Even movie buffs who are ashamed to admit that they’ve never seen the original “Halloween” (or its multiple sequels) won’t need to shy away from the 2018 reboot starring Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie, Michael’s escaped victim.
As long as you can recognize the mask and Michael Myers — the serial killer behind it — you can lean into the thrills of this weekend’s follow-up.
40 years after the horrors of the original film, Laurie has taken to survival tactics. Her daughter Karen, played by a mostly underused Judy Greer, was taken from her because of her extreme protective techniques, but now has a daughter of her own, who Karen is keen on keeping away from Laurie.
The new “Halloween” opens on two investigative journalists attempting to interview Michael for their new true-crime podcast. They flaunt their history with decades-old murder cases, sounding a lot like real-life podcast “Up and Vanished,” which helped in solving a cold case in Georgia.
Then, when Michael is being transported to a new prison, he escapes, and the real horrors begin.
Though the attention of “Halloween” violently turns away from the true crime reporters and towards a struggle for revenge, the film’s modern lens doesn’t fade. Laurie’s granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), starts the fateful Halloween night at a school dance, dressed as one-half of a gender-bent Bonnie and Clyde couple’s costume with her boyfriend.
Unlike previous horror classics, Allyson regains some control over her narrative. She flips off boys who vie for her affections when the terror escalates, rather than having to fall into their arms.
Director David Gordon Green leans heavily on the film's suburban landscape. Though he occasionally gets carried away by the twists and turns of the plotline, these location-based scenes ground the film. One of the most thrilling scenes follows Myers as he wanders through crowds of trick-or-treaters, picking up weapons and killing freely.
What becomes so interesting in “Halloween” is that its core conflict is a struggle for power. When Michael wanders the streets, surrounded by young trick-or-treaters, his mask — with all its cultural significance — allows him to pass through unnoticed.
The ultimate empowerment, however, comes when once-fraught bonds between the women of “Halloween” are restored — an acknowledgement of the trauma that was endured by Laurie’s family that elevates the film from mere slasher fun.
“It Follows:” After sleeping with her boyfriend for the first time, Jay learns that he gave her a curse that’s passed down through sexual intercourse. She is stalked by an otherworldly, unstoppable being until she passes it on to someone else. “It Follows” is far from a STD-horror movie, though. Director David Robert Mitchell relies on minimalist thrills and the mere creepiness of his premise, making “It Follows” a haunting watch. Streaming on Netflix.
“The Twilight Zone:” Catch up on the old classic before Jordan Peele’s revival airs on CBS next year. Hosted by Rod Serling, this horror anthology series presents brief supernatural stories tinted by social commentary. Streaming on Netflix and Hulu.
“The Haunting of Hill House:” Shirley Jackson’s novel, which the new Netflix series is based on, opens with one of the creepiest lines in literature: “whatever walked there, walked alone.” Netflix has brought this sentiment to its streaming service, with ten episodes available to watch now. The season is about one of the most horrifying homes in literary (and now television) history and the things that inhabit it. Streaming on Netflix.