John Carpenter’s “Halloween” has spawned several mostly-awful sequels, reboots, and reinterpretations. At this point one could hardly blame you for rolling your eyes at the prospect of yet another “Halloween” movie. And yes making a worthy follow-up to Carpenter’s classic is a tall order still to this day. With ‘H40’, Director David Gordon Green and his co-writers Danny McBride and Jeff Bradley have given us the best and bloodiest attempt yet in the form of this jarringly splatter-brained slasher flick.
Taking place four decades after the events of he first film (while ignoring all the others), we catch up with a world-weary Laurie Strode (once again portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis) who’s now dealing with crippling post-traumatic stress and survivor’s guilt since Michael Myers slaughtered her friends and nearly killed her on Halloween night back in 1978.
But Laurie hasn’t just been feeling sorry for herself this whole time. Despite the relentless ridicule from others, she’s adamant that “The Shape” will return and has been spending her life preparing. She’s fixed up a cabin on the outskirts of Haddonfield to resemble a survivalist camp. We’re talking barbed-wire fence; security cameras; flood lights; rolling steel doors for every room and, of course, a concrete-fortified panic room stockpiled with enough firepower to make Sarah Conner feel at home.
At the same time Laurie’s paranoia has driven away those closest to her, including two ex-husbands and an estranged daughter, Karen (played as an adult by the always welcomed Judy Greer), who was taken away from her by social services at the age of 12. Flash-forward forty years and Karen is trying to keep her mother at a distance so she doesn’t have the same negative impact on her own daughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), who just wishes her mother and grandmother could work out their differences.
This compelling and surprisingly timely dynamic is the heartbeat of the film and sets “Halloween 2018” apart from the rest of the series and Jamie Lee Curtis is exceptional in the role that started her career. It’s unfortunate then that such an interesting generational conflict doesn’t get the attention it should because its film is consistently jumping between a bunch of convenient plot lines featuring tired character tropes who only serve to make dumb decisions and somehow move Michael closer to Laurie.
John Carpenter too returns to the franchise, this time as a producer in addition to co-composing the brilliant new score that experiments with haunting new takes on his iconic theme which hits at just the right moments throughout the film to make the hairs on the back of your arms stand up.
I’m led then to the conclusion that “Halloween” is a film that works best in thrilling spurts as opposed to a satisfying whole. Clearly Green and company have a passion for and knowledge of the slasher sub-genre. They harness them to craft some genuinely tense scenes on their way to an unforgettable third act. And their eye for detail will not go unrewarded, especially for fans on the hunt for the frequent wink and/or nod to the other installments.
Have you seen the new “Halloween” yet? If so, I want to know your thoughts so don’t be afraid to hit me up in the comments below!