Meanwhile, an aged Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) – the original Carpenter scream queen – has been preparing for Michael’s return, still mentally traumatised after his 1978 rampage. When Michael inevitably escapes his prison, he wreaks havoc once again in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois.
Despite his improvements on the original, Green can’t quite match Carpenter’s sense of terror. The events in the script are common to most slashers, and predictability follows every kill – but, his direction is still inspired. His action and execution are distinctly unpredictable, with dialogue that’s far funnier than expected (Green, McBride, and Fradley worked on the US comedy series Vice Principals). There’s plenty of hilariously off-tangent conversations that tickle your ribs… before Michael sticks a knife through them.
Where the original wanted to capture a walking, not-talking image of intrinsic evil, Green is keen to remember that there’s a man behind the William Shatner mask. Even the most chilling lines from Carpenter’s original Halloween feel antiquated today, considering the modern understanding of mental illness. When Dr Loomis said that Michael Myers, the iconic serial killer, as a child had 'the blackest eyes, the Devil’s eyes’, you can’t help but question the good doctor’s qualifications.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns after 40 years as Laurie Strode, her first film role
But in this new Halloween, we see a lot more of Michael's face, even if it’s an unfocused shot of his cheek or a fast cut to his eye (which looks white rather than black). There’s even a moment during his killing spree when a glimpse of a deep morality unveils itself. Green creates something more humanistic in Michael while removing none of his savagery.
This is part of a new interest in the characters that Green and co-writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley are clearly keen on exploring. Not only is Michael’s psychology given more depth, but so is Laurie’s. Unlike the wannabe podcasters that arrive at her heavily secure cabin-in-the-woods, she can’t accept anything other than the horrific legend of Michael – any other interpretation doesn’t exist. To her, he’s literally the bogeyman. Despite being a bizarre, revenge-horror premise (passed on to her resentful daughter), this new liberal tone makes the film feel more real. It’s almost a character drama.
Halloween is a gripping update on the Carpenter classic, and it’s almost a triumph. There’s a certain amount of build up that’s left unfulfilled, but Green still excels. It’s more competent than a lot of contemporary horror movies, and even evokes some of the genius of the original – especially in the piercingly brilliant score by Carpenter himself with his son Cody, and Daniel Davies. If you're not scared, you’ll certainly be thrilled.
Halloween is released in cinemas on 19th October
|What||Halloween film review|
19 Oct 18 – 19 Oct 19, 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|