Halloween is a Halloween Movie


David Gordon Green, for all of his talents (and I love Stronger), has made another trifling bit of Michael Myers mayhem and all that that entails: young pretty-somethins getting hacked to pieces again and again until a motley crew of characters band together to put the big guy away once and for all, or so they think, and along the way there are plenty of franchise echoes and human entrails. Halloween 2018 is a Halloween movie, not a radical reinvention of slasher horror or even a gritty example of “elevated” horror. Sure, Jamie Lee Curtis is a wily good actress, and that’s more than can be said for good ol’ Busta Rhymes or poor ol’ Sheri Moon Zombie, but with a supporting cast either discarded (Will Patton!) or mostly wasted (Judy Greer!), she’s left with a truncated character arc and T2 tropes to come by. That’s not to say there’s nothing here to enjoy. As much as she’s wasted, Greer gets one gratifying moment near the end, the kind of classic B-movie character moment that gets an audience aflutter, and there’s a nifty follow shot on Michael bee-lining through a series of cult-a-sacs for a big quick fix on the heels of reacquiring his mask. As a kill-a-minute romp through a nostalgic neighborhood in Haddonfield, Illinois, it’s quite entertaining, even funny at times, although Green and co-writer Danny McBride can’t seem to decide if they want to be silly or serious. That might explain their too brief interest in an actor of gravitas like Patton, or a young actor of preternatural comic timing like Jibrail Nantambu as the ward of a cool girl babysitter. These are classic characters in the making, not one-and-dones to be cast aside once that walking, stalking Shatner moves on to a new corner of town. This is the Laurie Strode show, a welcome relief in the wake of woe-begotten remakes and forgotten sequels, but what about the future? Much like the traumatized grandmother herself, Halloween is content with mulling over the past. It’s 2018, so what else is new.

Grade: B-

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