It may be heresy to say, but David Gordon Green’s version of Halloween isn’t just better than the (overpraised) original, it’d work perfectly well if it were a standalone film that toyed with general slasher movie tropes rather than a continuation of a horror film saga. At the same time, the film also works exceptionally well as a follow-up to John Carpenter’s original, making references both explicit and subtle to appease even die-hard fans.
This balance between serving the fans (as evidenced by screams of recognition at the world premiere) and speaking to the uninitiated makes the movie work as well as it does. Green’s gift is to use precise cinematic craft to both pay homage to his heroes and make something new with the ingredients. His art-house-meets-pulp version of the franchise is particularly welcome.
Green co-wrote the script with Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride, writers known for their ribald comedies. They manage to inject a heightened sense of fun into the film, never letting it bog down in self-seriousness. On the other hand, this isn’t a farce. The gore and horror elements are fully exploited.
This is essentially a multi-generational revenge story, pitting the hunted against the hunter in quite enjoyable ways. Jamie Lee Curtis remains a force of nature, and everyone around her must bow to her presence on screen. The film plays out in pretty expected ways, but along the journey we’re treated to loads of Gothic and moody elements along with the darkly humorous parts.
Green’s Halloween is a blast, a veritable holiday treat that brings scares, thrills and a hell of a lot of fun to the party.