Halloween (2018) Review: Laurie Strode Deserves Better

SPOILERS AHEAD

I really wanted to like this film. I was so excited to see Laurie Strode finally face her demon and take him down. But, that wasn’t the film that we got. The film that we got had a sloppy script, characters who were only there for backstory, and overall, just really lazy writing.

There were at least three different stories worth telling fully in this script. Instead of picking one and telling it, they took these ideas that needed to be flushed out, put them all together in one script and called it a day. It was almost like they knew the film was going to make money no matter what. Let me break down for you the three different stories that we could have followed: we could have followed Dr. Sartain’s obsession with his patient, Michael. It could have been revealed that he’s the one who let him loose on the bus (which is what I think happened anyway, but the connection was never concretely made), and that he wanted to draw him back to Haddonfield because he wanted to see what Michael would do. That would have been a good story. We could have followed the story of the broken mother/daughter relationship of Laurie and her daughter, Karen, and how fighting this monster together brings them closer together and repairs their relationship. Or we could have just followed the story of Laurie hunting her demon with the sole purpose of killing him, making sure he doesn’t kill anybody else. Any of those stories would have been good. But, what we got was a script that, yes, it included all of those things, but it only briefly touches on each one, leaving the entire story feeling like a combination of 3 or 4 different ideas that nobody could fully agree on. It was so disappointing.

On top of not having a sole cohesive story that was fully flushed out, we had two characters that only served the purpose of delivering exposition. And that, my friends, is just lazy writing. Had they not died in the beginning of the film, after their characters caught up with modern day Michael Myers and modern day Laurie Strode, I would think differently of them. Hell, they could have followed Laurie on her hunt for Michael, or have even followed the transfer of Michael Myers from the mental hospital to the penitentiary, and they could have documented the whole thing. That would have been cool. And, that’s what I thought they were there for. That is, until they were both brutally murdered in a gas station bathroom twenty minutes into the film.

And, that brings me to another point: gore does not equal horror. The original Halloween is scary without being gory. We don’t ever really see any blood. Yes, we see a knife in a person or see Michael Myers choke somebody, but there is no gore. That is not the case in this years Halloween. There’s gore all over the place and it’s all entirely unnecessary. Instead of trying to build up tension (as the original does), we just get smashed in heads and knives through throats.

The original Halloween gave us characters that we actually liked. Sure, we may not have liked all of them, but not once did we root for Michael Myers. I cannot say the same for this film. At one point, one of the teenage boy characters was so sleazy and creepy that I was actively rooting for him to be stabbed. The audience in the theater I was in clapped when he died. I wanted something bad to happen to Laurie’s daughter, Karen, because she seemed so uncaring and not understanding in the slightest. Of course, this could also be due to the fact that we never really got much back story into what Karen’s life was like growing up. From what I can tell, her mother taught her how to shoot a gun and fight. That’s it. Neither one of those things are particularly terrible or even warrant child services coming to take Karen away. We needed more. Maybe then I wouldn’t have felt so much hatred towards the character. But, unfortunately, we did not get that. And, as I said, I wanted something bad to happen to her, to teach her a lesson. Never should the audience be rooting for the crazed serial killer in a horror film. Never.

So many plot lines and characters were just dropped. It’s so frustrating. Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter, we never hear from her boyfriend again after the conflict in the school gym. The little boy that was being babysat just runs down the street, saying he’ll call the cops and then we never hear from him again. Ray, Karen’s husband, is killed in Laurie’s front yard and neither Karen nor Laurie really seemed bothered by it.

There are random civilians that are killed to try to scare the audience. This would have maybe worked, had literally all of those scenes not been shown in the trailers for the film. I’ve been sitting here trying to thing of any “scare” that wasn’t shown in a trailer, and I can’t think of a single one. That’s just poor trailer making. You do not use your best scenes or your scariest scenes to lure people into seeing the film. If you give those away before people have even bought tickets to the film, they are all going to leave disappointed.

