With Halloween around the corner it makes sense Hollywood would release few horror films. - it’s the perfect way to capitalize on the scares the day brings. And with it being the 40th anniversary, writer-producer-director David Gordon Green and writer-producer Danny McBride (yes, that Danny McBride) thought it would be great to resurrect Michael Myers and Halloween one more time. With 10 films already in existence one would think that this property should lay dormant, but the last one, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II was released in 2009. And the norm to reboot and repeat is at an all-time high, so the eleventh Halloween is upon us.

Green and McBride co-wrote this latest script with Jeff Fradley, and the trio decided to jettison all existence of the Halloween sequels. With those films no longer canon, this Halloween stands as a direct sequel to the original 1978 slasher. It’s a big risk considering, but based on the final cut it looks to be the right move.

This iteration takes place 40 years after Myers terrorized Haddonfield, and this film’s events unfold in that same town. Jamie Lee Curtis, one of cinema’s most iconic final girls, plays Laurie Strode once again and she’s a different person from the young and naïve Laurie we saw in 1978. Nowadays Laurie lives in isolation, training and preparing herself for Myers’ (Nick Castle, who played Michael in the original) return. Coming off like a horror-film version of The Terminator’s Sarah Connor, Laurie’s not just hoping, she’s anticipating another clash with the Shape (James Jude Courtney). Laurie’s woke status has her training her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), but that choice has resulted in a strained relationship between mother and daughter, capped off with Laurie losing custody when Karen was just 12.

Almost to the day of his murder spree, Myers has escaped while being transferred to a maximum security prison. This obviously sets up another meeting between him and Laurie, but being locked up for 40 years means he needs to get caught up on some killing. And with Myers looking to finish what he started with Laurie, he takes time out to terrorize Laurie’s teenage granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), all while the police, led by deputy sheriff Frank Hawkins (Will Patton), and Myers’ doctor, Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), search for Michael.

One thing I admire is Curtis and her love for Laurie Strode. Most actors would shun the role that made them famous, but not Curtis. Plus, she’s appeared as Laurie six times. At the least you’d think she’d be tired of playing a scream queen over and over, but Curtis owes a lot to the role which opened many doors for her. Curtis has been quoted as saying as much, so her willingness to reprise Laurie is a treat.

Knowing all that, Green provides unexpected depth by exploring generational trauma. It is the main source for the rift separating Laurie from Karen, and it’s interesting to see Allyson caught in the middle. Allyson makes efforts to have a relationship with Laurie, and early on it parlays itself into a nice callback.

Green’s Halloween is a worthy sequel and, as a slasher, is surprisingly good. Despite how iconic 1978’s Halloween is, I’ve never found it (nor any slasher film) to be truly scary. This latest Halloween isn’t scary either, but it’s full of tension, is creepy and provides plenty of fan service. The opening credits are a perfect example – a black background with a pumpkin on the left side while the credits pop up, complete with same font and color. Green even includes “as Laurie Strode” and “introducing” for Andi Matichak, just like in 1978. Of course, the unforgettable theme song, composed by executive producer John Carpenter (who co-wrote and directed the original), blares, setting the tone for fans and newcomers alike. The result is a feature that is an enjoyable and entertaining homage and, with Laurie going from hunted to hunter, also serves as an unlikely #MeToo statement.

4 stars out of 5


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