Blu-ray: Halloween (2018)

STUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green | CAST: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner
RELEASE DATE: Jan. 15, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $17.99, Blu-ray/DVD $19.99, 4K Ultra HD $24.99
BONUSES: deleted/extended scenes, featurettes
SPECS: R | 105 min. | Horror | 2.39:1 widescreen | stereo | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall

The 2018 version of Halloween is marketed as a direct, definitive sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 classic of the same name. With Carpenter also working on the film as composer, executive producer, and creative consultant, as well as Jamie Lee Curtis (The Fog) reprising her role as Laurie Strode, on paper this movie certainly sounds like it. But, for as much as it sounds like a genuine part of the Halloween canon, my main concern going in was whether this movie delivers on more than just sharing the title.

I am happy to report that it certainly does, with director/co-writer/producer David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Eastbound & Down, Your Highness), a genre journeyman, proving he’s as adept at horror as he is at comedy.

Halloween takes place forty years after Halloweenliterally with its release year, but more importantly within the movie’s diegesis. Following the events of the ‘78 movie, Michael Myers has been successfully caught and incarcerated in a high-security sanitarium, while Laurie Strode is not the secret sister of Michael, but is instead a woman in her sixties who went full-Rambo following the trauma of being the “final girl” of a slasher film. While some fans of Halloween II (1981) and beyond may feel slighted by this retcon, this alternate take is done to the benefit of the film as a whole. It reinstates the events of the original as a random act of violence by a disturbed, evil individual, and establishes Laurie as a woman whose only connection to Michael is that of a circumstance that has haunted her for the past forty years. Thus, the film doesn’t try to create a reason by arguing it’s because they’re related by blood.

In fact, what I loved about this Halloween is that there is a lot of thought put into the film’s core themes. It explores the individual’s penchant to find reason in violence and violent individuals, embodied by the two true crime podcasters who are shown at the opening of the film visiting Michael. These two podcasters (played by Jefferson Hall and Rhian Rees) try to reform Michael’s story by finding the humanity in a man who is inarguably a monster. They then proceed to visit Laurie to get her side of the story, only to try to delegitimize her stance on Michael being “the boogeyman.” It contextualizes the events of the original film through a modern lens, both by simply using podcasters to get the story going, but also by exploring the multi-generational effects of trauma through Laurie, her adult daughter (Judy Greer, Tomorrowland), and granddaughter (Andi Matichak). And, honestly, as a woman watching this movie, I have to say there is something genuinely satisfying watching the movie culminate into a showdown of three generations of women taking on the big bad boogeyman of Michael Myers.

I am not going to call Halloween ‘18 an intellectual film, and while there are moments of tension, the uneasy atmosphere the original is so well-known for is never fully realized.  But it’s still a thoughtful entry that otherwise delivers in story, dialogue, and visually interesting cinematography, made with an admiration and appreciation for the original. It does not feel like a soulless cash-grab that it could have easily been. Halloween ‘18 is a movie made by people who were profoundly affected by the original, and Jamie Lee Curtis absolutely kicks ass as a heroine ready for revenge.

As for the Blu-Ray itself, it is crisp with an easy-to-navigate menu that provides extended scenes that didn’t make it to the final cut. It also has bonus features any horror fan could appreciate for its commentary and insight, which contextualizes the thought process behind the film.

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