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Forty years after the events of the original Halloween, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) finally is able to confront her demon -- singular -- as David Gordon Green resurrects "The Shape" known as Michael Myers for a vicious, relentless and satisfying continuation of the battle between the unexplainable threat, and the survivor who keeps standing in his way.
As has been written about since production began, Halloween -- which just held its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival -- is positioning itself as a direct sequel to the original film, ignoring any continuity established by the Halloween sequels that followed in steady progression. (Yes, that means that Michael no longer is related to Laurie, a story beat that bothered several fans.) And director David Gordon Green proves to be a close study of original director John Carpenter, conjuring gory and unexpected kills and ratcheting up the tension as Michael Myers returns to his lethal ways on Halloween night.
This time, Laurie is prepared. She's practically John Rambo, having turned her forest hideaway into a training ground. The initial attack by Michael Myers has turned this once-meek schoolgirl into a prepared warrior, though her paranoia has cost her a normal life with a family. Twice-divorced, Laurie stays close with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), but has a strained relationship with her own daughter Karen (Judy Greer), due to the fact that Laurie always thought the Boogeyman was destined to come and get them.
Well, he is. Provoked by two podcast hosts investigating Michael Myers for a Serial-esque series, Michael breaks free from a hospital transport bus -- who in their right minds thought it wise to try and transport Myers ANYWHERE the night before Halloween? You had him in custody for 40 years. It couldn't wait one more week? Anyway, he's on the loose, and shedding innocent blood left and right.
The new Halloween is mean and nasty, and takes no prisoners with regards to its kills. David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride surpass the body count of Carpenter's original before Michael even reaches Haddonfield, and the kills are disturbingly brutal, involving hammers, head butts, long kitchen knives, boots, and much more.
If we're being totally honest, the best character in the new Halloween is a young boy named Julian (Jibrail Nantambu). He's being babysat by one of Allyson's friends, and he's the only character in the movie who seems to understand that he's in a horror film. He yells at characters who do dumb shit (and a lot of people do dumb shit in this movie). He predicts, accurately, who will die, and he knows where to look to spot the monsters that lurk. The movie is better whenever Julian is on the screen.
For the rest of the time, Halloween presents an updated Halloween, one that enhances the model established by Carpenter that doesn't look to reinvent any wheel, but instead to just do what it's supposed to do very well. Jamie Lee Curtis transforms Laurie into a credible badass, honed by her PTSD into a vigilante on a mission. Judy Greer gets a scene-stealing moment. And Green slips in some outstanding nods and visual cues to the original that had our Midnight audience howling with glee. If this is closure for the Halloween series, it goes out on a bloody bang.