TIFF 2018: ‘Halloween’ is a Superior Sequel

40 years after the original Halloween was unleashed and became not only one of the most successful independent films of all time, but a touchstone and influence on the entire horror genre, a new sequel premiered at TIFF, and laid claim to the title of best sequel in the series. Hell, for me, it may wind up becoming my favourite of the entire franchise.

Considering the film’s general release is still a few weeks away, I’m going to avoid spoilers for the most part. And really, to appreciate what co-writer/director David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride have come up, you’re actually better off going in cold. On that note, here are some point form thoughts on what Halloween (2018) delivers:

  • An Oscar worth performance from the incredible Jamie Lee Curtis, who has never been better. Curtis’ portrayal of Laurie Strode is a fierce take on how someone deals with severe trauma (a word Curtis used many times in the after-film Q & A). Blumhouse should get their “For Your Consideration” ads ready, because the actor certainly deserves at least a nomination for her iconic work.
  • Great performances by all the other actors involved, including Judy Greer as Laurie’s daughter, and newcomer Andi Matichak as Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter. This is undoubtedly a film featuring strong women, and it is a movie for the times.
  • Seriously sadistic kills by Michael Myers. This is a hard-R movie, with blood and guts to spare. If you love The Shape, you’re in for a treat.
  • An unrelating final third that utilizes sound, light and tension to deliver a memorable and violent final act.
  • Throwbacks and nods to previous films. Halloween is a direct sequel to the original, discarding all subsequent entries. However, there are lots of easter eggs, subtle and not so much, that tip their hat to what came before. There’s also a score comprised of music both old and new, courtesy of John Carpenter, his son Cody, and their collaborator, Daniel Davies.
  • Lots of humour. This aspect of the film may be a dealbreaker to some fans (I did hear some grumbling as I walked out of the Midnight Madness screening). The laughs in Halloween are genuine, which may not fly  with those who want their Michael Myers film to features purely visceral violence. The jokes worked for me, and there was lots of laughter in the theatre, but how much the humour appeals to you will likely impact your final thoughts on the film.

Halloween was greeted with a standing ovation before it even began, and it earned the one that came as the lights went up. For me, it’s a superior sequel, and one of the best movies I’ve seen all year, horror or otherwise. It’s a return to Haddonfield that’s well worth making.

Halloween opens in theatres October 19th.

 

 

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One Reply to “TIFF 2018: ‘Halloween’ is a Superior Sequel”

  1. The movie was well received because there is so pathetically little to choose from in recent years. People are tired of all the trash. By that standard, the most recent Halloween movie would constitute, for the casual fan, a quality option. Having said that, the ‘superior’ sequels were made decades ago….2, 4, and 5. THOSE are Halloween movies. But THIS…the only true genius involved here is that of Carpenter, for understanding the psyche of the modern film-goer….he found a way to get people to go see another Halloween sequel….while all the while smugly priding themselves on NOT doing so, since this was to be, ostensibly, the LEGITIMATE sequel….He allowed people to just do what they wanted to do, anyway-namely, to go see Halloween 11-without ceding any of their street cred. This was a decent movie. But the things that made the original, as well as the better sequels, what they were….the seasonal ambience, the incredible score and cinematography, the beautifully choreographed stalking sequences….those elements are minimalized, or absent altogether. In addition, Jamie Lee Curtis was NEVER the star of Halloween. Donald Pleasance was. He was capable of carrying this franchise. She, most assuredly, is NOT. In fact, the last 3 times she has reprised the role of Laurie Strode, she basically just showed up and played herself. The quiet, awkward, good natured heroine from 1978 is long gone…replaced by a vulgar, tacky, vile old lady. This new movie is fine for people who have no investment in the series…but for true enthusiasts, it has been a terrible disappointment.

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