Movie Review: “Halloween” (2018)

This review contains a major spoiler.

Like most people, I walked out as the end credits began to roll. This was not because of any particular disdain for the film, but rather because I am not usually one of those people to sit through them. Only unless I am enraptured by what I saw and am not ready to leave. As it happens, I learned from a friend last night after days of waiting to write this review that there was indeed a short scene after the end credits. It contains a shot of Michael Myers still breathing. Yes, still breathing after multiple gunshot wounds, blunt-force trauma all over his body, slashes, and then finally, an incineration in a house filled with gasoline and set alight. We can sit here and say, well, he’s Michael Myers so of course he is not dead. Or we can say this was supposed to be the definitive sequel, one where after 40 years, Laurie Strode and Myers go toe to toe and the monster is finally done away with. It was supposed to end there and be our closure.

That was the impression I got from coming attractions and fan-talk prior to the films release. This Halloween was supposed to be so good that it deserved the right to ignore seven sequels to the original. This was the true film needed because of many reasons but one of them was the oft-ridiculousness of the sequels. Like Dracula in the Hammer series, Myers dies or is put to the brink of death in every single movie. Then, by the beginning of the next one, he is magically alive. You could shoot him or blow him up—it doesn’t matter. Whether he represents the embodiment of evil or is just an abnormally strong human being, it gets to the point where the concept of “suspension of disbelief” no longer enters our mind.

Along the way of the ultimate showdown between Myers and Strode, we have a relentless series of events. Myers has been incarcerated for 40 years and is provoked when a murder-based podcast team tries to get him to speak so they will have content for their show. At the same time, it just so happens he is being transferred to another facility (the miracle of Hollywood, right?) and will use this as a chance to escape so he can make his way back to Haddonfield. He does just that, but Strode is waiting for him. We learn that her 40 years on earth have been nothing but misery. She lives alone in the woods, surrounded by barbed wire fencing and has turned her house into a fort. She has enough guns for a small army and continues to train for the day Myers may escape and come after her.

The two do have a showdown at the end which is well-filmed. I, personally, was glued to the screen. Actually, Halloween itself does not fail in terms of film-making. There are plenty of nods and Easter eggs to not just the original but some of the sequels. Characters are killed in similar ways and in similar places. We see the old neighborhood again. It walks a fine line between homage and fan fiction. Are these things in the movie because they are central to the plot or is it because the director thought it looked cool? I struggle to answer that question.

The killings are much more graphic. This is perhaps due to better special effects or maybe because of the age we live in. The brutality of the kill scenes do more to establish Myers as pure evil than any other Halloween movie. If we were wondering if there is a tiny shred of humanity left in him, those thoughts are dashed in this movie. While I am not for gratuitous violence, I am glad Myers is shown as one-dimensional. Of all the questionable inclusions in this movie (characters coming and going without development and a conspiracy-like subplot of sorts) at least the main antagonist is not one of them. They didn’t butcher him. He’s evil and that’s that.

But the film-makers now had the chance to put this evil to bed. They could have done what seven sequels failed to do and that is end the franchise. That’s how this movie was marketed, after all. Halloween was going to be the final nail in the coffin not a spark that will inspire a new series of unlimited sequels. We were supposed to leave satisfied that Jamie Lee Curtis finally killed The Shape. Instead, we are right back where we started. She threw every imaginable weapon at him after four decades of training and preparation. He’s still not dead. Where do we go from here?

The question playing in my mind is, “To what end?” If this didn’t kill him, what will? And if there is nothing out there that will stop him and he is destined to be immortal, what is the point in continuing if we are going to keep spending two hours of our time building up to his death, see him on the brink, and then learn it did not quite work? As entertaining and exciting as this movie was that is where it fails. It wanted to be different than the others, but it ends up exactly the same. 6.5 out of 10 stars. 

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