Halloween 2018 is a Garbage Movie

Of all the horror franchises, Halloween is perhaps the most curious because somehow, ever since the first movie it’s like no one can get it right. And while other franchises deteriorated over time–the Friday the 13th movies becoming so formulaic and awful they almost became parodies of themselves, the Nightmare on Elm Street movies becoming downright cartoonish–Halloween alone is locked in a continuous struggle with its own mediocrity.

Please note that from here on out I’m going to refer to the new movie as 2018, because it’s just insane to have a sequel with the exact same name as the original–and that’s only the first example of why this is a garbage movie. And if you would prefer to read about the original movie, you can find my review here

2018 is yet another attempt to put the series on the right footing. The series was already retconned in 1998’s Halloween H20, which erased all but the first two movies from its continuity. 2018 takes this even further: retconning the retcon so the only movie that matters is the original from 1978. In this timeline, Laurie Strode isn’t Michael’s sister anymore (an idea that never made sense anyway) and Michael has been locked in a mental institution for forty years–not on a relentless series of killing sprees. This gave 2018 a chance to return the series to its classic form: clever, scary, and unyielding.

Instead, they gave us yet another garbage Halloween movie. 

Halloween‘s Troubled History

Halloween, widely regarded as the first so-called slasher movie–igniting the horror movie craze that spawned imitators like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street–was never supposed to be a franchise. When the studio forced a sequel, creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill wanted it to be a conclusion so they could all move on. This is why Michael appears to die in a fire at the end  of Halloween 2 instead of the original’s more ambiguous ending–Carpenter and Hill were trying to say “enough is enough.”

Unfortunately, the sequel also added a twist that Halloween‘s final girl, Laurie Strode, was Michael’s sister–retconning the notion that Michael stalked Laurie and her friends out of the pure happenstance that Laurie showed up on his porch to drop off a key. Now it was personal, and the twist has always been problematic–like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. When Jamie Lee Curtis declined to return once the series got back to Michael in the fourth Halloween movie, they decided to have Michael menace Laurie’s daughter instead–turning Halloween into a twisted family saga.

If anything, Carpenter and Hill wanted a potential franchise to be a series of one-off stories under the same umbrella in the spirit of The Twilight ZoneHalloween 3: Season of the Witch is where Carpenter and Hill finally got to try that idea, meaning that it has absolutely nothing to do with Michael Myers or Laurie Strode. But it was a critical and commercial flop, confusing audiences and forcing the series to go running back to Michael. 

But Halloween never really recovered from that confusion, leaving Michael to be an also-ran compared to the movies that had imitated him. So for the twentieth anniversary, producers performed their first real retcon (second if you count the twist that Laurie was Michael’s sister) in Halloween H2O, and convinced Jamie Lee Curtis to return. Halloween was now the franchise doing the imitating–following the meta-horror movie formula Scream had made popular in the 90s. It’s an okay movie but a far cry from the original–and things got bad again real soon when Halloween Resurrection was forced to kill Laurie off (again), and tried to stay current by framing the story with a reality show doing a livestream from the Myers house on Halloween. 

That led to Rob Zombie’s infamous reboot, and the less said about that the better. Suffice it to say that Zombie completely misunderstood the Halloween ethos and his attempts to explain Michael Myers as an abused kid from a broken home were annoying. After his second Halloween movie, the series was put to rest once again until 2018 came along to celebrate the original film’s fortieth anniversary.

A Plot Rundown of Halloween 2018

We open with British podcasters Aaron and Dana arriving at the Smith’s Grove mental institution (the same place Michael escaped from in the original) to interview Michael Myers. They meet Myers’ new doctor, Dr. Sartain, who was a protege of Loomis (the doctor from the original movie). Myers is about to be transferred to another facility and Sartain isn’t happy about it–and we’ll find out why later. 

