Review – The Shape returns this Halloween

Spooky season has come and gone and before we break out the Christmas lights and sing “All I want for Christmas is You”, let’s talk about the new Halloween movie. Yes, they are still making those movies. For all Halloween fans who are still recovering from the Rob Zombie reboot series or even from the films that came after Halloween 2; the new Halloween scraps all the previous reboots and continues the film from the original Halloween. The original scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis returns and even John Carpenter returns as a character writer with Maria Hill. Nick Castle also returns as the titular character, Michael Myers or the “Shape”. In the director’s chair is David Gordon Green who directed Pineapple Express (2008). Also new is writer Danny McBride (yes, you read that right) who starred in Pineapple Express.

Judy Greer plays her daughter and newcomer Andi Matichak plays Laurie’s granddaughter. She was purposely cast over popular actresses to go back to the roots of the first film which cast an unknown actress Jamie Lee Curtis as the lead. A new psychiatrist, Dr Sartian is tasked to look after Myers as Dr Sam Loomis from the original is presumably deceased.

The film follows Laurie Strode 40 years after the horrific Halloween night for which she survived the murder spree of Michael Myers.  She has become reclusive and suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder. She has been preparing her whole life for the return of Michael Myers ever since that fateful night 40 years. Myers is kept at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. However, he manages to escape while several patients are being transported on a bus by killing on the guards and fleeing in a stolen car.

The film has a sense of familiarity with its plot, characters, and shots. Some of the shots pay homage to the original film. When Laurie looks out the window in class, she sees Myers staring at her. In comparison, Laurie’s granddaughter sees her standing outside a classroom window, as a comedic homage to the original scene from 1978. Her granddaughter is a mirror image of the young woman she was 40 years ago. The music has a warm familiarity with a 21st century revamp as Carpenter who was the original creator of the famous eerie Halloween theme song updates it to fit the era now.

However, it is very much David Gordon Green’s film. Laurie Strode is no longer the same helpless survivor, she is now a hardened and resilient character that has taken her trauma and turned it into a plan to kill Myers. She won’t sit back anymore and let him kill her. With the comedic background from Green and McBride, there is comedic relief that gives the audience some comfort in the beginning. The film allows the audience to find comfort in the familiarity of the characters, plot, and comedic relief intentionally. It yanks away any comfort the audience feels in the climax of the film

The film does not exactly match up to the masterful film that Carpenter created 40 years ago. The original film popularized the slasher tropes of the 80’s such as the final girl and killing off promiscuous teens and substance abusers. However, it falls under criticism from feminists who deemed the film deeming to women as Laurie that argue she survives from pure luck instead of skill and needs to be saved by Dr Loomis.

The new Halloween does not match the brilliant simplicity that Carpenter created, but it succeeds nonetheless by bringing a sense of nostalgia from the original. One thing the film does manage to do is empower the generations of Strode women to solve their own problems and be their own heroes. With the addition of comedy and more gory death scenes, this sequel provides the closure with the Halloween series needs after the multiple reboots and sequels. 

Post by:

Jessi Law

Posted in Blog.