Movie Review: “Halloween”
Decades after Laurie’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) original encounter with Michael Myers, the tragic night is still affecting her life. She has prepared herself for the inevitable return of Michael Myers. Her house is a fortress filled with traps, an armory, and a panic room. She even raised her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) to know how to defend herself and handle a gun, but this led to child protective services to taking her away.
Now, Karen has grown to resent her mother and has a daughter of her own, Allyson (Andi Matichak). On the anniversary of the infamous Michael Myers attacks, Michael Myers has escaped federal custody. He is on a mission this Halloween and, while Laurie is prepared, Allyson is out with her friends and Karen does not trust Laurie. Her loved ones are in danger, so Laurie must find Michael Myers and put an end to him before anyone she cares about gets hurt.
The Pros & Cons
Michael Myers (+8pts)
The Doctor (-4pts)
The End (-3pts)
Pro: Laurie (+8pts)
It is rare for a horror movie, especially a slasher film, to have such an interesting main character. Laurie has been preparing for this day her whole life and it has cost her her relationship with her daughter and, indirectly, her relationship with her granddaughter. However, in her eyes, she would not have changed anything because she has prepared her daughter for the return of Michael Myers. Laurie will not rest until her or Michael Myers are dead.
What interested me so much about this character was, while she has the appearance of being prepared, Michael Myers is still very much dominating her life, even after all of these years. In her eyes, she is prepared, but to everyone else, she is a crazy, paranoid old lady who has been consumed by the tragedy from her past. She has been training all her life and, after all of the setup, it was then so gratifying to see her using all of her training. Laurie is fighting to protect her daughter and fighting to protect her granddaughter, but she is ultimately fighting to put down the monster that has haunted her for her entire adult life. This made a character that was really easy to get invested in and Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance certainly did not hurt.
Con: Karen (-3pts)
I got the impression that the filmmakers really did not know what to do with this character. They clearly wanted to setup Allyson as a high school aged character for potential future movies, but they also wanted to connect that character with Laurie who would be far too old to be Allyson’s mother at this point. The result is Karen. Karen is the daughter of the main protagonist, Laurie, and is the mother of the other main character who they are trying to establish for future movies. Then, Karen is just kind of “around” for the rest of the movie. She does not really do anything until the end and it made the character feel like a waste of screen time, but who knows? Maybe she will get more development in the future, though you will have to see if she survives this one first.
Pro: Michael Myers (+8pts)
Michael Myers is back! There have been many Halloween movies before, but this movie ignores all but the original. In this movie all you need to know is that Michael Myers went on a killing spree a few decades earlier, Laurie was the only survivor, and Michael Myers has been in captivity for a long time. Adding to the mystery of Michael Myers a bit more, he has not spoken a word during his entire time in prison.
We see Michael Myers break out and we see him acquiring his suit and his mask in the most brutal way possible. Throughout this movie, audiences will be on the edge of their seats whenever Michael Myers is stalking a potential victim because of how brutal he is with everyone he comes across. He does not speak, his intentions are never explained, and that is what makes him so entertaining for a horror movie. The filmmakers knew that explaining this character was the wrong way to go, and this paid off. This guy is a monster who will entertain audiences with every brutal kill.
Con: The Doctor (-4pts)
I honestly do not know what the filmmakers were thinking with this character. This character is the doctor that was studying Michael Myers during his time in prison. I do not want to say anything that happens with this character to avoid spoilers, but everything about this character seemed unnecessary. The character should have only been in the beginning of the movie, when other characters went to visit Michael Myers.
He should not have been forced into the rest of the story because he felt very out of place. The decisions the filmmakers made with this character seemed dumb and unjustified, which will make audiences annoyed by his presence. The only reason that the character was present after the beginning of the movie was so that the filmmakers could use him as a plot device to keep the story moving. They probably thought this character would be interesting and would surprise audiences, instead he will leave audiences disappointed in the direction of the story and will be obvious proof of the lazy writing from the filmmakers.
Pro: Allyson (+4pts)
I liked this character for about the first half of the movie. After that, it seemed like the filmmakers did not know what to do with her, which was a shame. Audiences who have seen the original Halloween movie will relate with Laurie, but audiences that have not seen (or do not remember) the original will relate with Allyson. Allyson has been told the stories of what happened to Laurie decades earlier, but she did not experience it herself. She also did not have the intense upbringing that Karen did. For all intents and purposes, Allyson is an ordinary young woman who sympathizes with her grandmother but does not understand the extent of what she went through.
For the first half of the movie, I liked Allyson’s story. She tries to be the connecting link that repairs the relationship between her mother and her grandmother. I was moderately interested by this character and I thought Andi Matichak could do a decent job of carrying this franchise (if she survives this movie), but I felt that the filmmakers dropped the ball with this character in the second half of the movie. She ends up bumbling around in the woods, while running away from something that is not even following her. That is all I will say about it. Just know that while I liked the character, the filmmakers failed to use this character properly in the second half of the story.
Con: The End (-3pts)
I will keep this very brief, as I do not want to spoil the ending, but it was pretty disappointing. The ending takes place in Laurie’s house and we get to see just how well she prepared for this day, but the whole thing was pretty boring. She clearly setup her house for this very night, but seemed not to be using all of her tools effectively, the same tools she setup herself. The filmmakers also did the cliché thing of ending the movie in a way that could be the end the story or it could leave it open for sequels. Rather than deliver the best ending they could for this movie, the filmmakers were too concerned with setting up potential sequels. I liked everything leading up to the climax, but the climax itself reeked of poor filmmaking decisions.
Grade: B+ (85pts)
Halloween was actually good horror movie. I say that because I honestly was not expecting much from it. I expected a typical slasher movie with a monster that has been done many times before. Where this movie takes it a step further is with the character stories of Laurie, Michael Myers, and the new character, Allyson. With Allyson, we do not get anything incredibly special but we get some decent development for a new character (even though the filmmakers completely dropped the ball with her in the second half). Laurie is a character that has been haunted by her encounter with Michael Myers for four decades and we get to see what that does to a person.
Michael Myers himself gets an interesting setup as well. He has been locked up for a long time. When he finally gets out, he goes on a brutal conquest that was really entertaining to watch. It was really intense, but the movie definitely had a few problems. The doctor was a completely unnecessary character, so much so that everything he did seemed unjustified and completely out of left field. Karen was another unnecessary character as she ended up being an extra character in almost every scene she was in. Is the movie perfect? No, but you will get a lot more out of it than you will from most slasher movies. The action is brutal and the main characters are interesting. I was pleasantly surprised with this movie.