Michael is busy doing an outdoors Hannibal Lector thing, chained to the checkerboard courtyard with a yellow square painted around him to indicate the zone in which it is not safe to get closer. There are some other generic crazy patients out there, one with an umbrella who looks like a bizarro version of the Penguin for some reason. Aaron talks to Michael’s back instead of, you know, walking to the other side of the square to speak face to face, so we only see Michael’s back (fun fact: in the scenes where Michael isn’t doing stunts or wearing his mask, he’s played by Nick Castle, who hasn’t played Michael since the original). When Michael won’t respond, Aaron pulls out Michael’s old mask and goes full-on insane, telling Michael he knows he feels the mask’s presence (?) because it’s part of him (?) and imploring Michael to speak. Dude, he wore this mask one time in this timeline and it was forty years ago. You might as well tell him he has some weird spiritual connection to the clown mask he wore to kill his sister Judith. But here’s Aaron, screaming at Michael to “SAY SOMETHING!” and thrusting out the mask like it’s some kind of totem. Just as the music crescendoes, the director realizes he’s backed himself into a corner because, you know, Michael doesn’t speak, so he just cuts to the title card and a supremely crappy CGI jack o’lantern meant to invoke the original’s opening credits. It looks really shitty. 

Side note: this is not the only time someone in this movie will implore Michael to speak. What is the fixation with begging him to talk when he doesn’t talk???

Now the podcasters visit Laurie Strode at her isolated compound outside of Haddonfield. There’s a serious security system keeping this place locked down but Laurie lets them in after they promise her $3,000. Laurie is quickly onto the fact that these bullshit podcasters have no idea what they’re talking about or who they’re messing with (among other things, they’re clearly glorifying Michael and treating Laurie like a crazy person), so she gets that money and asks them to leave. This is interesting because that’s totally what would happen–we have a long history of mythologizing bad people, after all–but these podcasters are dumb and annoying and only here to present exposition and reintroduce Michael’s mask before paying for their idiocy by dying horribly. In that spirit, the point of this conversation is to catch us up on what Laurie’s been up to, which is a lot of nothing, but we do learn that she has a strained relationship with her daughter and granddaughter because her survivalist training had her daughter removed from her care by the state when she was 12–and Laurie was never able to regain custody.

Now, I like the idea of Laurie being a tormented soul after what happened to her but we’ve already been here in H2O, and it turns out H2O handled the idea a lot better. And since H2O is not that great a movie, that says a lot. Laurie being a survivalist is a cool twist but it’s going to turn out that the movie doesn’t do anything with that idea. 

Cut to Laurie’s daughter Karen, son-in-law Ray, and granddaughter Allyson, who live in Haddonfield proper (why would no one have, you know, moved away from this shithole town with so much bad history for them?). The only point of this scene is to establish that Allyson is an honor student who wants a better connection with her grandma while Karen passive aggressively avoids Laurie the best she can. This is actually one of the movie’s strengths: it doesn’t just look at how the events of the original movie impacted Laurie, it looks at the butterfly effect trauma has on subsequent generations. Each Strode woman deals with it in her own way. The Strode ladies are the real deal. If only the movie around them weren’t so goddamn shitty. 

Side note: does it seem weird to anyone else that Karen and Allyson both have the last name Strode? Wouldn’t Karen’s rejection of her mother and her trauma have led her to take her husband’s last name? And why does Allyson get her mother’s surname instead of her father’s? If it’s a feminist thing, I’m on board, but the movie never addresses it so we can probably assume it’s the lazy scriptwriter’s way of reminding you that these women are related. 

Allyson walks to school with her disposable friends Vicky and Dave, who only serve a purpose in this movie to provide exposition here and die later. They establish that Laurie is definitely not Michael’s sister, that was just a rumor some people started (I mean, why? How?).

Having finished setting exposition and reminding everyone of Laurie’s walks with her friends in the original, Allyson gets to school and meets up with her boyfriend, Cameron, and their weird friend, Oscar. Only one of these guys will be important later, and it’s not the one you’re thinking of. Cameron gives hints that he’s a douche here because he’s more excited about tomorrow’s Halloween dance than Allyson getting inducted into the National Honor Society and introducing him to her parents at dinner that night, but he goes back to being a blandly supportive boyfriend character when he actually meets her parents and crazy grandma (who goes on a drinking binge and won’t stop talking about Michael Myers and how she wants to kill him). Then, spoiler alert: at tomorrow’s dance, he gets caught kissing another girl and disappears. He literally only exists to be the plot device that removes Allyson’s cell phone from the movie, but we’ll get to that later. (Update: the internet tells me that Cameron may be the son of Lonnie, the bully who terrorized Tommy Doyle in the original Halloween but I haven’t bothered to fact check this because I don’t care)

Oh, and in case you were wondering why Laurie would want the $3,000 from the podcasters, she shows up at Laurie’s school in a scene meant to mimic her own English class scene from the original. It’s actually kind of cool how the movie puts twists on scenes from the original movie by putting Laurie in Michael’s spot, but again, when the rest of the movie is so shitty it ends up being a wasted idea. Allyson meets Laurie outside and Laurie insists she take the money. This also lets us know that she and her granddaughter have been meeting in secret because unlike her mother, Allyson is trying to reconcile the trauma that has plagued her family. 

