Illustration by Kate Greenblatt
It’s been widely agreed upon that modern horror movies are formulaic and boring, so why not just reboot the classics? Halloween is a sequel to the 1978 slasher of the same name. It ignores all other sequels and instead tells the story of the sole survivor of the original film, Laurie Strode. It’s been 40 years and she’s waiting for the day when her terrorizer, Michael Myers, returns. To the joy of viewers, the film succeeded in making a fun slasher film while leaving room for its stars to shine.
The plot is mostly generic with some new twists sprinkled throughout it. Instead of feeling generic, in the way new horror movies are, it just feels like an old slasher, still predictable, but fun. One change is that the plot explores familial trauma. Throughout the film, there are mentions of the trauma that Strode put her kid through for the sake of being prepared and it gives an interesting dynamic to the relationships shown on screen. Besides this, the plot isn’t anything special. It plays off of iconic moments from the original film to escalate the horror and scare the modern audience.
It definitely succeeded at this. Much of the movie was actually terrifying. The sheer brutality of Michael Myers is fun to watch and it keeps viewers tense about how the killings will play out. One of the best examples of this is a long take following Michael going through houses and killing random people, picking up new weapons as he goes. While the viewer knows what’s going to happen, it’s still extremely interesting to watch and makes the viewer wonder how the main characters of the film will could fight off the killer.
Besides the villain, the other highlight is Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. While this is her fourth time playing this character, she breathes new life into the part. In other Halloween movies Strode is more passive, fighting back, but never taking control of her own story. She comes off as more of a victim than a fighter.
In this movie however, she proves that she’s a force to be reckoned with. Her character prepares to fight back against Michael, and Curtis brings a gritty sense of determination. In a montage early in the movie, Strode is shown practicing at a homemade shooting range. Even without dialogue, she shows the dedication to the role and sets up how her character won’t be a victim. While the character is still dealing with intense trauma, she weaponizes her paranoia. She actively chases Myers and doesn’t let him hurt the people closest to her. It’s powerful for this fighting mentality to be given to an older woman, who aren’t often represented in the horror genre.
The largest problem of the movie isn’t really the filmmakers’ fault. Instead, it can be more attributed to the current movie industry. Slasher movies have been made a million times before, and Halloween doesn’t really add anything new to the genre, but that’s due to the fact that it had to reboot an older series. If the movie had taken too many risks and strayed away from the other Halloween films, it wouldn’t elicit the same sense of nostalgia. It has to stay similar enough to give a sense of the franchise, while still adding onto the themes to feel like something new.
While still a slasher film that falls into well worn tropes, Halloween is immensely successful at rebooting an old franchise while keeping a fresh sense of excitement and terror. All the separate aspects blend together well enough to keep the viewer hooked into the way the story executes its predictable plot.
Fans of classic slasher films will probably enjoy this movie, but if the genre seems tiring, then don’t bother to check it out. After all, it’s still a Halloween movie.