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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Halloween (Blu-ray)
Halloween (Blu-ray)
Universal // R // January 15, 2019 // Region A
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Oktay Ege Kozak | posted January 21, 2019 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The 2018 edition of Halloween (Should be called as such, since there are also 1978 and 2007 editions, and don't even get me started on the confusion on Halloween II titles) is the best Michael Myers-centered Halloween sequel by a long shot. Considering the Halloween "franchise" is one of the rare ones (Jaws is the only other one that comes to mind) where the original film is a genre-defining masterpiece, only to be followed by a series of bad-to-terrible sequels, that isn't a huge achievement, but it should be championed nevertheless.

The first good choice that the 2018 version makes is to completely ignore every single sequel, including Halloween II, which picks up right where the first film ends. The Halloween franchise is like a choose your own adventure book at this point anyway. 4,5, and 6 follow their own continuity, while H20 and Resurrection ignore all of those, and the 2018 movie discards them all. There isn't a hint in this one whether or not non-Michael Myers related Halloween III is still canon, but if the Shamrock Shake mask incident actually happened in this universe, I think someone would have referenced it ("Remember that time when every single kid in America died at the same time?").

Blumhouse, known for its prestige horror output, decides to pull Michael Myers out of the b-movie schlock dump and gives him a new artistic, gritty, and formidably menacing shine. Instead of the usual gun-for-hire newcomer director who merely sees the sequel as a stepping stone for better jobs, this Halloween is helmed by renowned indie drama director (And terrible comedy movie director, but beggars can't be choosers. Also, I said "movie" so don't jump on my back about Eastbound & Down), David Gordon Green. Green and BFF Danny McBride are huge fans of the original, and their genuine desire to bring something new to Michael Myers while paying homage to John Carpenter's classic is on full display.

The best aspect of this Halloween is in its ability to bring Myers back to Carpenter's original vision: A horrifying representation of the randomness of evil. Just like in the first film, Myers is merely a psychopath, evil incarnate who stalks and brutally kills whoever's unlucky enough to enter his scope. The addition of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the first film's final girl in a movie that practically defined the term, turning out to be Myers' sister, was a desperate attempt by Carpenter to explain why Myers is still gunning for who seemed like a random victim in the first movie in Halloween II. Since this development is only in the sequels, Green, McBride, and co-screenwriter Jeff Fradley can completely ignore it (There's even a clever line that references it), which again turns Myers into the shark-like random killer he was always meant to be.

This allows Green to put his brutality on full display without a tongue-in-cheek approach. There's plenty of comedy relief here (A little kid who curses up a storm when Myers comes after him is hilarious), but none of it is at Myers' expense. The best sequence occurs when Green dryly follows Myers as he invites himself into random houses to satisfy his endless need to kill. That's the Myers we've been waiting for since the 1978 version. It took 40 years, 8 sequels, a remake, a sequel to that remake, but better late than never.

When Green focuses on Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode, who suffers from PTSD and have been preparing for Myers' return for 40 years, at the expense of pushing away her daughter (Judy Greer) because of her draconian self-defense training methods, the sequel really works. Green applies his drama pedigree to Strode's conflict, and actually inserts a relatable and touching exploration of how such trauma affects people's lives, even if fours decades have passed. Curtis delivers on the character the way she hasn't been given a chance to in Halloween II and H20 (Don't even make me mention Resurrection again), and displays an understandably flawed character.

Our interest dips considerably whenever Halloween decides to become yet another typical slasher sequel, with Myers going after a gang of high school horror flick tropes: The obvious final girl, the smarmy girlfriend, the obnoxious nerd, the comedy relief stoner, etc… are of course all on the chopping block. Hence, the middle section sags a bit, but the finale delivers a strong closure to Strode's decades-long obsession with Myers. Unfortunately, since Myers is again a random killing machine, and is not necessarily after Strode, there's a ridiculously underdeveloped twist used as an excuse to have Myers end up at Strode's house. But other than these blemishes, Halloween finally delivers a decent sequel to the original. Still fairly unnecessary, but as evidenced by all the other follow-ups, it could have been a lot worse.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

The 1080p transfer is awash in cool blues, especially when night hits. The daytime scenes are warm and use a lot of earthy colors. The video presentation represents this stark difference in aesthetic beautifully, with a clear and crisp look and no noticeable video noise.

Audio:

The DTS-HD 7.1 track is always vibrant, and gets great use of the surround channels. It really comes to life whenever the new score by John Carpenter and his team, which includes his son Cody, kicks in. Yes, the Halloween theme is fairly easy to play, but only Carpenter knows exactly how it should be played. A new theme he applies to the sequel also utilizes a lot of dynamic space.

Extras:

Deleted Scenes: 12 minutes of mostly improvisational stuff that Green is known for.

Making Halloween: A brief EPK featurette about the production.

The Original Scream Queen: A 2-minute tribute to Jamie Lee Curtis.

The Sound of Fear: A very short examination of the new score.

Journey of the Mask: A 2-minute featurette about the iconic mask.

The Legacy of Halloween: The shortest round-table discussion you'll find anywhere. Curtis, Carpenter, Green, and Jason Blum talk about Halloween's legacy for a whopping 5 minutes. They must have talked for longer, why not present that?

Final Thoughts:

Even though it's far from perfect, as someone who thinks of the 1978 film as perhaps the greatest horror movie ever made, I'll take this over any other sequel. It's a fine button on Myers, and my heartfelt advice would be to leave it alone going forward.

Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com

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