It’s prison transfer time! At night? Why? Sartain insists on riding the bus with Michael even though it doesn’t make sense for him to go along, but we’ll find out why he goes later. Soon enough we’re in the car with a young boy and his surprisingly elderly father arguing because the son doesn’t want to hunt, he just wants to dance (no, really). They stumble on the prison bus in a ditch along the side of the highway and prisoners wandering loose everywhere and the father gets out to see if everyone is okay. Why in the ever-loving fuck would he do that?! The son calls 911 but when his father doesn’t come back, he gets out with his rifle to investigate. He finds a dying guard who tells him to run but he looks for his father on the bus first, accidentally shoots Sartain when Sartain literally jumps up out of nowhere like the boogeyman shouting “DON’T SHOOT” (maybe rethink how you approach jittery kids with guns, Sartain), and flees back to the car, where Michael pops out of the backseat and kills the poor dance-loving kid in a scene similar to Annie’s death in the original. And this is pretty fucking disturbing because kids are usually off-limits in horror movies. Sartain, however, is alive and in a coma.

The next day is finally fucking Halloween and the movie decides to remind us that Aaron and Dana are characters, so they’re filling up at a gas station when Michael parks alongside the service garage. How did he find them? Who the hell knows. (Update: I had forgotten completely that Aaron and Dana made an appearance at Judith Myers’ grave to record themselves doing the true crime podcast thing where they recap her murder with gruesome description, emphasizing her victimhood while doing more borderline hero worship on her killer. Michael was watching in the distance, meaning he could have followed them until they pulled into the gas station. Whatever. That scene was so dumb that I’m not surprised I forgot all about it). Aaron finds the attendant brutally murdered by having his jaw ripped off (?) and sees that the guy working in the service area has also been killed and stripped of his service station onesie. He runs to find Dana being terrorized by Michael with the attendant’s teeth (?) in the bathroom and both are brutally murdered before Michael goes back to the trunk of their car to retrieve his mask–completing his outfit from the original movie.

Laurie finds out about the escape and freaks Karen and Ray out by breaking into their house to show how lax their security is and wave a gun in their faces. This scene exists to show the ideological divide between Laurie and her daughter, Karen. Laurie believes in being prepared while Karen has done everything she can to believe that the world is a good place. Again, this is actually an interesting idea. But since Laurie is, you know, waving a gun at her son-in-law like a lunatic, she’s asked to leave. Also, since we all know Michael is coming back for them, Karen just looks naïve, making the whole debate far too one-sided to be fully interesting. 

It’s suddenly nighttime (seriously, at best it was mid-afternoon in the last scene so what happened to the last few hours?) and Michael goes on a random killing spree. First, he steals a hammer from a toolshed that was conveniently left open and sneaks into a house to bludgeon a woman to death with it. Then, he watches a woman through her window as she gets a call that Michael Myers is on the loose, then sneaks around to the back of the house and comes up behind her to stab her in the throat while she looks worriedly out the front window. Are we being meta again now? These women mean nothing to the plot, they are only there to add gore and numbers to the body count, which is shockingly high in this movie. Yes, like when he killed a fucking child earlier, it serves a purpose in making Michael look more dangerous, and I’ll concede that these scenes are well staged, but they’re still exploitative and unnecessary.

At the school dance, Allyson gets a phone call from Vicky, who’s not at the dance because the movie inexplicably feels like it needs to kill a babysitter. She’s watching Julian, who is a stereotypically sassy black kid but is also the best thing about the movie. In a callback to the original’s (mostly accidental) legacy in which the final girl must be pure of sin in order to survive, Vicky tells Allyson that Dave is coming over with weed later and she and Cameron should come, but this is pointless because Allyson seems to forget the invitation the moment she hangs up the phone. Maybe that’s because Cameron is kissing some girl in a slutty Halloween costume and then he totally tries to Donald Trump Allyson by telling her she didn’t see what she just saw. Laurie calls Allyson to warn her that Michael is on the loose (seriosuly, c’mon, movie, it’s been literally hours since Laurie was at Karen’s house–how could she only just be calling her granddaughter?), but Allyson doesn’t get the call because Cameron throws her phone in some ranch dip or something and Allyson storms off to walk home with Oscar trailing after her (remember him? No? Yeah, I didn’t either).

