When I went to see the latest iteration of Halloween on opening night it was not because I’ve adored the series, although I did love the first film. No, it was because Danny McBride and David Gordon Green were behind this new sequel/reboot. Green directed the film while McBride co-wrote it with Jeff Fradley, but the two have worked on incredibly funny movies like Pineapple Express, and TV shows like Vice Principals. They’ve shown an inability but also a respect for a film that made sense for a horror movie property that was created by John Carpenter who simply wanted to make a good movie. This is a new take on a classic that has all the respect and ingenuity from two great creators.
Why does this matter?
The film was hailed by critics and is quite a tight horror flick. It’s the epitome of slasher horror made new again while also developing the Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) character for a new generation.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a well-made film. You can tell there isn’t a lot of fat on it keeping the pace from moving and keeping the audience tense. It opens in a way that unnerves by drawing you in with true-crime podcaster’s Dana (Rhian Rees) and Aaron Korey’s (Jefferson Hall) attempt to get a story on Mike Meyers. These characters are intense and you respect them for being so passionate about covering this story. Sure, they might be chasing podcast fame, but you don’t hate them. It’s important for the audience to like the characters before they are ruthlessly murdered.
The film plays like a good thriller. The scares are to be expected, but it’s that edge of your seat intensity that keeps you pinned to the screen. There are scenes involving Michael Myers entering homes and slashing and killing, or moving about while the babysitter tries to put a child to bed. Regardless of blood and murder, you feel every creak in the floor because you don’t know when Michael Myers will strike.
At the same time, it manages to make Laurie relevant and interesting. She’s a bit of a loon – who wouldn’t be after the crap she’s been through – but she’s taken that fear and turned it into planning and training. She’s expecting Myers and she’s going to kill the bastard if it’s the last thing she does. McBride, Fradley, and Green have crafted a movie that shows a woman who has taken control of her life the best way she can. They’ve developed the characters, integrated new teenage ones, and set in motion a new franchise that’ll be fun to see grow from here on out.
The production also has an incredible soundtrack. John Carpenter is back scoring the film with his son Cody Carpenter and Daniel A. Davies who all do a great job. The special features include a short documentary on their sound design called “The Sound of Fear” and it does a good job of showing how their collaboration worked. The music is one of the strongest elements of the film and one of the biggest reasons this franchise took off in 1978.
Speaking of special features, this Blu-ray comes with plenty, although many are 5 minutes or less. The highlight of the bunch is “The Legacy of Halloween” which features John Carpenter, David Gordon Green, Jason Blum, and Jaimie Lee Curtis in a roundtable discussion. It only lasts about 4 minutes, but Curtis gets most of the floor talking about why this series is timeless. “Journey of the Mask” explains how the original mask was made (created from a Halloween store Captain Kirk mask) and what they did to make it their own for the 2018 film. The mask designer has one of the best quotes on the special features when he describes Mike Myers mask as, “Great white shark of a human.” “The Original Scream Queen” features Curtis and talks about the legacy of the actor and integrates John Carpenter’s thoughts as well. “Back in Haddonfield: Making Halloween” is your standard featurette although it comes with some great anecdotes and quotes from the creators. Fun facts include Green’s favorite death being Oscar’s on the fence, how the film was made to honor Carpenter but add to the mythos, and McBride finally getting to scratch the itch of murdering someone on screen. In his words, he said, “I’ve written almost 50 episodes of TV and a few screenplays but over all that time I’ve barely killed anyone. And if they were killed they deserved it.”
For details on the deleted scenes get my take on each one here.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The film didn’t really scare me. It has plenty of jump scares and tense scenes, but feeling scared or unnerved never quite worked. It is a well crafted and well-written story, but it’s as if the creators focused mostly on that rather than blowing us away with scream-worthy moments.
It’s true almost every featurette on this Blu-ray is short, but it’s the roundtable that is the most shockingly short. They got Green, Carpenter, Curtis, and Blum all at the same table and yet could only get a few short minutes out of it? Surely they spoke for 30 minutes at least?
Is it good?
This is a great movie in a good Blu-ray package. There are a nice collection of deleted scenes, plenty of short but well worth watching featurettes, and an overall great transfer. Above all else, this is a movie well worth watching more than once and I can’t think of a better way to watch it than with a Blu-ray with fun special features.