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Halloween’s recognizable high-pitched thematic piano notes and white rubber masks with tufts of straggly hair have been synonymous with horror ever since the original film was released in 1978.
In honor of it being Halloween’s 40th anniversary this year, director David Gordon and Universal Pictures produced a modern-day continuation of the story of serial killer Michael Myers, and even brought back some of the original cast members.
If I had to choose one over the other, I would still pick Halloween (1978) because it just felt like more of a classic suspenseful slasher film, but I think Halloween (2018) does the series justice.
But this wasn’t the first addition to the popular Halloween movie. There have been 9 sequels and spinoffs from 1981-2009 using the story of Michael Myers. All of them have been box-office failures, so longtime fans of the original movie have been hoping that this 2018 Halloween would be a breath of fresh air.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave this version a certified fresh rating with a 79 percent, and 74 percent of the audience thought it met their expectations. The movie is rated R.
The plot of Halloween (2018) is parallel to the plot of the original. Without spoiling all the details, the story takes place exactly 40 years after serial killer Michael Myers’ teenager killing spree in Haddonfield, Illinois on the night of Oct. 31, 1978. The focus is on Laurie Strode, one of the few survivors of the wrath of Michael Myers, and the movie details how she copes with the trauma today.
Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis who also acted in the original, deals with the PTSD Myers inflicted upon her by creating her own world barricaded from everyone else. Fearing that he would someday return to Haddonfield, she built her own gated compound stocked with traps, secret rooms, shelters, and plenty of weapons, guns, and other defense items.
Since I’ve seen the original film, I thought that the decision to center the plot around Laurie’s life years after the murders instead of it being all about Michael was interesting, and it made me want to see the movie knowing that it was from a different perspective.
The movie is entertaining without seeing the original, but I noticed that being familiar with the original helped me appreciate the new film a lot more.
I loved the way the producers tied in aspects of the original in the movie, but they were very subtle and would be easy to miss for someone who is new to the franchise.
For example, when journalists visit Michael in the psychiatric ward in the first scene of the movie, a clip of his face is flashed across the screen and you can see how one of his eyes is blind from when Laurie stabbed him with a hanger in the original movie. Throughout the movie, suspense is built by never showing Michael’s face, which is what they did in the original.
Instead, the producers choose to use camera angles showing his boots, his back, or his mask, but they never reveal his true identity. With those parallels, I think the diehard fans of the series were pleased.
While watching, I never found myself bored because of the many twists and turns in the storyline. It also helped that the whole movie was building up to a final face off between Michael and Laurie, much like the original.
It’s easy to compare this movie to the original because it’s basically a continuation of it — just 40 years later. To truly appreciate it, let go of all the comparisons and expectations to be extremely scared because this movie is less of a slasher and more of a story of family and generational fear.
Overall, this movie did a good job on putting a twist on the Halloween franchise, and it definitely kept some of the original’s horror elements.
My advice for moviegoers would to see the original before this one, and be prepared to see a little less Michael Myers and suspense and more Laurie Strode and her story.