‘Halloween’ reboot offers the expected thrills and chills

Published Oct 28, 2018 at 9:00am

What do you think of when you hear that Hollywood has made another “Halloween” movie?

There. That’s exactly what you can expect from the new “Halloween” movie.

Do you recall the thrills and chills of your youth, when slasher icon Michael Myers stalked and stabbed his terrified victims? Then that’s what you’ll get in the new film, which creates a tense and spooky atmosphere around the relentless killing machine.

Or do you groan at how crass it is to churn out another one of these things? The movie is that, too. A standard, unoriginal slasher flick that has nothing new or original to say, relying only on nostalgia and a familiar name brand to sell its movie.

Or maybe you have no thoughts, because you don’t care at all about the “Halloween” franchise. That is also a valid response.

The new “Halloween” is pretty much exactly what you expect it to be, no more and no less. Maybe that’s all you want from a horror film in the build-up to Halloween. If that’s the case, then you’re in luck, because the new “Halloween” delivers the death, gore, jump scares and suspense of a professionally made, modern slasher flick.

Just don’t go in expecting the horror film to end all horror films.

“Halloween” is about a silent, masked serial killer named Michael Myers who goes around stabbing people to death. There’s no gimmick, there’s no catch, there’s no trick. He just likes to kill people. You can run and you can hide, but his relentless determination and sharp, pointy knife will get you eventually.

Unless you’re Laurie Strode, played again by Jamie Lee Curtis. The icon returns to a role she played as a teenager, this time as a paranoid grandmother, whose version of doomsday prepping is all about making sure she and her family will be protected the next time Michael Myers escapes and goes on a new rampage.

And he does, because that’s the movie. A tense, scary, slowly-building showdown between Michael Myers and Jamie Lee Curtis, hoping to thrill fans of the original all over again. It’s definitely a well-made slasher film, with plenty of gruesome kills and some humor to
balance out the spookiness. But if it didn’t have that familiar franchise name, it wouldn’t be nearly as popular.

The best way to understand the new “Halloween” — if you’re looking to understand it at all, instead of just watching and enjoying — is to take a look at the franchise as a whole and the new film’s place in it.

The new film is the 11th in the franchise, and it’s the third attempt to reboot or remake the movies. Sometimes Jamie Lee Curtis is involved, and sometimes she’s not. Sometimes she’s Michael Myers’ sister, and sometimes she’s not. Sometimes she’s dead, and sometimes she’s not. Sometimes Michael Myers has supernatural powers courtesy of a druid curse, but most of the time he does not.

This is a franchise that has been chopped up, rebooted, picked apart and reassembled time and time again over the past 40 years, all because movie studios love a good, familiar name brand. If the 59-year-old Curtis is still making movies another 20 years from now, no doubt some studio executive is going to offer her a bunch of money to appear in yet another “Halloween” reboot.

You can run and you can hide, but the relentless determination of Hollywood to capitalize on any familiar brand name will get you eventually.