Halloween (2018) Movie Review

4.5/10

Entertaining one minute, then mediocre for the next fifteen. Halloween succeeds in making its villain feel menacing and even throws in clever callbacks for fans of the original. It’s everything between the moments of good that bring it down.

Set 40 years after the events of the first film, Halloween once again reunites Jamie Lee Curtis with her favourite babysitter Michael Myers. During that time Myers has been in prison, with Curtis praying every night that he will escape so she can kill him once and for all. Looks like she’s been reading the book “The Secret”.

Let’s start with the positives.

Halloween (for the most part) does a good job of making Michael Myers a menacing villain. The film sets him up a villain that just kills and moves on to the next victim. There’s no emotion or motive and that matches what the film wants him to be: the epitome of evil.

There are also clever callbacks for fans of the original to enjoy. It was fun to watch the theatre notice the lines of dialogue and role reversals that referred to the first film. They were subtle and still effective for those who haven’t seen the original.

And finally, there’s one African-American child actor that in my eyes stole the show. Most of his scenes were improvised and were genuinely hilarious. I don’t want to spoil his lines of dialogue or the circumstances of those scenes. Suffice to say these were the most entertaining out of the whole movie for me.

Everything else is a inconsistent and confusing shit show.

Halloween sets the tone with Michael Myers’ first kill but then later contradicts itself by not following through with a certain encounter (you’ll know what I mean if you see the movie). There was a chance to truly live up to this epitome of evil image, but Halloween chooses to back down because its afraid to take the risk. In my opinion the producers should either remove that scene or make good on their promise.

The film also has a lot of awkward and unfunny character interactions. The film tries to give quirky comedic moments between minor characters but fails more often than it succeeds. A scene with two cops talking about what they packed for dinner is the pinnacle of this. Throughout their entire conversation I was thinking “why the hell is this in the movie? It’s not funny”.

Even more confusing is how Myers’s age in the film fits with his killing spree. I don’t know how a 70-year man can get shot, hit by a car, beaten by a crowbar, punched, survive a bus crash, and still manage to kill ten plus people during that time. It was hilarious.

Maybe Halloween would be more entertaining if only I threw out any logic and didn’t take it so seriously. But that’s the problem; I don’t know what it wants to be.

On one hand it tries to feel serious by making Michael Myers a menacing and ruthless killing machine. On the other hand, it throws in awkward moments of comedy and confusing plot ideas. The result of which makes me feel less impressed and wanting.

But hey, what else was I expecting from a movie that’s the eleventh instalment and second reboot sequel to a cash cow series that’s all over the place with sequels and reboots.

Halloween Movie Recommendations: Part 2 (2018 Edition)

More recommendations for horror films this Halloween. Link to Part 1 here:

Funny Games (2007)

8.5/10

The perfectly executed horror film.

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Funny Games is a psychological horror that follows two young men and their reign of terror on a poor family. Toying with them through torture and sadistic games, the film explores violence in cinema to harrowing heights. The result is quite the message.

In my view, Funny Games is a perfectly executed horror film from writer and director Michael Haneke. Not only is it horrifying; it’s also very intelligent and knows exactly what it’s trying to do. The film is essentially a vehicle for Haneke’s opinions on the audience’s fascination with violence in cinema. Perhaps this is why it is still polarising to some but to me, it elevates Funny Games as a horror masterpiece.

This is up there with the intelligence of A Cabin In The Woods, another great horror film.

Side note: whether you watch the original French or American remake, it won’t matter. Both are the same shot for shot and I enjoyed each equally.

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) and Dead Alive (1992)

6.5/10

Explosive diarrhea and lawnmowers chopping people’s faces.

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Poultrygeist and Dead Alive are splatter horror comedy’s that I’m recommending to watch as a double bill. The latter being written and directed by New Zealand’s most famous export, Peter Jackson. Yes, before he was winning academy awards for epic films about hobbits, he was busy killing the undead with basic kitchenware items.

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Whereas Dead Alive follows the rise of the human undead, Poultrygeist bests it by introducing the rise of the chicken undead. These films won’t be for everyone but if you love intentionally bad dialogue and laughing your head off to the most ridiculous scenes of prop gore, then these films are for you.

