Film Review: ‘Halloween’

First the trick: David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” sequel pretends like the last nine films in the franchise don’t exist, picking up 40 years after John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 slasher movie as if none of that other nonsense has ever happened. Now the treat: His take reunites Michael Myers (once again, it’s Nick Castle under the mask) with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the babysitter who got away, for a final confrontation — one they’ve both been anticipating all this time, but audiences had no reason to think they’d ever witness.

That makes this new “Halloween” an act of fan service disguised as a horror movie. The fact it works as both means that Green (who flirted with the idea of directing the “Suspiria” remake) has pulled off what he set out to do, tying up the mythology that Carpenter and company established, while delivering plenty of fresh suspense — and grisly-creative kills — for younger audiences who are buying into the “Halloween” brand without any real investment in Michael and Laurie’s unfinished business.

By contemporary horror standards, the original “Halloween” was actually quite tame, featuring just five (human) deaths, whereas this one more than triples the body count — and it does so with style, borrowing several of Carpenter’s classic devices (including a direct lift from the original’s famous first-person p.o.v. tracking shot for use as a flashback) before getting into the more prosthetic-heavy mayhem that follows. While Michael has been behind bars — a source of undying fascination for psychiatric doctor Sartain (“Winter Sleep” star Haluk Bilginer), AKA “the new Loomis” — Laurie has had time to prepare for his inevitable return, outfitting her house in the woods with all kinds of traps for when he shows up.

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