This new “Halloween” doesn’t really follow through.
“Halloween,” 2018 edition, doesn’t waste any time going for the goosebumps.
Remember Michael Myers, that hulking masked serial killer from the original “Halloween” and various sequels? According to the new film, which picks up 40 years after the 1978 original left off and pretends the sequels never happened (a very good idea), big Mike has been institutionalized for all those years and hasn’t said a word.
Now, just as he’s about to be transferred to another facility (a very bad idea), a couple of Myers-obsessed British investigative journalists (Jefferson Hall and Rhian Rees) are allowed to approach him in the middle of an outdoor courtyard where he and other inmates are scattered about, unable to move too far thanks to handy restraints.
Michael is standing, his back to the journalists as they and a doctor make their way toward him. One of the journalists holds up Michael’s old Halloween monster mask and starts calling out to Michael, shouting at him in an attempt to get some kind of verbal response. Talk, Michael, talk!
Michael doesn’t turn, but the inmates start going increasingly bonkers. Their bellows get louder, they tug furiously at their restraints. The tension builds … and builds … and – cut to the title: “Halloween.”
Huh? I mean, nice going, director David Gordon Green, in terms of creeping us out. But some kind of cathartic payoff, besides a confirmation of what movie we’re watching, would have been nice.
And that’s the thing with this new “Halloween.” It doesn’t really follow through.
It tries to be funny (Danny McBride of “Pineapple Express” is one of the screenwriters), but, with the exception of short bits of dialogue between a young boy and his babysitter, it’s never quite funny enough. It tries to be scary (of course), but other than a couple of cheap jump-scares (where a character pops on the screen unexpectedly to give us a jolt), it’s more predictably gruesome than spine-chilling.
And most of the characters are bland at best, irritating at worst.
Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode, survivor of Michael’s original Halloween rampage. Understandably, Laurie has never been the same after that experience, and she’s spent the past 40 years as a reclusive survivalist just waiting for the day Michael returns. To play Laurie, Curtis seems to be channeling Frances McDormand’s “Three Billboards” character when it comes to toughness and gruffness, but it’s one-note, humorless.
Her obsession with Michael Myers has left her estranged from her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), who says things like “The world is not a dark and evil place,” and with limited access to her teenage granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), who is more sympathetic toward Granny.
Then again, the only relationship “Halloween” is really concerned with is that of Michael Myers with the world. And that often ends with someone getting impaled or suffering some similar fate. You know, the usual slasher stuff.
The only likable characters are the kid, Julian (Jibrail Nantambu), and his babysitter, Vicky (Virginia Gardner). They have a playful relationship: Young Julian calls out Vicky for her plans to smoke weed with her friends after he goes to bed; she threatens to show his parents what’s on his browser. But, as she tucks him in at bedtime, it’s clear they like each other; they actually provide some genuine warmth in this movie.
Well, can’t have any of that!