‘Halloween’ is a flawed but enjoyable return to the legacy of Michael Myers

On October 18, the new installment of the “Halloweenseries was released under the same title as the original. The film received good reviews, scoring a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The plot begins with two reporters (Rhian Rees and Jefferson Hall) who are making a podcast, of all things, centering on the murders committed by Michael Myers 40 years before. They visit Myers in prison right before he gets transferred to another building, prompting him to speak, which he unsurprisingly does not.

So, instead, the reporters leave to interview the sole survivor of his victims, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), at her now fortified house, which is complete with a shooting range, a triple-locked door, and other high-security equipment. We see Strode as a now hardened, stoic woman with agoraphobia, alcoholism, and paranoia, refusing to answer personal questions regarding the night of the murders. It’s quickly revealed that she’s estranged from her family because of this neurotic behavior, being shut off by her daughter (Judy Greer). Her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), tries to remain in touch with her, attempting to make her move past her trauma.

Meanwhile, Myers has hijacked the prison bus and has escaped, just in time for Halloween night. He embarks on a string of silent, suspenseful murders, with the intention of finally killing Strode and her family. The last half of the movie follows several different storylines which all eventually lead back to the women of the Strode family as they have a final “battle” with Michael Myers.  

That’s a more simplified version of what actually happened throughout the movie. There were a lot of other characters involved in the story, and I mean a lot. These included but were not limited to: all of Allyson’s useless friends, a plethora of police who were equally useless, a young boy who was being babysat who disappeared from the film without explanation, and another young boy who shot someone only to be promptly killed.

One of the biggest faults of “Halloween” was the number of needless characters involved. Most of the people who were introduced were seemingly there for some concrete purpose but ended up dying minutes after they were first shown, making it hard to follow the central plot. I understand that a lot of them were introduced so that Myers could have more kills, but the movie would have benefited from showing fewer side characters and more of the Strode family escaping Michael Myers.

Allyson, for example, is useless, like I said. There’s a brief storyline about her and her friends going to a Halloween dance with some teenage drama woven in alongside the murders. I guess you could argue that this was put in here as relief from the horror, but to me, it just felt like fluff used to fill time. The film could have been better had they just taken her out, despite the fact that there would be less kills. The same goes for the two podcasters at the beginning, which were set up to feel important, but were murdered about 20 minutes in.

On top of that, some of the dialogue is awkwardly placed. At times, it felt like some of the characters were just saying things to say things. At one point in the film, two characters are having a conversation in which Irrelevant Police Officer 12 says, “Sit down,” to which Irrelevant Victim 27 responds, “I was already sitting.” Did that line really need to be included in the script? Was there really any cinematic value added because of that?

However, it’d be unfair to say that “Halloween” did nothing right because if it had anything going for it, it had a knack for suspense. With every murder, I found myself gripping the edge of my seat and hiding my face because of how drawn out it was. Director David Gordon Green did a great job of making sure that the audience felt the tension the characters felt.

Additionally, despite the occasionally awful dialogue, the moments of comedic relief were well done. Jibrail Nantambu, who played Julian, had a great performance in terms of both comedic relief and realistic fear outside of the typical horror tropes.

Another strong performance came from Jamie Lee Curtis who did a great job of portraying her characters paranoia of Michael Myers returning for her family. Her tactical skills shown at the end of the film were extremely well executed and believable.

Perhaps one of the most positive aspects of “Halloween” was the strong female characters shown throughout the film. According to horror movie tropes, most female characters are included to let out a blood-curdling scream before getting chased and murdered. However, in this film, the women of the Strode family are seemingly one step ahead at all times, and the last scene with the three of them defeating Myers is nothing short of empowering.

Overall, I had fun watching this movie. Despite its pitfalls, the film is an incredibly enjoyable experience, especially if you’re looking to get into the “spooky season” mood. As long as you’re able to look past its technical errors and enjoy it for what it’s meant to be, a thrilling slasher film, I highly recommend seeing it.