The wrath of Michael Myers, 40 years on

Aoibhín Meghen

The story that has inspired generations of slasher movies is back, but does it placate the fans rather than thrill them?

Halloween, a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher thriller by the same name, takes place 40 years after the Michael Myers Halloween night babysitter murders. Now he is back and it seems that he has a single mission, to kill the one girl who escaped from him all those years ago, Laurie Strode (Jamie-Lee Curtis).

This time however, Strode is ready for him.

Since that Halloween night, Micheal Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney), has been locked up in Smith’s Grove Sanatorium under the watchful eye of Dr. Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), but is now being transferred to a new facility. However, the transfer does not go as planned and when the bus crashes into a ditch, Myers manages to escape. Now the silent killer is loose allowing him to once again butcher the people of Haddonfield, Illinois.

Carpenter’s original film set the standard for what a classic slasher movie should be. There have been 11 instalments in the Halloween film franchise, including an entire remake of the original film in 2007, followed by its sequel in 2009. Although they have all been well received by horror fans, none have lived up to Carpenter’s chilling film, depicting Myers as less of a human and more of a vicious and efficient killing machine.

This adaptation, which entirely ignores any of its previous sequels, falls short in depicting the chilling efficiency and absolute dread which is so present in the original.

Green, however, manages to make Myers into a less predictable murderer. Over the years, the franchise created a painfully repetitive killer, out to massacre unruly teenagers, but not this time.

Halloween reminds audiences what a ruthless killer Myers truly is, slaughtering anything that comes across his path. He is completely devoid of emotion; an unstoppable killing machine. This is the true terror of Michael Myers.

The film will satisfy followers of the franchise, as Strode who has been tortured by that fateful Halloween night, finally gets her own revenge. Yet, the chilling fear, the kind that makes you hold your breath for fear of Myers hearing you, is missing. A lack of atmosphere, and the clear cut directing from Green, dulls the horror.

The real shining star in the film is Curtis, who reclaims her most iconic role as Laurie Strode. The first Halloween was Curtis’s feature film debut. She played the heroin of the story; young, innocent and entirely unprepared for the horrors of Myers’s butchery. This time around, Strode is a survivor who has taken matters into her own hands. She has spent the last 40 years preparing herself so that she would be ready for his return.

Curtis’s character has many dimensions, which is a very rare trait for a horror film. She is a badass woman, determined not to be a victim. Strode has trained herself to shoot, fight and wield a knife, however, you still get a glimpse of the young girl she used to be as she bears the scars of what happened to her all those years before.

There are a few troublesome moments in the movie. Strode’s granddaughter, Alyson and her high school friends presence only exists to serve as more victims for Myers,5 and Dr. Sartain’s storyline is borderline ridiculous.

Although this Halloween may not capture the horrific magic of the original, Curtis’s powerful performance of a victim’s empowerment, and the always chilling portrayal of Michael Myers makes it well worth the watch this Halloween.


Aoibhín Meghen
Image Credit: Variety