* There are no spoilers in this review.
Though I may not be able to do my usual 13 Slays of Halloween this year due to real life (I really wish I could do it this year, but there's no way with my other job being well sucking out any time I have. So that job kind of takes precedence over this one. So if you've been wondering why there hasn't been one this year. That's the reason). But you can consider this the ghost of that column. Because let's face it. If there was ONE movie in October to review for that seasonal column it's this movie.
Halloween is basically like a reissue of Pepsi classic. Where it's very much trying to be a true follow up to 1978 original, with that same style and feel to it (complete with a new epic John Carpenter score that was made with his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies). It also by no means is like Crystal Pepsi aka the 2007 movie of the same name aka Rob Zombie's version).
There are a TON of beats this one has, that respects the original. It even flips the book slightly doing its own thing so much so where any fan of the original will experience a sense of, "Wait a second..." Before it gives you a nice punch and goes in another direction. This honestly feels like H20 (1998) done right.
That all springs with a damn stunning performance of Jamie Lee Curtis once again reprising her role as Laurie Strode. Much like H20, Laurie is suffering from her encounter with the boogeyman. But here, Curtis is allowed to breath more and you really get a better sense of the character around others namely her own family and two other generations of Strode women (Judy Greer and Andi Matichak). All three actors just bring their A game as well and have amazing chemistry with Curtis where you get the plight that has been all over this family since Laurie's first confrontation with Michael Myers.
Where would I rank this movie in the Halloween franchise? Obviously, the original is something on a level that can never be ever touched. Halloween III (1982), while a left-turn is an amazing what-if the franchise went into the "anthology" as it was originally intended. I do enjoy Halloween II (1981) and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (even for all its flaws. The film at least tries then do other crazy shit and it has some amazing shots in it with some real standout performances).
But this entry? When the movie has your audience on the edge of your seat and making you repeatedly say, "OH SHIT!" and makes you invested in these characters and start muttering, "NO!!! NO DON'T GO OUT THERE! DON'T DO THAT!" Then well, this film is doing its job right. The side characters are equally good, and when one bites it you are kind of sad when they do bite it. Likewise, the kills are just the original. The imagination of what Michael is doing is more terrifying than the gore itself that is shown (and yes we do see actual onscreen kills, but the best ones are the ones we don't see).
Really, the only flaw I can say this movie has? It's the beginning. I mean the CGI pumpkin? Eh... They went real and practical like the first two. Still, even with that, the movie has characters you care for and an antagonist that just absolutely takes your breath away and keeps you on edge (the closest is one scene in the 5th movie and two times in the fourth).
This is probably the first time since the 1981 sequel where Michael just feels actually like Michael. His actions and the look he has here is just utter perfection. The fact they got the original actor Nick Castle reprising the role vocally and for one scene makes this movie work more than previous films. Add to that the performance James Jude Courtney who does the rest of the work here. This Michael totally captures the original's antics here to perfection and is honestly up there with Castle's I dare say.
Yes, I'm really frothing at the mouth for this movie because this is the first time. This movie actually feels like a continuation than a sharp deviation. Even veering away from the past films, this movie has moments sprinkled that homage these film (even Zombie's). This movie is a celebration of the franchise as a whole to give us that experience with the Shape anew in theaters. That said, I loved this film. This film has nailed the hype it had for me and exceeded my expectations. It has hiccups like the title sequence but when it has so much else going for it? The performances and pure love of the craft that everyone in 1978 original built? This gotta be my favorite film of the year and might be hard pressed to be topped. I kind of want to see this movie again now just to savor even more. So yes, run and go see this film if you've loved the 1978 original. Cause if you love that? You'll love this film. Cause this movie is just an utter love letter to it, while the thing it does here is so damn satisfying. I don't even care if they even do a damn sequel. This movie is the continuation that was so needed and reinvention worked. This is the Halloween for this generation ironically enough. The boogyman has truly come back.
5 out of 5