REVIEW: Halloween (2018)

Year: 2018
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick
Castle

Written by Megan Williams 

Halloween is probably my favourite holiday. You get to dress up in scary costumes without anyone judging you, watch horror films with your friends, carve pumpkins, see a man in a William Shatner mask creep around the neighbourhood with a kitchen knife…

Hang on a minute…

Produced by Blumhouse and starring Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode, the latest entry in the iconic ‘Halloween’ franchise is here! Already grossing over $76 million in its opening weekend (from a $10 million budget), it’s earned the second highest October opening ever.

Set 40 years after the original, ‘Halloween’ centres on Laurie Strode, her granddaughter Allyson and Allyson’s parents as they fight against Michael Myers after he returns to Haddonfield to cause new mayhem and murder.

I love 1978 original and was, honestly, sceptical of this entry; the previous entries haven’t been great in my opinion (aside from ‘Season of the Witch’ which didn’t even feature the masked killer!).

And, after seeing it, I think it’s ok but a little flawed.

Jamie Lee Curtis is a delight to watch as she plays the survivor who’s sworn to kill Michael Myers, and she is one of the highlights of the film. While I say this, however, there wasn’t a bad performance in ‘Halloween’, and I did care for each character and wanted them to survive the night. This is a mindset I find rare in most horror films: this time, I’m not rooting for the villain.

Another highlight of ‘Halloween’ was the score, which was composed by John Carpenter (the composer of the original film). While the original theme did feature, the rest of the score was fantastic and elevated the film, giving it a tense and haunting atmosphere.

At times, ‘Halloween’ was suspenseful, making Michael Myers a creepy and silent killer. But it also brought in some humour, making this a fun slasher film that wouldn’t have looked out of place if it had been released 40 years earlier. There are a lot of references to the original film too; some are obvious, while others require a keen eye or knowledge of the overall franchise to spot. The constant reoccurring ‘Halloween’ theme, and an updated version, was a pleasure to hear!  

The film was visually gorgeous and, while most of it featured dark lighting and was set during the night, ‘Halloween’ still managed to appear vibrant, especially during the scenes in Haddonfield. The cinematography was great and the film featured a fair amount of one–take shots that sometimes didn’t focus on Michael while he was carrying out his murderous actions; it really emphasised that Michael is a silent killer who has no limits.

Unfortunately, the film was a little too long and was unevenly paced; it could’ve been around 20 minutes shorter. There’s even a certain plot point that I thought could’ve been removed completely as it goes nowhere. And, while it is suspenseful at times, it isn’t as scary as it’s predecessor.

Overall, ‘Halloween’ is an enjoyable, but average, entry into the franchise and, while I would recommend it, I wouldn’t rush out to the cinema to see it.

MEGAN’S VERDICT:

3

 

Advertisements

New ‘Halloween’ Trailer Recaps Original Film In Faux Documentary

“Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago. ”

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, Judy Greer, Virginia Gardner

Release Date: October 19th, 2018

Michael Myers Is On The Hunt In New ‘Halloween’ Trailer

“Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago. ”

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, Judy Greer, Virginia Gardner

Release Date: October 19th, 2018

Michael Myers Returns In The First Trailer For ‘Halloween’

“Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.”

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Castle, Judy Greer, Virginia Gardner

Release Date: October 19th, 2018

Stronger

Year: 2017
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson

Written by Fiona Underhill

To be honest, by far the main reason I went to see this film was the live Q&A afterwards with Jake Gyllenhaal. This film hadn’t massively appealed to me beforehand (apart from my love for Jake) because it did seem to be that classic “able-bodied movie star plays a real-life disabled person in blatant Oscar bait”. This is the same reason that wild horses could not drag me to see the upcoming ‘Breathe’ with Andrew Garfield. I know disabled film writers who are very uncomfortable with all films about disabled people having to be ‘inspirational’ and ‘heroic’, instead of representing disabled people as nuanced and flawed humans. The other reason for my discomfort is that this is already the second film we have had on the very recent Boston marathon bombings. It seems soon to be unpicking a complex situation and casting very clear heroes and villains.

However, after hearing Gyllenhaal speak, as a producer as well as star of the film, it is clear that he got to know the real-life Jeff Bauman very well during the development of this biopic. Also, Jeff is portrayed as a deeply flawed person, even after the tragic events that result in his legs being amputated above the knee. Before the marathon, Jeff is a young guy who works at Costco (which turns out to be extreme lucky due to their excellent health insurance), drinks too much and has an on again-off again girlfriend, Erin (‘Orphan Black’s’ Tatiana Maslany). For a significant amount of time after the bombing, he is still pretty much the same and quite unlikeable. If anything, he’s more hard-drinking, argumentative and prone to tempers and depression. Additionally, the realities of being a wheelchair user in a tiny apartment on the second floor are not shied away from, including using the toilet and shower.

Some of the most effective parts of this film come in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, when Jeff is in hospital. I found out from the Q&A that they used many of the real doctors and nurses that attended Jeff to add authenticity to these scenes. There is an excruciating section in which Jeff has his bandages changed for the first time and it is shot from his point-of-view, mostly blurred, with the doctors’ soothing tones coming from off-screen. The physical therapist who helps Jeff in the following weeks and months is also played by the real-life person. I was delighted to see Miranda Richardson, playing very much against type as Jeff’s alcoholic working-class Boston mother. The acting from all concerned is impressive, including Gyllenhaal of course. It will gall me slightly if he wins an Oscar for this though, when he has had far more interesting performances and films (‘Zodiac’, ‘Nightcrawler’, ‘Enemy,’ ‘Nocturnal Animals’) which have been overlooked.

It is after things come to a head with his girlfriend Erin, that Jeff hits rock bottom and is forced to evaluate his life. This is when the film falls into the classic ‘disabled hero’ trope, featuring montages of him getting incrementally stronger, learning to walk on prosthetic legs and turning his life around. It is the ‘triumph over adversity’ heroics and sentimentality that don’t sit well with me. However, the film could have gone further with this and does reign it in to a degree. The film also shows Jeff’s discomfort with all of the media attention, fan mail etc labeling him a hero (he even gets a catchphrase; Boston Strong!) when he does not feel like one. In summary, Stronger is not a terrible film, but not a particularly amazing or memorable one either. It is definitely saved by its performances and occasional interesting cinematography/editing. A solid addition to a genre of film that I generally do not like.

 Fiona’s Rating: 7.0/10