The Halloween franchise has come back with a unique take on the material 40 years after the original. Not simply another sequel to the long-running horror series, the new Halloween is a sequel to the original 1978 classic which ignores every other sequel that came before it. How well does this strategy work? Overall, pretty well. Our own Eric Eisenberg gave the film 4.5 stars out of five and says the film is both a worthy tribute, and a subversion, of the original.
For the most part, Eric's opinion is held by the majority of critics. As of this writing, Halloween is holding about an 86% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The vast majority of reviews hold that Halloween is a lean and mean slasher movie that takes what's great about the original and then takes it in a fresh direction. While few are saying it's quite as good as the first Halloween, it is being called a worthy successor. Empire Magazine is one of those singing its praises...
While Halloween is one of those franchises that, like it's iconic main character, never seems to die, few would argue that the existing sequels are particularly great, though they certainly have their moments. Unfortunately, those sequels have gotten so out of control over the years that really isn't a continuous continuity that makes sense.
This isn't even the first Halloween of its type. The movie called H2O , made two decades ago, had basically the same structure as this one, seeing an older Laurie Strode, played by a returning Jamie Lee Curtis, still trying to come to terms with the events of the original film. Most would agree that film missed the mark. It doesn't seem like this one did.
Gamespot says that while the new movie may ignore the sequels overall, the new Halloween takes all of the best bits from the history of the franchise in order to turn in something which fits perfectly alongside John Carpenter's original.
While the vast majority of reviews look like this, that's not to say that all of them do. There are a few who don't think the new Halloween is nearly as impressive. Forbes, for one, doesn't think that the screenplay of the new Halloween quite lives up to the performances in it, resulting in an uneven ride.
Frequently when we see critics diverge, it's because they focus on different aspects of a film that either worked really well or really didn't. Here, it seems like the exact same material was met with very different reactions. If you've been waiting to see what the new Halloween has to offer, then based simply on the percentages, it seems like there's a good chance you'll get what you want. However, there's a distinct possibility you might be disappointed yet again.