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Halloween

Year: 2018
Production Co: Blumhouse
Director: David Gordon Green
Producer: Jason Blum
Writer: Jeff Fradley/Danny McBride/David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton. Nick Castle, Haluk Bilinger

I'm not the most devoted fan of the slasher genre generally or the grandfather of them all in the original Halloween particularly, but I get the feeling if I was I might have been more let down by this movie than I was. The idea is sound enough, but I found the execution a bit nonsensical and a bit lazy.

Michael Myers has been in prison for decades, not speaking a word, while his first would-be victim Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) – now a grandmother – has driven herself the point of obsession about the idea that he'll escape and come for her and her family.

She's estranged from her grown daughter (Judy Greer), has a loving but slightly fraught relationship with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), and has made herself a reclusive shut-in who's armed and fortified her house as if she's expecting an invading army, not a lone killer with a machete and inside-out William Shatner mask.

We meet Michael still in prison where two reporters want to try and get him to talk to do a story on him, his Eurotrash doctor (who might as well have a T shirt reading 'surprise villain'), Dr Sartain (Haluk Bilinger) explaining that he's been immobile and mute for nearly four decades. We never see Michael full in the face, but glimpses of the edges of his jawline show an old man bristling with white hair.

But this being a Hollywood horror movie, of course Michael gets out. While being transferred to another facility where he'll spend the rest of his days his bus crashes, setting assorted dangerous thugs and loonies on the loose, including Michael.

I can't remember the details of where he gets his mask back, but he kills a man who stops to help, takes his car and drives back to Haddonfield. Being Halloween night he blends right in, stalking through the suburban neighbourhoods with kids dressed as all manner of characters and creatures, letting himself into houses to butcher the residents and steal ever more grisly weapons with impunity.

Allyson is at a costume party and sees her boyfriend kissing another girl so leaves in a huff, and it's while walking home when Michael strikes. By this stage, Laurie is with town sheriff Hawkins (Will Patton), apparently the young cop from the original but again, I'm not enough of a devotee to remember him. They know about the bus crash and have teamed up to hunt Michael down, but when they hear about the incident with Allyson's friends, Laurie fears the worst.

Michael catches up with and attacks Allyson, but the sheriff arrives in time to save her. Then the creepy doctor arrives and tells the sheriff he has to accompany him to take Alyson back to safety. It'd be a spoiler to say what he actually does, but you won't be too surprised.

But Michael doesn't kill Allyson, he goes instead to Laurie's house after his true quarry. Laurie has holed up inside with her daughter, who has no choice but to believe her mother was right all along, and when Michael descends they engage all number of attacks, traps and weapons to try and fight him off. Allyson soon arrives too and all three women are in mortal danger, Laurie's training and preparation the only way to save them.

Look, it was fine. There's an effective sense of geography as various townspeople make their way around Haddonfield trying to find or escape Michael. But there was also just as much wrong with it. First and maybe most importantly, it's not the least bit scary. Maybe that's because we've been seeing this kind of thing for 40 years now and none of us who belong to Generation X are affected by it now we're grown ups. But creators Danny McBride and David Gordon Green apparently forgot to bother even with a few decent jump scares.

Secondly, nobody seemed to know what to do with the various elements. The two reporters who want to get Michael to open up end up coming across him in a highway gas station and their story ends abruptly, making them kind of redundant to the whole plot. And Laurie doesn't really stay true to the characterisation. Even after weaponising and booby trapping her whole house, some of the decisions and approaches she takes are borderline stupid, seeming only to invite Michael a step closer for the viewer's sake rather than protect herself.

It's also kind of the reason I've never really bothered with the subsequent sequels that have come around in our current reboot-obsessed times. What else can you do with a masked, faceless killer who just walks everywhere?

But I'm the first to admit I'm not the ready made audience for this kind of thing. Plenty of others are, and if they like it more than I did and can say why it's a true Halloween movie I defer to their expertise.

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