Student Feature: Roundtable Reviews of “Halloween (2018)”

Found below are three different perspectives of David Gordon Green’s 2018  horror film, Halloween. Reviews are written by Lewis University students Chanon Penvari, Lucas Mickelson, and Braden Bentley. 

*Spoilers ahead*

Chanon Penvari: Halloween (2018)

https://imdb.to/2QMOtpF

This film is not a remake film of Halloween (1978); instead, this is the story that takes place 40 years after. Since Michael Myers was first introduced in Halloween (1978), Myers has become one of the most iconic serial killers of all time. And, because Halloween’s (2018) timeline is 40 years after the first Halloween (1978), this means Michael Myers has killed five people, and it has been established that Laurie Strode and Michael Myers are not siblings. Michael Myers in Halloween (2018) is hungry for blood after being locked up in the hospital for 40 years.

Halloween (2018) utilizes many close-up shots to help make the viewer uncomfortable, and it also contains a long-take scene that is both thrilling and beautiful. In Halloween (1978), Myers’s signature act was standing still in the background, waiting patiently for the right time to kill. For this particular scene, the director, David Gordon Green, uses rack focus to increase the excitement for the viewer when they see Michael Myers blur in the background, then disappear.

One potential negative side of the film is that even though there is suspense throughout the film, some of the actions are predictable. There is not a lot of change between Halloween (1978) and Halloween (2018). Halloween (2018) consists of multiple scenes that do not always make narrative sense. For example, Laurie Strode has been preparing 40 years for this moment, but when its time to kill Michael, she chooses to burn him alive. I was expecting some more dramatic screen action such as a large explosion or even more physical interaction between Laurie and Michael.

That being said, a favorite scene from this film is the long-take. The camera movement uses a Steadycam to follow Michael’s movement. At one point, during this long-take, the camera goes the opposite direction of Michael to create a dramatic German Expression type shot, showing Michael’s shadow walking by and preparing for execution.

Lastly, many of the people who watch this film might assume Michael Myers has died from burning alive. However, I don’t think so, because post-credits when the music stops if you listen carefully to the background noise, you can hear Michael still breathing. So the big question remains–is Michael dead? We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

https://imdb.to/2OA5T6m

Lucas Mickelson: A Valiant Effort

David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018) is a revival of the fabled Halloween (1978) directed by John Carpenter. Attempting to follow such a distinguished film can be a daunting task, no doubt, and although Green made a valiant effort, I believe this film falls short of expectations. Green’s Halloween ignores all other sequels and presents us with a forty-year gap between the original and his version. As such, all of the tension and stress have been continuously bottled and building pressure. This creates some interesting character arcs specifically in Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who has been preparing for the inevitable showdown. Curtis’s performance is one of the few enjoyable aspects of the film, and I am glad they included the same actress with the character from the original. The tough female lead takes on Michael (played by Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) in a battle of wits on her part and overwhelming brute force from him.

Considering that these characters have been harboring feelings for more than forty years, the completion of their story arc should be astounding; and, without giving spoilers, the film falls short on this account. Acting aside, there are some other aspects that carried over from the original including repeated shots, similar lighting and atmosphere, and, my favorite, the same leitmotifs. The soundtrack is another saving grace of the film and Michael Simmonds utilizes it to great effect. Constantly keeping the audience on their toes, never sure when Michael is about to commit a murder as we follow a trail of twists and turns, sounds were used to exceptional effect throughout the film.

However, as much as I wanted to enjoy the film, it just felt too much like a cheap remake for me to be too impressed. Recycled shots and scenes, poor acting (save Curtis), and an unsatisfying ending were not enough for me and the expectation I came in with. 

https://imdb.to/2qt0yG5

Braden Bentley: Halloween (2018)

*Spoilers ahead*

Reviewing this film is somewhat of a challenge, considering it is a reboot of an old franchise. Do you look at the movie compared to the original, or as its own independent entity? Posing this challenge as a reviewer really puts in perspective the challenge that director David Gordon Green faced in making the film. To truly do the film justice, I think it must be examined in both lights.

The film itself is an excellent take on a classic slasher. Gore, action, suspense, and comedy all intertwine and balance each other perfectly. The monster, Michael Myers, is everything that he is meant to be: mysterious, omnipresent, and horrifying. Instead of taking the standard “damsel in distress” approach, Jamie Lee Curtis returns as a badass character. In one way, this becomes the point of the film. Dressing one of the strong female characters as a well-known male character (Clyde of Bonnie and Clyde) for Halloween communicates this message thoroughly. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) team up against the Shape, Michael Myers. The perspective into Laurie’s paranoia provides the film another element of horror that brings new life to the slasher brand. The score is a masterwork, putting a modern twist on one of the most famous movie films of all time.

In the context of a reboot, the film must be compared to the original. This is a difficult line to toe as it has been botched so many times it has become cliché. However, Halloween 2018 takes it in a brand-new direction. A completely new story is told, with a modern take and what is obviously a bigger budget. The lighting is more ominous, the pace is more modern, and the movie itself is much more entertaining than the original. While it tells a new story, David Gordon Green keeps all of the original motifs in the film. The jack-o-lanterns that foreshadow the demise of the characters are very obvious: one even sits in a fish tank. Michael’s theme music, that has been parodied so many times, still creates that feeling of tension and suspense. The most prolific homage to the original is in a scene where Michael knocks Laurie off a balcony onto the lawn. She seems defeated until Michael looks over the edge and sees that she has disappeared. This is exactly the way the original ends, with Michael being the one who disappears. The switching of the roles is everything that this movie updates. Laurie is the strong, resilient one who can’t seem to die.

Overall, Halloween is a great horror film. If this movie were made absent the original, I think it would be just as well-received. Not only is it a good movie, but it’s a rare example of a well-done reboot. Just enough nostalgia is left in the movie to inspire the many of us that loved the original. However, unlike so many other reboots, the film does not depend on this alone. It’s not a film made to play off the fanbase to make some easy money. It’s a new, refreshing movie that I recommend not only for horror fans but for moviegoers of all sorts.

Trailer
https://imdb.to/2sbsnTK

Bios:

Chanon Penvari

Chanon Penvari is a Flight Management major. He has had a passion for aviation since he was a child. His first time flying in a commercial aircraft inspired him to become a pilot. Movie and music have become a part of his life because they provide entertainment, relaxation and stress relief. In his free time, he usually plays guitar to relax his mind. What most people don’t know about him is that he’s from Thailand, and can read, write and speak Thai fluently.

 

 

 


Lucas Mickelson

Lucas Mickelson is a senior at Lewis University. He works part-time as a Certified Flight Instructor while finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Flight Management. Upon completion of his degree, he intends to pursue his Master’s degree here at Lewis before moving on to the regional airlines. In his personal life, he loves to spend his time doing any physical activity, whether that be weightlifting, running, hockey, rugby, hiking, biking, wakeboarding, etc.–you name it and he’s willing to try it. He also loves movies and will watch anything, with an emphasis on action and thrillers.

 


Braden Bentley is a senior at Lewis, majoring in Business Administration with a minor in 
Physics. He has played on the golf team at Lewis since his freshman year. After graduating, he plans to pursue a career as a professional golfer. In high school, he gained an interest in films when he was introduced to films directed by Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Francis Ford Coppola. Braden keeps a busy schedule, but in his downtime, he enjoys watching critically-acclaimed films and playing video games.

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