Side note: since Allyson and Cameron went to the Halloween dance as a gender-reversed Bonnie and Clyde, Allyson spends the rest of the movie wearing Clyde drag. Once she loses the tie and suspenders, her white collared shirt is vaguely reminiscent of Laurie’s outfit from the original movie’s finale. If the movie subverts scenes from the original by placing Laurie in Michael’s place, it also repeatedly puts Allyson in the Laurie role. 

Dave shows up at Julian’s house and Vicky proves that there’s just no way to keep your dignity when you have to say things like “you are so getting dry fucked later.” Just as they begin making out, Julian screams that he saw a man in the hallway. Vicky goes to investigate while Dave goes outside to make you think Michael is about to pop out and kill him when he walks around the laundry hanging in the yard (do people still do that?) and investigates the garage. Nope, the call really was coming from inside the house.

Even though it initially looks like Julian was having a bad dream, Vicky goes to close his closet door and it’s stuck on something. When she opens the door, Michael is there (this would have been a rock-solid jump scare if it hadn’t been spoiled by all the trailers that show it happening). Michael slashes Vicky on the arm and she pushes Julian out the bedroom door so they can both run away, but she trips for no good reason and tries to drag herself to the stairs. This leads to perhaps the movie’s most exploitative and disturbing kill because the whole business of Vicky grabbing the banister and trying to pull herself to safety while Michael drags her back is dragged out in an extremely unnecessary way. Plus, Julian keeps running back up the stairs to help, then running back down to safety. Finally, Julian decides to run and Michael brings the knife down into Vicky’s back several times, ending the scene.

Downstairs, Julian runs into Dave, who was coming to investigate the screams, and he warns Dave to run, too, before disappearing out of the house and the movie forever. Dave waffles, grabs a knife, and the movie cuts away so what happens to him will be mysterious (spoiler alert: it’s not).

Officer Hawkins, who has been investigating on the side this whole time, shows up at Julian’s house and finds Dave’s body stabbed into the wall through the neck (see? Not surprising at all). He also finds Vicky’s body upstairs covered with a sheet that’s had two eyeholes cut into it. Laurie arrives because she’s been listening on a police scanner and shoots at Michael through a second story window where he’s stalking Hawkins, but it turns out to be a mirror (?). Hawkins chases Michael outside but only manages to run into Laurie. Other cops show up with Sartain in tow (remember him? He’s awake!). Sartain is thrilled to meet Laurie Strode and identifies Hawkins as the first cop who arrived on the scene forty years ago and also the man who stopped Loomis from shooting Michael when he was apprehended. Laurie gets up in Hawkins’ face and tells him that she’s prayed every day that Michael would escape so she could kill him. Hawkins rather astutely points out that this was a terrible thing to pray for, especially given that they’re literally at a murder scene caused by Michael’s escape, but the movie cuts away rather than deal with the moral conundrum here–pretty symbolic of 2018‘s attitude toward any of its better attributes. 

Side note: are we supposed to believe that Michael randomly happened upon the house where Allyson’s bestie was babysitting? Or are we supposed to assume he knew exactly where he was going? If the former, it’s fucking lazy for the movie. If the latter, how the fuck would he know who Laurie’s granddaughter’s BFF is and where to find her when he’s been locked up and non-communicative for forty years? And don’t try to tell me that Sartain may have been feeding Michael intel about Laurie and her family in an effort to instigate something, because that’s another fucking absurd scenario (oh yeah, spoiler alert: Sartain has been up to no good this whole time). Oh, and on that note, while at this crime scene Sartain complains to Hawkins that he never got to see Michael “in the wild,” and says he would like to understand what Michael feels when he kills someone and no one seems to think that’s creepy. 

No one can find Allyson or get in touch with her, so Hawkins has officers take Laurie, Karen, and Ray out to Laurie’s house where they’ll be safe and holy shit, why is this happening?! I mean, why not the police station, dude? Doesn’t it seem like Michael might wander over to Laurie’s house at some point? There is so much that’s wrong with this plan that I don’t even know where to start. 

Side note: as you may have already anticipated, all the setup this movie did to insinuate that Laurie’s house is an impenetrable fortress with booby traps and such is useless because all that security will disappear into a gaping plot hole in a moment. 

