Cult Double-Shot: Was HALLOWEEN (2018) really that good?
One and only warning: spoilers.
All of us here at Cultsploitation were super excited for Halloween 2018. While it’s always good to temper expectations, I think it’s safe to say that both Michael and Ryne were flying high thinking about what David Gordon Green and company could do with the franchise by effectively rebooting it and wiping out everything within the series’ sequels. Now that we’ve both seen it, we wanted to take some time with a dual review of sorts. Because it’s not that useful to write up a traditional review, we’ve asked ourselves ten questions about the new Halloween film to help center our thoughts.
1. Overall, what did you think about Halloween 2018?
I saw Halloween two times during opening weekend. The first was on Friday night, opening night in my small town. Unfortunately, I had to deal with a lot of theater taboos including young kids, annoying conversation, a guy yelling out “Boo!” throughout the film, and poor sound quality. Suffice to say that this colored my experience quite a bit.
The second time I saw it was way better. No noise, a much better sound presentation, and a better mood. After this second viewing, I found that I liked Halloween far more – ultimately, it has become one of my favorite Halloween films. While I didn’t find it without flaws (which I’ll document below), the whole thing is a ton of fun with some seriously interesting ideas and probably one of the best film scores I’ve heard in a long time thanks to John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies.
Halloween 2018 was a return to form for the Halloween series after we were all subjected to the turdfest Rob Zombie excretions (Michael’s opinion, although fact, are his own). I was a bit apprehensive when I heard they were going to ignore Halloween II, as I love that flick, but after seeing the newest film, I am beyond happy where they went with Michael Myers’ storyline.
2. Favorite Halloween 2018 scene that stood out to you?
Halloween is all about the family dynamic, and it doesn’t come together any better than the final scene when Laurie, Karen, and Allyson all come together to get in some final blows on Michael Myers. It’s a great moment – all three Strodes, battling as one, each of them striking out to end some lifelong misery. Combined with the great score and some strong acting from Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, and Andi Matichak, this is the ultimate confrontation – and it strikes a pretty emotional cord considering all of us have been waiting for Laurie to get her comeuppance.
This film is full of so many standout moments, so it can be hard to narrow it down to just one favorite scene, but I think I can safely say that Michael Myers’ rampage through the streets, and homes, of Haddonfield, combined with that sexy theme and amazing one-take tracking shot resulted in my top goregasmic experience.
3. Anything that you weren’t completely sold on?
The biggest thing that I didn’t love was the opening of the film, which felt about 15 to 20 minutes too long. The podcasters were fairly unnecessary besides explaining the actual legacy of Michael Myers to help newcomers understand how this film fits into the series, and I believe that Halloween 2018 could have easily started out at the bus crash without missing much – and also significantly cutting down the running time and what some consider to be a boring first hour.
Without spoiling anything in particular, I wasn’t entirely happy with the director’s decision to basically write a couple of characters right out of the storyline come to the end of the film. Where the hell did certain people go? It seemed strange to me.
4. How did you feel about the use of comedy?
For the most part, I thought it was pretty solid and smacks of the usual Danny McBride type of humor (like banh mi sandwiches and other inane dialogue). It can lessen some of the impact of the suspense scenes (Julian’s line deliveries particularly), but I think it mitigates some of the overblown seriousness of some of the sequels without succumbing to Halloween:Resurrection‘s cheesiness.
Didn’t bother me in the least bit. I was laughing, the audience I was with was laughing, and sometimes a bit of laughter is needed during a horror film, especially one that had some tension-filled scenes.
5. But what about the baby?!
A lot of people seem to be having an issue with the baby scene, but I find this directly in line with Michael’s past characterization. There are a lot of people Michael decides not to kill – all the trick-or-treaters, the two kids he bumps into in both the original Halloween and this film, and other people that he just encounters on the street. He’s really only killing people who get in the way of his goal, and often Michael is portrayed as machine-like and robotic in his path towards that goal. It totally makes sense to me that he wouldn’t even bother with something so unimportant like a baby in a crib.
Case in point with tension-filled scenes, this moment made a lot of people whisper ‘no, no, no’ and I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen. I thought it was an effective use of showing a bit of Myers’ thinking process, even though he might come off as just some mindless machine at times.
6. How do you feel about Allyson and Karen joining the Halloween mythology?
I like it. I like Allyson in particular. I think that Green, McBride, and Jeff Fradley may have gone a bit overboard with Karen’s annoying qualities, but it does help with her later “trick” on Michael and the audience. They’re good additions, much better than Kara Strode from Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.
Do I have a problem with some sexy badass women being added to the mythology? Oh hell no! They kicked some serious ass, even if Allyson didn’t have much to do until the very end.
7. What about the Halloween atmosphere throughout?
This time they’ve succeeded in making it actually look like fall. I think the Halloween atmosphere could have been turned up just a little bit, but those scenes during trick-or-treat are fantastic, especially the long double-murder take. I mean, the one victim carved like eight different jack-o-lanterns. That’s dedication, yo.
Back to the tracking shot I mentioned before, most of the Halloween atmosphere was seen during those scenes. Kids are running around everywhere, donning Silver Shamrock masks, and a sexy nurse is being creeped out by a peeping Myers. Also nice to see an actual Halloween party at a school for a change.
8. Favorite theme from the movie?
This is going to be generic, but mine by far is the new theme “The Shape Stalks Allyson.” It’s just a fantastic inversion of Carpenter’s original stalking theme that truly works during the scene, and it even conjures up those memories when I listen to it alone. Taking second place is the excellent “Prison Montage,” which raises the hairs on the back of your head.
John Carpenter, his son Cody, and Daniel Davies nailed every single song in this movie, but my favorite has to be the theme that played during a chase scene with Michael Myers and a certain newly introduced beauty .
9. Did the twist – without revealing it too much – work for you?
I think it’s a pretty good twist because it reverses the Dr. Loomis dynamic. At the same time, I don’t think the film gives it enough time to form before that twist has already finished. I also didn’t love the doctor donning the mask – it’s almost comical rather than creepy, and it just doesn’t have enough development.
I know most people were put off by this random twist, but I didn’t see it coming, and when it happened, I was okay with it. It put some stuff into perspective and answered a few questions I had earlier in the film. We didn’t just get the same old same, and this probably made a few people angry. It’s The Last Jedi all over again.
10. Final thoughts and overall rating
I really, really enjoyed Halloween 2018 and it’s up there as one of my favorite films in the series now. I still believe it has some flaws, a few bigger than others, and that there is room for improvement for the inevitable next time. However, if I had to rank it, my order would go:
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
I give Halloween 2018 an 8.5 out of 10.
As soon as the end credits finished rolling, I was ready to see it again. The film hardly had any issues, and Michael Myers was brutal and played fantastically by James Jude Courtney (with a short cameo from original The Shape actor Nick Castle). In the case of most long-running horror franchises, the key to success is the look and feel of the killer and Halloween nailed it.
Halloween 2018 is one of the best sequels, and probably the best horror film I film I’ve seen in a very long time. My rating is a solid 9.5.
What did you guys think of the new film? Did we get it wrong? Let us know in the comments.
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