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Halloween is a Disappointment 40 Years in the Making

This update of the classic slasher franchise fails to clear the low bar set by its predecessors

Stephen Simmons, Staff Reporter

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The original Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, is one of the most revered and influential films in the horror genre. It is credited with introducing the “final girl” trope, in which the last woman alive confronts the killer at the end of the movie. The villain, Michael Myers, became a horror icon and went on to appear in seemingly endless sequels and reboots from the 1978 classic.

Despite a strong performance from Jamie Lee Curtis, the latest addition to the franchise fails to overcome its unfocused plot.

The story picks up 40 years after Lori Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, was attacked by Myers in the original film. Strode has become reclusive and paranoid, having spent most of her life preparing for a rematch with Myers should he ever return. When Myers does inevitably break out of prison, it’s up to Strode and her family to finish him off for good.

The plot essentially retells an updated version of the original film’s story, which leaves room for few surprises. If you’ve seen the original Halloween or any slasher movie ever, figuring out which of the characters will survive will take all of 10 minutes.

Jamie Lee Curtis’s performance as a traumatized, borderline-deranged version of Strode is the most compelling aspect of the film. Strode’s contentious relationship with her daughter, played by Judi Greer, should have been explored more. Unfortunately, this family doesn’t get enough screen time to make up for the other, dumber elements of the story.

Rather than focusing on Strode’s family or her conflict with Myers, Halloween spends most of its runtime following Myer’s slow and pointless rampage through the town of Haddonfield. Slasher films are not known for their logic or character development, but watching a silent serial killer with no motive slaughter people does not make for a compelling story.

Rather than focusing on how a traumatized person feels about confronting their greatest fear, director David Gordon Green decided to give us a rehash of an outdated formula.

Perhaps the best decision made by the production team was making Halloween a direct sequel to the original, ignoring other previous spinoffs. This simplifies the narrative and mythology of the franchise, which had become convoluted, to say the least. The potential of this fresh start is mostly squandered on a safe, recycled story. Anyone who isn’t already a fan of the 1978 film is unlikely to enjoy this exercise in slasher movie clichés.

 

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