By the eleventh instalment, you might think there wouldn’t be much left to wring out of the blood-stained bed sheets of this franchise. But just like the police officers who decided to transport the infamous “babysitter murderer” in a flimsy prison transport bus, you’d be underestimating the enduring power of even an ageing Michael Myers.
The plot, which we can rattle through in less time than it takes the killer to rack up a double-digit body count, is as follows. This direct sequel to the original is set exactly 40 years after the events of that fateful night. Myers has been locked up in a mental institution for that time, while survivor of the original film Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been busy locking herself and her family up in a mental prison of her own paranoia. When Myers escapes, though, her preparation suddenly gets a whole lot more useful.
This is a sequel that stays true to its original themes as well as its simple story, satirising the commercialism of Halloween which allows a murderer of America’s own making to march freely among them. The way in which grief cascades down the generations of a family, like blood dripping through a floorboard, is neatly explored too. And it wouldn’t be a serial killer movie without an obsessive doctor whose interest in his patient might have crossed the line of detached scientific study. This 2018 incarnation targets the gruesome preoccupation of the millennial generation too, as true crime podcasters come under the spotlight. The (inevitably British) pair of grief-mongers pontificating mawkishly over a grave are “unsubscribed” from this life at the hands of Myers.
The whole thing is stylishly done, too, avoiding over-reliance on cheap jump scares that are the scourge of many modern horror films. Unevenly paced scenes – often cleverly shot through with humour to throw the audience off balance – ensure a genuine suspense throughout. Let down only by its slightly clichéd ending(s), this movie is as good as the eleventh instalment in an increasingly pulpy horror franchise has any right to be.
Halloween is released nationwide on 19th October 2018.
Watch the trailer for Halloween here: