I think I've firmly established that Halloween movies are extremely R-Rated. We're not talking about Rob Zombie levels. But it's still a Halloween movie. I would even say that it is on the more intense side. I guess points with the fact that it kills a kid on camera. That's a big step in the dark zone. (The dark zone? What is going on?) There's that gross shot from the trailer. There's nudity, but it is from the original 1978 Halloween. The f-bomb is thrown around a lot. Rated R.
DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green
My buddy, Jeff, hates David Gordon Green. At least he used to. I never really had any problems with him. I tended to at least like a lot of his movies. He's never really knocked my socks off, but I was excited when he was attached to this movie. Hearing that he was writing it with Danny McBride only made me lose my mind more. The weird thing is that I'm not obsessed with either person. I think I like the idea behind David Gordon Green and Danny McBride more than the actual fandom I possess. They're fine. And that's what I'm taking away from the movie. They're fine. The movie, therefore, is fine. It's just that I needed it to be great. The trailer looked great. People said that it was great. But it was just another movie in the Halloween franchise and that's wildly disappointing. Why are the Halloween movies so obsessed with maintaining the status quo?
The thing is, and I've been preaching this throughout my Halloween reviews, is that the Halloween movies should be director led. It should be John Carpenter's Halloween; Rob Zombie' Halloween, David Gordon Green's Halloween. They should all have unique styles and be unafraid to completely shake things up. I know that I got some pushback about my love for the Rob Zombie entries in the series, but those movies are, at least, something new. The 2018 Halloween is more same-old, same-old (pun inteneded). The big moments are so superficial that they don't really change things. So the movie retconned everything but Part I. That didn't really add anything. If anything, it actually makes it absurd that everyone is obsessed with Michael Myers. He was a one time, one-night killer who seemed pretty easy to take down all things considering. Yes, it's very upsetting that he is the scourge of Haddonfield, but then just move away. WHY IS LAURIE STRODE LIVING IN HADDONFIELD? (Okay, that question is answered, by my sympathy is teeny-tiny because of it.) I've never actually seen a retcon make things actually harder for the character. What the retcon did on the grand scheme (and this is in the trailer, so it's not really a spoiler) is take away the blood relation between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. That didn't change a darned thing in the story. It seems like a fanboy thing to say that Laurie isn't family. The weird thing is that it creates a lost opportunity that is just a shame.
I mean, this movie is about family. I like that. There's some things that I like about the movie and that's one of the things. The movie, at least, has a running theme. It's about how family hurts each other and having Michael chase Laurie down because she's family seems like a really smart choice. Why go through the process of retconning all of that stuff? I mean, we now have three different timelines when it comes to Laurie Strode. In one, she died in a car accident, leaving behind a daughter. In a second, she changed her name and had a son. In this third, she had a daughter and has been a Sarah Connor style doomsday prepper. But none of this needed to be retconned. It all makes sense with the previous entries. I guarantee that Laurie Strode is going to die a third time just so Jamie Lee Curtis doesn't have to keep making these movies. I personal message to Ms. Curtis: they can always retcon the series a fourth time. It just all seems excessive. Honestly, the retcon reboot feels like a gimmick. It seems like it adds a mystique to Michael, but nothing is new. The reboot isn't really for Michael, though. The remake is for Laurie. I just mentioned Sarah Connor. I think that the filmmakers wanted to graft the Sarah Connor mythos onto another character. Pretty much all of the major themes were explored in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Perhaps David Gordon Green wanted to do a Terminator movie and they just said "no." Halloween, for all intents and purposes, was a dead property for about a decade. There's a story to be told about the actual process of victimhood and how that can be passed on generationally, but I still don't think that Halloween quite sticks the landing. We get really good insights into that world, but the movie still makes it about the horror, not the surviving.
But this leads me to one of my favorite things about Halloween. (Can I establish the fact that three movies in the franchise with the same name is driving me crazy? Simply assume I'm talking about David Gordon Green's Halloween.) Thank God for Judy Greer. I am genuinely upset about the roles that she has been given. Halloween is almost just a commentary about how unfair her casting has been. She has been the downer mom in so many movies that she's starting to tell jokes about it. Greer is fantastic and she's once again playing the downer mom. You know what I mean when I write "Downer mom", right? This is the mom who has a strained relationship with her kids and her spouse because she's always put out by something. Halloween is almost a commentary on this role more than anything. There's a reason that Greer's Karen is the downer mom in this one. Laurie Strode, in an attempt to protect her child from the Boogeyman, ruined her childhood. She has no appreciation for the struggles that her daughter Allyson had to put up with. Or maybe she does. There's almost a hidden jealousy for the simplicity of Allyson's life. This is the one movie that glorifies the NHS on the level that it should be glorified and it's such a great mundane moment. It's so funny to put the three female protagonists next to each other. Laurie is insane; Karen is neurotic, and Allyson is Laurie before everything went wrong. It's so great. As part of all of this, the movie actually kind of avoids horror movie tropes. There's no sex or drugs on screen. Michael Myers isn't quite acting as the sex police. And the performances are pretty solid. There's a lot going on here that really works. I also like Karen's contributions to the end of the plot. It works pretty well. It's not life-changing or anything, but it is pretty good. I will say that the actual bit that beats Michael at the end is on the disappointing side. It really reads as a cop-out as opposed to a meticulous battle. This should be Laurie Strode riding off on a unicorn, holding onto life as she's clutching Michael Myers' stopped heart. Instead, it's a pretty boring surprise that seems to be more of a deus ex machina as opposed to anything of substance. But there are elements of this movie that work. I wish it were funnier. One character is absolutely hilarious, but he's used (thankfully) sparingly. It's weird to think that Danny McBride wrote this movie because it is very restrained when it comes to comedy. But McBride was always one to be subtle with his comedy. His humor comes from the mundane and without a formal comedian delivering some of these parts, I can honestly see funny parts simply read as drama. That's fine.
It might be unfair of me to be criticizing this movie this harshly. I keep on talking about the balance between expectations and expectations defied. But there's eleven movies of Halloween now, ten if you just look at the Michael Myers stuff. I want something new. I don't want to go back to Haddonfield. I don't want to see the same narrative over and over again. I don't need that nostalgic kick. If anything, my binging of the series may have made this movie worse for me and that's no good either. I want to be excited for another entry and this movie didn't do that. I kind of hope I have to wait another decade for the next one, but I know that won't happen.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.