Updated: Oct 20, 2018
Tonight, I took my son to his first horror movie, because tomorrow is his thirteenth birthday, and he became interested in the Halloween series after he walked in while I was watching a documentary on the making of the first film. With the film (technically) releasing on his birthday, it just seemed too perfect. Since we live in an age when release dates mean nothing anymore, we got to see the film tonight. So let's talk about Halloween.
Because the film just premiered, I won't post any synopsis or spoilers that aren't in the trailers. I'll just give my impressions.
So as I mentioned before, this is a retcon of all of the Halloween sequels. As far as this film is concerned, only the events of the first film ever occurred. Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are not siblings, and the film even addresses that notion as rumor.
This is the second time we've seen Laurie with PTSD, the first being 1998's Halloween H20, and this film shows us a very different Laurie Strode. Whereas the Laurie of H20 lived in fear and went into hiding to escape from Michael, this Laurie has remained in Haddonfield and is actively preparing for Michael's inevitable return. She's grown so paranoid that she's driven her family to the edge, and they've mostly cut her out of their lives. It's interesting that we get a chance to see these two alternate takes on Laurie and how she copes with the trauma of that night in 1978 when Michael Myers came home.
And honestly, it's hard for me to pick a favorite version. H20 was my first exposure to the series, when I saw it on a date with a girl at seventeen years old. So that film will always be dear to me. But damn if this movie doesn't give it a run for its money.
The kill count is higher. In fact, this might be the biggest bodycount Michael's racked up out of all of the movies. H20 made jokes about Michael's age when he was only 41 years old., but this Michael is 61 years old, and he is an absolute tank. Michael has forty years of repressed rage, and it shows. He's not invincible, however, and Michael does not come out of this fight unscathed... and I applaud the filmmakers for that. That's all I'll say on that subject. No spoilers. I promised.
I was thrilled that they got both Nick Castle and Tony Moran back to portray Michael onscreen. (EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that Tony Moran’s involvement is unsubstantiated rumor. So take the following with a grain of salt.) From what I've read, Castle (pictured) returned for one scene with Laurie, while Tony Moran (who played the unmasked Michael in the original) appeared in all of Michael's unmasked scenes. While we never see a clear shot of Michael's face in the movie, we see enough brief flashes that I was able to tell it was Tony Moran, and as a fan, that really made me happy.
I can think of at least three times when I thought I saw what would happen, but then the story threw me for a loop, and that is a big deal for me, because one of the pitfalls of my job is understanding how stories work, and writers can usually connect the dots early on. I'm rarely surprised, but this movie surprised me a few times, and I was thrilled when I was proven wrong and it turned out the writers didn't take the easy way out. Bravo!
So, the verdict... this Halloween is a masterpiece. It is an amazing followup to the original, and even though it threw six films and forty years of story out the window, I ain't even mad. None of the other sequels ever entered my mind while watching (except for H20, but we already covered why that one was on my mind). I was fully willing to accept that Michael had spent the entirety of the past forty years in Smith's Grove. The fact that the movie was able to do that for a die-hard, twenty-year fan should tell you something.
Don't wait for DVD. Go see this movie in a cinema. Do it today. You won't be sorry.