Meanwhile, Allyson and Oscar take a shortcut through a yard with a creepy pointy metal gate and for some reason, Oscar decides to choose this moment to try to kiss Allyson, which grosses her out. Giving him the finger, she hops over the pointy metal gate and leaves him behind. Oscar notices Michael in the bushes (HOW DOES HE KEEP COINCIDENTALLY STUMBLING ON ALL OF ALLYSON’S FRIENDS?!), and gets stabbed as he tries to climb over the metal gate. Really? He didn’t use the pointy metal bars on the gate to kill this kid? Huh. That seemed like such a gimme.

Anyway, Allyson heard Oscar yelling so she runs back to find Oscar with his face impaled on the bars of the gate (there it is!), because I guess now Michael is into overkill. Michael gives chase in a scene reminiscent of Laurie’s desperate run for help when everyone in the surrounding houses ignored her, forcing her back inside Tommy Doyle’s house in the original–but this time a good Samaritan lets Allyson in and calls the cops. Nevermind that the callous way Laurie’s cries for help were ignored was one of the most lasting impressions the original made.

Hawkins and Sartain pick up Allyson and at first it seems like they’re taking her to Laurie’s house to join the others but it also seems like they’re joyriding and looking for Michael. They find him and Hawkins runs him down with the car despite Sartain’s protests. Hawkins gets out to finish the job with his gun, determined not to let Michael get away this time, but Sartain reveals a switchblade hidden in his pen and kills Hawkins. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS HAPPENING? Allyson is trapped in the back seat of the police car (of course), so she has to watch helplessly as Sartain tenderly touches Michael’s face and tells him he finally understands how it feels for Michael to kill, finally revealing that his fascination with Michael has been a lot more unseemly than it would first appear. He also puts on Michael’s mask (?) for a moment, freaking Allyson the fuck out because that’s fucking weird.

Since what Sartain has been up to is never adequately explained, I suppose we can assume that at a minimum, he caused (or helped cause) the bus accident that set this whole thing in motion. At most, you could assume that he fed Michael’s obsession with Laurie over the years and (as previously discussed) fed him information about Laurie and her family–but this vague idea doesn’t really make sense since Sartain had clearly never met Laurie before and let’s not forget that Michael is completely non-communicative despite all the inexplicable attempts to get him to talk. 

Sartain piles Michael into the backseat next to Allyson, tosses the mask in the middle, and announces that he plans to get them to Laurie’s house so he can see what happens when she and Michael face off again. Just before they arrive, Allyson cleverly uses Sartain’s obsession with communicating with Michael to distract him by claiming that Michael spoke to her after he killed Oscar, so he pulls the car over to demand that she tell him what Michael said, but uh oh! Allyson notices the mask is back on Michael’s face. He’s awake and she’s stuck in the back seat with him! Luckily, Michael is eyeing a different target at the moment and he smashes the divider between their seats into Sartain’s head, then somehow gets out of the car and throws Sartain to the ground. Sartain demands that Michael say something, but all he does is smash Sartain’s head into bloody pudding with his foot. WHY ARE PEOPLE SO OBSESSED WITH GETTING MICHAEL TO TALK IN THIS MOVIE?? Anyway, Allyson seizes the opportunity to run into the woods.

There are two cops stationed outside Laurie’s gate who banter about sandwiches as if this counts as character development and as if we don’t know they’re going to die within five minutes. Sure enough, they see Hawkins’ police car stopped in the road behind them so they go to investigate.

Inside the house, Laurie and Karen are attempting to reconcile their past as Karen is literally confronted with her childhood all around her in this survivalist camp of Laurie’s. Back in the main part of the house, Ray, (remember him?) sees the sandwich cop’s car pull up to the house and goes to investigate. Whatever happened to that hardcore gate we established in the beginning of the movie? I’m pretty sure it was closed during that sandwich conversation, so how is it so easy to get on her property? Wasn’t the whole idea that they would be safe here? Anyway, Ray finds the sandwich cops gruesomely murdered in the front seat. Like, the cop in the driver’s seat has his throat slashed open and a knife literally sticking out of his head. The other cop is just a hollowed-out head in his arms with a light shoved up the neck hole so he looks like a human jack o’lantern. This is really fucking twisted, but did Michael really just take the time to do all that? Is he the Martha Stewart of human Halloween decorations now?

