Monday, November 12, 2018
HALLOWEEN, directed by David Gordon Green, and starring Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, Haluk Bilginer as Dr. Sartain, Will Patton as Officer Hawkins.
HIDE AND SEEK
You come away from the new HALLOWEEN almost suffocated from two hours confined in safe rooms, crawl spaces, and cages; from two hours hiding and seeking in a dark tangle of Halloween tricks and treats.
Yes, here is another HALLOWEEN, or, more properly, a second take on the original John Carpenter classic from 1978. Improbably for some (including me), that original outing has spawned over the years a host of sequels and a plethora of copy-cat slasher films. Praise it or blame it, it’s a force that has come to be reckoned with.
Now, forty years later, Laurie Strode (Curtis) has turned her encounter with stalker, Michael Myers, into an obsession to kill him, should he ever escape the insane asylum that has housed him all this time. She has amassed an arsenal of weapons (which she proudly displays in a scene evocative of Travis Bickel’s weapons array), rigged her house with a basement saferoom and fitted out the rooms with cages, alarms, and booby-traps. Michael Myers has given her a Purpose in Life.
He has likewise given his psychiatric keeper, Dr. Sartain (Bilginer) a decades-long fascination with his charge that threatens to swamp his own identity to the point that, late in the movie, he actually dons Myer’s face mask in some weird sort of Brotherly Love. Watch him tenderly stroke Myer’s face and then don the mask. That’s the most disturbing scene in a movie that all too often lapses into just another collection of pop-up scares.
Another scene that pulled me out of my almost somnolent state also transpires late. That’s when director David Gordon Green baldly copies the most famous scene from the original film. I refer to the moment when Laurie has pushed Myers out a window onto the street below. When she takes a second look, the body has disappeared. It was a great moment, the instant that a physical horror transitioned to a transcendent evil. The new HALLOWEEN reverses the polarity: This time it’s Laurie who has been pushed by Myers out the window; and this time, it is Laurie who disappears upon a second look.
Now, both Predator and Prey have surpassed their mortal coils and belong to the ages.
At least, that’s about the best I can come up with regarding an only mildly interesting horror film.
Maybe the Final Horror is that David Gordon Green, a director capable of the wonderful George Washington, has come down from the sublime to the ridiculous.