I feel like this review has been scattered and, for that, I’m sorry. I just have a lot that I want to say about this film because it was such a large disappointment. I mean, it’s intended to rewrite the entire Halloween franchise timeline, and all we’ve ended up with is another Rob Zombie disaster. I still just have a lot of questions about Michael Myers and why he chooses to do certain things. Like, for example, why does he throw the jack-o-lantern that Dave made for Vicky into the fish tank in that kids room? (Watch for it. It’s there and it’s weird as hell) Why does he do the whole “ghost sheet” thing again? Why doesn’t he kill Dr. Sartain once the bus crashes but then later kills him when he’s driving the police car? At what age does Michael Myers not kill a child? Because he kills a kid who’s probably between the ages of 8 and 12 without hesitation, and then decides not to kill a baby in a crib about twenty minutes later. Where is the cut off in his mind?

Although, the biggest question I have doesn’t even involve Michael Myers. The biggest question I have is why doesn’t Laurie follow the bus to the penitentiary? This one is the most troublesome. They establish early on in the film that Laurie’s whole life has revolved around what happened to her that night in 1978. She has spent her whole life preparing, should he ever escape, and she has spent her whole life keeping tabs on him. So, she knows what time he’s being transferred. She sits outside the mental institution, waiting for the bus to leave. The bus leaves and she lets out the most heart-wrenching yell. And then, she just goes to dinner with her family? That doesn’t make any sense. They had already established that her whole life revolves around this guy. Why wouldn’t she make sure he was actually transferred to where he should be? Why wouldn’t she follow the bus? Also, who transports people that dangerous at 7 pm? It’s dark. That’s stupid. Anyway, Laurie could have been there when the bus crashed, could have followed Michael into Haddonfield and try to take him down in her old neighborhood. Now, that would have been cool. But, again, that is not the film we got.

My biggest frustration with this film is that all I wanted was to feel happiness and relief for Laurie. She’s been through so much, from the actual murdering of her friends to all the PTSD that followed. She deserved to be the one to kill him. She deserved to watch him die. But, surprise, she doesn’t watch him die. She assumes that he dies in her death trap of a house which is why, when the film ended, it was more like “oh, it’s over”. There was no feeling of triumph for the one character that we cared about. And, we only cared about her because another film established her character and made her likeable. Unlike the film she was in, where no other character was likeable, and we didn’t know enough about any of them to care if and when they died.

And, wouldn’t you know it, the studio had already ordered two more Halloween films before this one was even released. Because they want to franchise Michael Myers again. They won’t go with John Carpenter’s original intention with the films, to make an anthology series with a different horror film coming out each year under the name Halloween. And, do you know how I know they won’t do that? Because we didn’t see Michael Myers die. Which means that he is not dead. And that, my friends is Horror Movies 101.

I enjoyed the scenes with Jamie Lee Curtis. That I will say. It was nice to see her playing Laurie again. Although, I wish she would have been Laurie who was a combination of this one and the one from Halloween: H20. But, seeing Jamie Lee reprise the role of Laurie Strode was the only bright spot in an otherwise flat film.

2 thoughts on “Halloween (2018) Review: Laurie Strode Deserves Better

  1. “On top of not having a sole cohesive story that was fully fleshed out, we had two characters that only served the purpose of delivering exposition. ”

    That might actually be my biggest criticism of the film. I could kind of roll with the competing storylines and truly illogical turn for the new Loomis, but watching Michael bang the podcasters head into the door repeatedly and then strangle his co-host…I felt dirty. I felt like I was suddenly watching the Rob Zombie Halloween movie. It’s just so pointless. You kill one of them, not both (if you kill either of them at all), and then have the survivor return to town to warn everyone. Maybe even drop the new Loomis character entirely and use this survivor as the straw stirring the narrative drink. They know just as much about Michael as the doctor given all of their research.

    The problem elsewhere is they so clearly had two huge challenges they didn’t know how to get out of: First) How does Halloween make sense as a tension-building machine in a world in which all teenage girls have cell phones? Couldn’t Allyson just call for help or answer her damn phone when mom and grandma call? Second) How does Halloween, a story about a bogeyman killing people in the suburbs, work when Laurie now lives on the edge of town in an isolated compound? If Michael isn’t actually instinctively seeking her out the way he seemed to in the original and sequel, then how does he ended up at her house at the end?

    Oh, I know – Allyson’s BF throws her phone in dip at a party and she just leaves it there.

    Oh, I know – the doctor goes crazy and drives Michael – and Allyson – to Laurie’s!

    Just lazy.

    Liked by 1 person

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