Anyway, just as Ray is recoiling in horror, Michael comes up behind him and strangles him with a rusty windchime from the porch. This means we’re down to Michael and the Strode ladies now, so you know shit’s about to go down, son! 

Before dying, Ray did manage to make a noise to alert Laurie and Karen that Michael had arrived, so that’s something. Laurie hides Karen in the bunker underneath Laurie’s kitchen island that Karen has been calling a cage holding Laurie back emotionally the whole movie (she’s a psychologist, you know). Then Laurie stands next to the window in the front door like an idiot because Michael’s hand breaks through the glass and nearly chokes her to death before she successfully shoots off some of his fingers. Laurie retreats to hide in the bunker with Karen and suddenly the kitchen floor above them is really shoddily put together, allowing us to see Michael’s footsteps moving around above them between the floorboards. Laurie inexplicably tries to shoot him through the floor. WHY, LAURIE? Why would that work? Why would she risk giving away their hiding spot? Well, the latter point kind of makes sense later, but only kind of.

Laurie goes up to “finish” things with Michael, leaving Karen to hide. By the way, this house has security cameras everywhere but the only console to use them is in the kitchen–and no one ever thinks to use it anyway, so it’s just there for set design, really–just like literally everything about this supposedly secure compound.

Laurie searches the house the old fashioned way and as she clears rooms, she closes grates behind her so she’ll know those rooms stay clear. This is the only functional aspect of her survivalist lifestyle we’ll see in action. She finds Ray’s body stuffed into a closet in the second homage to the original’s closet scene–both happening within five minutes of each other. It’s kind of fun that once again Laurie is in the Michael role, on the outside of the closet this time, but the first time is a total MacGuffin and the second is just a token body reveal, so ultimately it doesn’t serve any purpose at all. 

Michael jumps out at Laurie while she’s investigating the mannequins that are inexplicably all over the room she’s in, they fight, and Michael throws Laurie off the balcony, mimicking Michael’s fall from Tommy Doyle’s balcony in the original. Laurie is even posed like him as she lies on the ground. Conveniently, at the same time Allyson stumbles onto Laurie’s firing range and screams because she’s freaked out by the mannequin targets Laurie uses (why are there mannequins everywhere?? And again, why is it so easy to sneak onto Laurie’s supposedly secure property??), causing Michael to look away long enough for Laurie to disappear–just like Michael did in the original. 

Allyson magically gets from the target range to the front door right at this moment. Entering the house, she calls out for Laurie and Karen, which Michael naturally finds intriguing and he starts off to meet her. Karen gets into protective Mama mode and leaves her hiding place, managing to get out of the bunker, grab Allyson, and get both of them back down into the bunker securely before Michael manages to just walk down the fucking stairs because time is a relative construct, I guess. 

Also, Karen’s movement out of the bunker and back makes it obvious that the kitchen floor is fucking tiled, so the shot of Laurie and Karen watching Michael walk above them through the floorboards earlier is even more ludicrous.

Anyway, Karen and Allyson are back in the bunker and somehow Michael knows the kitchen island is the door even though there’s no way he could know that since the kitchen has been out of his line of sight every time they’ve gone in or out of the bunker. He starts breaking the island down to get in and Karen reluctantly picks up a rifle from the bunker’s gun rack that has her initial’s carved into it from when she was a kid.

Michael manages to remove the counter, leaving Karen and Allyson cornered. Karen aims the gun at the entrance and waits for Michael to appear, but as the seconds tick by she suddenly seems to lose her nerve and cries out that she can’t do it, lowering the gun. Michael appears in the doorway and Karen reveals the helpless thing was just an act to get him to show himself, and she shoots Michael right in the head. Laurie reveals herself in the shadows behind Michael (what do you know, just like he did to her in the original), and grapples with him until he “accidentally” gets knocked down the stairs into the bunker. Karen and Allyson get up to the kitchen but Michael manages to grab Karen’s leg and attempts to drag her back down. Karen and Laurie fight back and both tell Allyson to run, but instead, Allyson grabs the knife Michael had dropped and stabs him several times so he’ll let go of Karen and fall back to the bunker floor. Credit where it’s due: all three Strode women are badass in their own way.