May (2002)

6.5/10

A slow burn creepy classic.

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May follows the life of a young woman who struggles to connect with anyone. Her only true “friend” is a glass-encased doll; a gift from her mother. It was given to May with the adage “if you can’t find a friend, make one”.

The film cleverly builds on this phrase and slowly descends into a quiet madness. May might be the least heard of film on this list but it’s definitely the creepiest. This is one of those films something very bad is going to happen but you just don’t know what.

A large part of this is thanks to lead actress Angela Bettis. Her performance is great at getting you to sympathise for May while making her feel creepy. There’s a lot of awkward touches to her personality and overall I thought she did a great job.

Yes, it is low budget but if you don’t mind the slow burn nature of the plot, May is definitely a film for you. There’s one hell of a climax at the end and that sequence alone is worth a watch. Check it out.

“Amateur Night” segment from V/H/S (2012)

7/10

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This a bonus recommendation as it’s a short film segment that appears in the horror movie anthology known as V/H/S.

The film overall is a muddled collection of found footage films from different directors and is very hit and miss. However, the “Amateur Night” segment by writer/director David Bruckner is a big hit and I love it.

Bruckner cleverly solved the question I have with many found footage horrors which is “why are you still holding the camera?”. He does this by placing the camera inside the glasses of a character so we can see his point of view and the horrors he witnesses. This made “Amateur Night” incredibly immersive for me to watch and I had a blast. For those that are a fan of found footage horror films like The Blair Witch Project, this is a must watch to the list. But don’t look up anything for it online.

Halloween Movie Recommendations: Part 1 (2018 Edition)

Here’s a quick overview of horror films we recommend for this Halloween (more films in upcoming parts).

Martyrs (2008)

7.5/10

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Gruesome and truly horrifying.

Martyrs is a French psychological horror film that tells the revenge story of Lucie and Anna, two victims of brutal child abuse. Fifteen years after Lucie escaped from an icy torture chamber, she and Anna track down their former captors to exact their revenge. Their search uncovers a secret organization but Lucie and Anna quickly realise that they’re yet to experience the true face of evil.

This is the most brutal horror film I’ve seen and that’s also the main aspect that makes it so engrossing. It’s meant to be dark, bleak and horrifying, and that’s why I love it. For fans looking to expand their horror film library and for those seeking out sheer dread and scare, then this is the film for you.

Audition (1999)

8/10

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A slow burn horror with one of the best payoffs.

Audition is a disturbing Japanese thriller that follows Aoyama, a recent widower who decides to pickup dating again. With the help of his film producer, Aoyama holds auditions for a fake dating production that secretly introduces him to attractive and single women. From these mock castings Aoyama meets the gorgeous but reserved Asami and their relationship begins to develop. However, Asami isn’t what she appears to be, and Aoyama eventually finds himself faced with a horror that he’s never known before.

While Audition is a film that gradually increases the tension ever so slowly, ultimately it leads to a harrowing climax that makes the whole wait worth it. This is a film that purposefully takes it’s time because it knows how great the payoff at the end will be. If you’re after something with more pace than Audition won’t be the film for you. But if you’re looking for a masterpiece in horror suspense, you’ve come to the right place.

Pandorum (2009)

6.5/10

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Dead Space meets Resident Evil meets The Descent.

Pandorum is a sci-fi horror that plays out like a lucid dream reminiscent of films like Memento and The Matrix. Astronauts Payton and Bower awake from hypersleep with no memory of who they are or what their mission was. Payton stays behind to monitor the radio while Bower explores the seemingly abandoned spaceship. The astronauts quickly realise that they are not alone, and the fate of mankind will hinge on what they do next.

While it’s nowhere near being a horror classic, Pandorum is very much so underrated and often overlooked. The story is fast-paced with several action scenes that make it an exciting to watch. The film does borrow elements from other films, but I feel like it combines the best from those classics into something that still makes Pandorum feel original. If you loved any of those previously mentioned film influences and are into sci-fi gore horror, then give this one a watch.