The Halloween series has been going on for a very long time. 40 years to be exact.  There have been multiple direct and indirect sequels, a remake of the first two chapters, and even a completely unrelated “Season of the Witch.”  “Halloween: H20” marked Jamie Lee Curtis‘ first return to the series as Laurie Strode, in which she finally(again?) killed The Shape with an unambiguous beheading.  Jump forward a few more years and she’s back for an extended cameo that opens “Halloween: Resurrection”  The tables are turned this time as Strode is in a mental institution and Mr. Meyers shows up and finally finishes her off.  After all of this, what is there left to do with these characters?  What can they show us that we haven’t already seen?

It’s hard to single out the biggest surprise in 2018’s Halloween, but one of the biggest is this film came from two of the guys who made “Pineapple Express.”  Directed by David Gordon Green and co-written by him and Danny McBride it’s easy to presume it would be chock full of bad stoner humor.  But these two share a palatable love and respect for the franchise and have treated it with far more care than anyone since John Carpenter himself.  The next shocker in this slasher is it’s a direct sequel to the original 1978 Halloween.  As far as it’s concerned, shortly after that film concluded, Michale Meyers was captured and has spent the next 40 years in a mental institution for the criminally insane.  Laurie Strode is still alive, and instead of a son, she has an estranged daughter and granddaughter.  The film takes the time to explore what the events of a night like that would do to a person, painting Laurie as arguably paranoid or reasonably precautious.

The film opens with two podcasters investigative journalist, who attempt to interview both Meyers and Strode but are seemingly unable to elicit an emotional response from either.  Even presenting the distressed Shatner-mask that they’ve procured from the state’s evidence warehouse seems to have no effect on The Shape.  Like a machine that has only two modes, Off and Kill, Michael needs only an opportunity to begin his killing spree.  It’s not long before the blood fun begins.

To say the filmmakers have ignored all previous films would be an exaggeration.  Homages and references to every chapter in the franchise have been included in this one.  Some are pure easter eggs, as in the Trick-or-Treaters wearing the masks featured in Halloween 3.  Others are recreations of iconic shots or even fresh updates to favorite scenes.   What makes it truly fun for fans of the series is you’re immediately aware of the reference, but you have no idea how it will play out.  Will Michale kill that kid?  Who’s under the sheet?  Will your favorite character make it out alive?  While there are some silly twists near the end, the movie at least plays fair and hints towards what may be coming.  If you pay attention enough, you’ll likely notice small details that seem out of place.  This is a far cry from most slasher-flicks, so when the logic gets a little too thin near the end, it’s easy to forgive.   It may not be a perfect film, but it is certainly the best “Halloween” in 40 years!

Halloween (2018)