamie Lee Cur­tis), ended up a pro­foundly dam­aged, twice­mar­ried prep­per wait­ing for the day when she could bring Michael down once and for all – well, we have noth­ing to talk about then, do we?

Car­pen­ter’s Hal­loween might be madly over­rated, but it re­mains the smoothest, shapeliest, and most en­tranc­ing of all dumb hack-‘em-ups

This new Hal­loween is the #MeToo Hal­loween, the one that says the body never for­gets the mem­ory of as­sault, and that the trauma is passed down to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions in all sorts of un­pleas­ant ways. Green’s Hal­loween doesn’t have the geo­graph­i­cal sim­plic­ity – the el­e­gance – of Car­pen­ter’s. It’s a bit all over the place. But I love how he takes mem­o­rable im­ages from the orig­i­nal and turns them on their heads. Af­ter a pur­pose­fully slow start, the movie builds and be­comes re­lent­less. Maybe you can’t go home again, but in the age of fan­boy au­teurs, you can go back to Had­don­field.


To be hon­est, Green has set him­self a near-im­pos­si­ble task. On the one hand, he wants to hold the myth of My­ers up for in­spec­tion, and to note its more fool­ish ex­cesses. On the other hand, he yearns to re­as­sure us that it re­ally is a big deal. Hence the pump­kin in the open­ing cred­its, which be­gins as a very squashed squash and slowly in­flates, ripen­ing into bloom, with can­dle­light glow­ing through its cutout eyes and jagged grin.

Yet think of how Car­pen­ter, so much leaner of method and more spa­tially aware than his suc­ces­sors, filled the last minute of Hal­loween. He showed us the dan­ger ar­eas where the Shape had lurked in that sub­ur­ban haven: the stairs, the couch in the liv­ing room, the quiet street, the house where the story had been born. It was the best end­ing of its kind since An­to­nioni’s L’Eclisse (1962), which showed us the de­tails of the tryst­ing place where two lovers, now ab­sent, used to meet in Rome: a fence, an un­fin­ished build­ing, a street lamp gut­ter­ing to life.

One direc­tor’s vi­sion of meta­phys­i­cal vacu­ity had mu­tated into an­other’s pulp hor­ror, and, in both cases, we were seized with ap­pre­hen­sion. The Hal­loween of to­day is slick and sick, but lit­tle is left of that sleep-de­stroy­ing dread.


Jamie Lee Cur­tis in Hal­loween.

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