What if the original thriller “Halloween” hadn’t yielded several decades of follow-ups, and just had a direct, decades-later sequel?
That’s the refreshing conceit of the newest “Halloween,” which basically erases all those other movies and plugs back into the very first one, especially in terms of the famously spare style shown then by director John Carpenter. Current franchise-keepers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride clearly are huge fans of that film, and they hold very true to it as murderous Michael Myers again wreaks havoc on the small Illinois town of Haddonfield.
If that’s the case, you know former babysitter Laurie Strode still has to be around, and Jamie Lee Curtis obviously embraces returning to the part – with the character’s rather disheveled physical appearance mirroring the torment she’s retained over the past 40 years. And original co-star Nick Castle also is back to share the part of Myers.
Laurie has new reasons to be wary of the newly escaped Myers, and not only for herself but also for her daughter and granddaughter, played by Judy Greer and Andi Matichak. They aren’t merely about to play victim, though: In keeping very much with the times, by the time all of them have weighed in on their shared plight, “female empowerment” is a thoroughly relevant phrase.
Carpenter is back as an executive producer on this “Halloween,” a credit Curtis also gets this time, and his son, Cody, handles a music score that channels the haunting theme Dad also contributed the first time. There are loads of other nods to the original round, which helps make it easier to leap from that film to this one, particularly for those who have seen a lot, if not all, of the other chapters in-between (including the Rob Zombie-directed remakes).
This picture basically requires you to forget about those, even the couple for which Curtis came back. That’s a pretty self-assured demand to make, but also one that deserves respect, just for how unusual it is. It’s even bold to use just the original title, with no sequel number nor subtitle added.
“Halloween” not only is one of the most obvious tributes to a classic movie, it’s also a very logical one given how the update achieves it. Not many films could get away with it, but it’s a treat for fans of the original that this one does … and with reasonably successful effect.