Halloween Review Roundup

The Halloween series is one of the longest running and most successful franchises in horror. Nevertheless, it’s been nearly a decade since the last movie–Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2–and even longer since a movie that was well received by fans and critics. While Zombie’s two remake/reboots attempted to do something different with the series, for many, it was 1998’s Halloween: H20 that was last great Halloween movie.

Next month sees the release of a new film titled Halloween. This is a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 original and ignores all the sequels, remakes, and reboots in-between. It’s directed by acclaimed indie filmmaker David Gordon Green and co-written by comedian/actor Danny McBride, with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode from the first movie.

The film has already screened to critics at the Toronto International Film festival and the first reviews are in. So is this just another disappointing addition to the series, or have the filmmakers delivered something worthy of the title Halloween? Let’s take a look at the reviews…

GameSpot — no score

“Halloween doesn’t reinvent the wheel or create a new subgenre of horror. What it does is take the best parts of all the films in the franchise, and deliver the ultimate companion piece to Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece. It’s a film that not only has something to say about trauma and PTSD, but also delivers a bloody, fun time at the theater. Will Michael Myers return again? Who knows, but we sure as hell welcome him home.” — Rafael Motamayor [Full review]

Entertainment Weekly — B+

“A big, funny, scary, squishy, super-meta sequel that brings it all back to John Carpenter’s iconic 1978 original. The movie mostly works because it’s so fundamental, and funny too: Michael still never speaks; his mask and his slow, deadly, deliberate walk say everything they need to. At 59, Curtis seems to have fully arrived in her role as a midnight-madness queen, and she has a great time in jeans and a grey fright wig, swinging her shotgun around and screaming at everyone to get in the safe room.”–Leah Greenblatt [Full review]

Total Film — 3/5

“This humour, and the repeated allusions to the first film (including a couple of particularly satisfying reversals) suggest a film that’s intended to be whooped along to at midnight screenings, and the cracking final sequence ensures audiences will leave on a high. But given all that has been sacrificed to give this franchise a shot of redemption, the end result does feel flimsy and throwaway. The biggest disappointment in this belated sequel is how little new it does, feeling more like an homage than a narrative leap forward. There’s enough ambiguity in the ending to suggest further sequels could be on the way here, but on this evidence there’s not a lot left to be wrung from this well-worn franchise.”–Matt Maytum [Full review]

The Hollywood Reporter — no score

“Green has a good bit of fun with inside jokes and boundary-pushing kills (should we be laughing while that character we like is begging for her life?), and offers more than a couple of gleaming kitchen knives, before he starts pushing the action away from Haddonfield’s civilians and toward the woman who’s been planning for it. [This] kind of gig [was] hitherto reserved for J.J. Abrams and few others, it’s one Green fairly leaps into, delivering both fan service and honest-to-god moviemaking of the sort rarely seen in horror spinoffs.”– John DeFore [Full review]

Screencrush — 7/10

“Green serves up everything we love about the first Halloween, completely playing off our nostalgia for the slasher classic, and to me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He doesn’t try to mimic what Carpenter did with that movie–after all, no filmmaker can recreate the magic and brilliance of the first Halloween–but affectionately pays tribute to it with buckets of grisly violence, prickly tension, and snarky humor. Not all of it works–a lot of the scares are predictable, and there’s one very idiotic third act twist the film could do without–but the suspenseful finale leaves you on a high.”–E. Oliver Whitney [Full review]

Slant — 1 .5/4

“For all of the film’s attempts to get back to the sinisterly sidling Michael of the first Halloween, his stealth movements no longer terrify because his fixations are less unthinkingly instinctual, more compulsively mortal. It doesn’t help that Green has no evident flair for horror. The latest entry in the Halloween series was probably always a fool’s errand, yet its myriad failures are still shocking given the talent involved.”–Keith Uhlich [Full review]

Nerdist — 4/5

“Forty years after the original film’s release, Green, McBride, co-writer Jeff Fradley, and most importantly, star and big beating heart of the franchise Jamie Lee Curtis, made a film that’s a profoundly feminist re-examination of its psychology of trauma through its iconography. It’s also a rip-roaring slasher flick that’s hands down the best Halloween sequel ever. It’s everything in a Halloween film that inspires us to return, again and again, but the reversal, reimagining and reinterpretation of these elements is what truly thrills in this new iteration.”–Katie Walsh [Full review]

Indiewire — B-

“There’s no getting around some of the messy staging and clunky dialogue that keeps Halloween from reaching greater heights for the bulk of its running time. But Carpenter’s own Halloween was itself a bumpy ride, made on the cheap and carried along by the director’s firm grasp on his potent themes. The new one works overtime to keep them intact, while communing with the first instalment in every possible way–from that famously creepy synth score to the blocky orange credits that bookend the story. In an intriguing twist, Green has revisited this familiar turf less to exhume an old nightmare than to chart a path toward waking up from it.”–Eric Kohn [Full review]

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