Laurie springs a trap that closes bars on the entrance to the bunker, and Karen reveals a twist to Allyson: the bunker isn’t a safe space, this whole time it’s been an elaborate trap. Laurie and Karen have been luring Michael down into it, which means Karen was willingly using herself as bait. The way Karen explains this is by saying that it isn’t a cage at all, which I suppose is intended to negate how Karen has been metaphorically talking about Laurie’s inability to leave the past the whole movie, but a cage is pretty similar to a trap in the sense they’re using since he’s now literally caged down there–and are we supposed to think Karen’s whole side of the ideological divide with her mother was a ruse the two were putting on for show? Also, has the plan been to use Karen as bait ever since she was a child? And is this why the compound appears to be secure but is actually super penetrable? NOTHING MAKES SENSE.

There’s no time to ponder the larger implications of this twist, however, because Laurie activates gas burners down in the bunker and tosses in a match, setting Michael (and the house) on fire. I suppose we should be thankful that she doesn’t do this with a cheesy one-liner.

The Strode women walk out to the isolated road, where a pick-up truck is conveniently passing by at that exact moment (OF COURSE), and they hitch a ride. This car’s appearance is such a deus ex machina that I was instantly suspicious of it. Was there going to be a twist about who was driving? Were they actually in danger all over again? Nope, we’re meant to take it seriously because the next shot is all three Strode women sitting together in the back of the pick-up looking tough as shit as the movie ends.

Why Is It Garbage?

Because they retconned the Halloween franchise again only to make it shitty all over again. There were so many poor decisions made in the creation of this movie. They make Laurie a survivalist so she’ll look tough but then they inexplicably make her compound easily compromised and reduce her survivalist skills to nothing to make the final fight more interesting. The characters who aren’t Strodes are useless and under-developed, and the reliance on gore and a high body count defies everything that made the original so great. Also, characters make confounding decisions again and again. And because what the fuck is the plot twist about Sartain even doing in this movie?!?!

To expand a bit, since in this timeline Laurie only survived the one night of terror it feels a touch extreme that she threw her whole life down the toilet so she could train for Michael in case he ever decided to come after her again. I mean, without any of the additional history the characters originally had, and without the familial connection between them, why would anyone be afraid that he would do that? Other than the fact that she survived, why would he wait forty years for revenge? The twist about Sartain would be a lazy way to explain this, so don’t @ me.

This movie also does a lot of work to set you up as if we’re seeing things that will come back or be important when people die later, but they don’t. In the scene where we meet him, Ray keeps fussing with mousetraps, but mousetraps will literally never be mentioned in the movie again. When we meet Allyson’s friends, Dave is super obsessed with fireworks, but again, this won’t actually be relevant later so why are we spending so much time on it? Neither thing works as character development so it’s just weird filler.

I don’t even know what to say about the Sartain thing because it’s just insane. And once the twist happens, it’s over, making it difficult to reason out why they even bothered. It seems clear that the movie doesn’t think of Sartain as anything other than a stand-in for Loomis (when she meets him, Laurie literally calls him the new Loomis) and as a plot device–but since it’s never clear what he’s doing, his meaning just sort of evaporates.

AND the whole business where people are so desperate to get Michael to talk is also bonkers. In my theater, people burst out laughing during the opening scene, when Aaron held out Michael’s mask and shouted “SAY SOMETHING!” only for it to cut to the opening credits.

The original Halloween was light on gore and had a low body count (at least compared to other horror movies). It also had realistic, likable characters. Debra Hill wrote the dialogue for Laurie and her friends Annie and Linda, and this female sensibility is a big reason why these characters were so memorable. You won’t find any of that here. It really makes you wish that they would hand the reins to a female writer and/or director if they’re going to insist on doing more Halloween movies. I would love to see this movie with a woman’s perspective in charge–and I would argue that the Strode women deserve nothing less. 

There are some good ideas at work in 2018 but the rest of the movie is so shitty that they get drowned out. Since I watched the movie, I’ve seen reviews that focus more on these clever attributes, so I guess I can see how others may enjoy this movie, but I really can’t get by all the problems. 

Finally, the emphasis on gore and body count may be on trend for horror movies since Halloween first came out, but it only emphasizes how out of touch this movie seems to be with its own history. For a movie that said it wanted to honor its origin, this is pretty troubling.

Long Story Short

They retconned the retcon of Halloween only to make yet another shitty Halloween movie. The characters suck and repeatedly make bad decisions purely for plot purposes. The twists are ludicrous, and the movie pretends to want to stay closer to the original even as it contradicts everything the original stood for.

Want more? Here’s why Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a garbage movie.

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