An illustration inspired by ‘Halloween.’

An illustration inspired by ‘Halloween.’ 

Evil.

Throughout the “Halloween” franchise, Michael Myers is surmised by that one word. Whether he’s hunting teens as The Shape or is a murderous tool of the Cult of Thorn, Michael Myers is always defined as evil. “Halloween” the newest entry in the series, and one that completely ignores every other film except the ’78 original, never loses sight of that key tenement.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode and is phenomenal. After escaping death at the hands of Michael on Halloween night 40 years ago, Laurie now lives a secluded life in the woods. Gun in hand, Laurie accurately demolishes the lifeless bodies of the store mannequins she uses for target practice. Each bullet finding it’s mark, showing us that Laurie is prepared. When, not if, but when Michael escapes, she will not be helpless this time.

And given that this film hinges on Michael’s escape from the mental institution he’s held in, it’s no surprise when he succeeds. And let me just say, the 20 minutes or so we spend watching Michael makes this way to Haddonfield was a terrifying treat. This film is not afraid to go all out and I am so on board with that. It is showing us an unstoppable force careening towards an immovable object.

Early in the film, a nonchalant teenager flippantly remarks at the miniscule presence Michael Myers has in the grand scheme of things. With the film set in modern times, we have a number of other concerns that scare us. It would appear that man with a knife no longer wields the same power that he did in the late ’70s.

This proves to be far from the truth.

Michael Myers is an embodiment not only of the general term evil, but of the evil humanity is capable of everyday. His weapons throughout the film aren’t futuristic space technology or unknown magics. He uses his bare hands and everyday items he finds laying around people’s homes. While a ghost or a demon can be banished from our minds as make believe, Michael is something we can’t ignore. He is a man who wants to kill. And the world is brimming with men who want to kill.

The kills themselves are very well done. Torture situations may have reigned supreme back in the early aughts, but that is no longer the main course in today’s horror. While gruesome, “Halloween” never goes brutally over the top. Sure, we do get to see a jack-o-lantern made from a human head, but we’re not subjected to the nuts and bolts of how that actually happens. The aftermath of Michael’s deeds utilize practical effects that lead to fantastic results. (That jack-o-lantern is really cool.)

“Halloween” even gets rid of the final girl trope, and the end result is a great example of women coming together to get things done, when generally that doesn’t happen in old school horror movies. For all the classic beats the movie hits, it’s fine doing its own thing as well. To me, it was for the film’s betterment and builds upon a classic slasher while simultaneously reinvigorating it. While it didn’t seem to engage some of the teenagers randomly wandering the aisles of the theatre, I loved watching Michael Myers terrorize Haddonfield one more time.

If you’ve never seen any of the other Halloween films, watching the original is all you need to enjoy this. I myself have only seen the original and its follow-up (which I hated) and Rob Zombie’s duology from a few years back. This 2018 effort just worked for me, firing on all cylinders and hitting all the right spots. I will definitely be adding it to the annual rotation for many Halloweens to come.

“Halloween” is currently in theatres. It is rated R.

3 out of 4 stars

Oscar Chavez Castaneda is the Montrose Daily Press’ film critic. Find him on Instagram @oscarchavezcastaneda. He will review a movie new to theaters or a new DVD release every other week.

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