Halloween (Movie, 2018)

Halloween is one of the most convoluted movie series of all time. As of the release of Halloween (2018), there are now five separate timelines in the franchise. There’s the original, which consists of Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995). (That’s films 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.) Then there’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), which refers to the first two movies as fictional films. Next is the Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002) timeline (films 1, 2, 7, and 8), in which Halloween H20 jumped over movies 3-6 and picked up where #2 left off. There’s also Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009), Rob Zombie’s reboots.

The latest trilogy, beginning with Halloween (2018), is a direct sequel to the first film, leaping over everything after that. It is also, somewhat confusingly, the third film in the franchise to be simply named “Halloween”.

In Halloween (2018) we find a 61-year-old Michael Myers, who has been in captivity since the murders of 1978. During those same 40 years, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been preparing for the return of Michael Myers. Strode is almost a carbon copy of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 as she has spent decades building a fortress and learning how to handle weapons, preparing for an adversary that no one else believes will come. Because of her fears she has been diagnosed as mentally ill and shunned by her daughter’s family, who thinks she needs help.

Don’t worry, most of the people who doubt Laurie Strode end up dying gruesome deaths.

The story begins as two podcasters/journalists arrive to interview Michael Myers, who is kept in a prison yard chained to a giant block of cement. Inexplicably these reporterss have obtained Myers’ original mask and show it to him in an attempt to get him to talk. Instead, it rekindles his desire to KILL KILL KILL! The following day, Michael Myers is transferred to a new facility but manages to escape after causing the vehicle to crash. After that it’s business as usual as Myers returns to Haddonfield on Halloween night to murder random people.

Myers slashes his way through multiple bodies in his pursuit of Strode and her daughter’s family. Unfortunately when Michael finally tracks her down, it seems Strode has spent the past 40 years turning her home into a lethal version of the house from Home Alone. The film ends with Michael Myers definitely probably getting killed, but this is the first film in a new trilogy so I wouldn’t bet against him.

It is hard not to experience deja vu while watching Halloween (2018). In Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) (Halloween #7), Laurie Strode awaits the return of Michael Myers and sets a series of traps in an attempt to kill him. (At the end of that one she chopped his head off with an axe, but four years later he was back.) That scene, where Michael Myers causes a vehicle to crash which enables his escape? That’s been done (at least) twice before. Many of the kills in this film are throwbacks to earlier films, which only adds to the overwhelming feeling that “I’ve seen this before.” And perhaps most annoyingly, once again, Michael Myers drives a car in this movie, despite being incarcerated since the age of six.

Like most movies in the franchise, Halloween (2018) tries to have it both ways when it comes to Michael Myers. He was a kid, a human being, with no supernatural powers; and yet in this movie he ends up with more lead than a pencil and shrugs it off. Toward the end of the film, Myers ends up in a trap David Blaine couldn’t escape from, and yet, being the first film of a new trilogy, we can only assume he does.

It’s surprising how much exposition is in this film. I can’t imagine anyone skipping the first 10 movies and deciding this is a good place to start… and yet we get all those dopey tropes of policemen discussing the case. “Gosh, wasn’t Michael Myers that kid who was locked up back in 1978 for murdering four people?” And then there’s the podcasters. And the kids. And everyone, discussing the case so that twenty minuutes into the film they’ve recapped everything. Also, somewhat amusingly, nobody texts in this movie. Everyone calls everyone, so that you can hear the conversations.

Halloween (2018) does what Halloween movies do — there are plenty of jump scares and if you want to see what a head looks like after being stomped on by a serial killer’s boot, today’s your lucky day. If you’re looking for logic, there are plenty of true crime shows and podcasts out there. If you’re looking for meaningless brutality, you’re in luck — Halloween Kills was released yesterday, with a third film, Halloween Ends, set for a 2022 release.

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