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TIFF 2018: Halloween Is The Sequel You’ve Been Waiting 40 Years For

Who’s Behind It

Prolific, eclectic filmmaker David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Stronger) takes his first stab at horror—depending on how you classify 2004’s Undertow—after spending several years trying (and failing) to deliver a Suspiria remake. He also co-wrote the script with longtime collaborators Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley.

Who’s In It

Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her signature role (Laurie Strode), and Nick Castle once again dons the Michael Myers mask. They are joined onscreen by franchise newcomers Virginia Gardner, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, and Will Patton.

Who’ll Love It

Halloween fans who have been waiting 40 years for a sequel to re-capture the spirit of the original.  If Jamie Lee Curtis’ return in Halloween H20 left you disappointed and Rob Zombie’s grungy 2007 reboot left you wanting to take five showers, prepare for a much-needed course correction. Fans of director David Gordon Green’s absurdist sense of humour (seen in Pineapple Express, Eastbound & Down, and even some of his more serious works) will also be pleasantly surprised by the occasional comic relief.

What It’s About

Ignoring the events of all six sequels (Halloween III is unrelated, so that one doesn’t count), this new entry in the enduring franchise portrays Laurie Strode as a severely scarred victim of that bloody Halloween night in 1978. For the past four decades, she has been consumed by those events, alienating her daughter (Judy Greer) with her bizarre, obsessive behaviour. She has also put all kinds of time and effort into the inevitable rematch, even turning her own home into a tricked-out, Myers-fighting fortress. When a prison transfer goes terribly wrong and Myers finally comes looking for Laurie, she accepts the challenge—with a little help from her family.

Why You Should See It

Don’t trust any naysayers, David Gordon Green’s Halloween is a revelation, a rare sequel that captures the spirit of the original—and takes it to exciting new places. This is the first time since 1978 that a heavyweight auteur has been handed the reigns of the franchise and the result is a Halloween movie that finally delivers the confidence and assurance of a John Carpenter classic. While some fans may complain that Curtis isn’t given more to sink her teeth into, Halloween has never been well served by laboured character development. Since the beginning, this series has been at its best when embracing minimalism, restraint, and an attention to spooky detail. Green understands that, getting every aspect of the Halloween aesthetic—particularly Michael’s movements and menacing presence—exactly right.

Of course, this bare bones approach runs the risk of feeling simplistic, which may explain why Green occasionally complicates matters, tackling the central threat from many directions. (He also delivers some brutally impactful kills.) Complications notwithstanding, the result has an urgency and clarity only a filmmaker of Green’s skill could deliver. It should also be noted that composers John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies—the trio behind Carpenter’s recent string of Lost Themes albums—successfully build on their musical momentum, delivering a terrific score that perfectly encapsulates the film’s overall triumph: well-executed revivalism with plenty of fresh ideas.

When You Can See It

Halloween’s one-night-only engagement at TIFF’s Midnight Madness has come and gone, but you can see the film when it arrives in theatres on October 19. Check out the trailer below.