REVIEW: Halloween 2018

Part of the reason for a late entry behind the slew of reviews for the recently released Halloween (2018) is because I was partial to the idea of seeing the film multiple times before I found it necessary.

And see it multiple times, I did. Twice, to be exact.

I would have watched a third time, but I didn’t have anyone to grab onto or bury my face in. I was too exposed. If you know me and my affinity for slasher flicks, you’d also know that I am terribly afraid while watching them 100% of the time.

This time was no different. My first encounter with the stone-faced psychopath was sometime in the 1990s, when I was way more fragile and impressionable, but ran toward the things I feared with curiosity. There, on my screen, stood a jumpsuit-clad Michael Myers, machinal in movement and completely silent. Yet, his stature and overall presence elicited that of extreme caution.

Photo Credit: Toronto Film Festival

“The Boogeyman” was an alias within the film’s diegesis, a name I’ve later come to understand was intentional rather than subsequent. The actual Boogeyman is a mythical creature who, across cultures, has no specific physical appearance, but has been used as a fear tactic for children to display good behavior. In Haddonfield, Illinois, however, children knew exactly what the Boogeyman looked like.

Michael Myers rides the fine line between reckless and calculated. He has an M.O.: Laurie Strode, though leaving a trail of carnage on his warpath, he has clearly always been on the hunt for her.

And this time, Laurie has been waiting for him. The new Halloween ignores all continuity in the film’s franchise except the first film, which is a bit refreshing considering the numerous twists and turns since John Carpenter’s 1978 release. Here, we have an unhinged badass who wears her age (and her stress) in total isolation. While back at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, one Michael Myers, though also in total isolation, stands tall and statuesque and harboring immense dark energy and unimaginable strength.

They share a space on the spectrum of total madness, both riddled with an unhealthy obsession for one another. For Laurie, we understand her strategy of survival: kill or be killed. For Michael, a vessel of what most would describe as “pure evil”, his apparent lack of conscious paired with his ability to gruesomely dismember victims with his bare hands only leaves him one option: kill. In that same vein of conversation, Michael Myers is void of subconscious as well. In fact, he’s a walking, non-talking id, a pure manifestation of his innate ability to process and act on impulse.

The two glimpses of any remaining humanity left in the soul of Myers as seen in the latest film are 1) the choice to not murder an infant in its crib and 2) the ability to maintain focus on Strode as his main target.

As any slasher flick is composed, Halloween has its moments of relief, both comic and romantic, but it gets down to business. Strode and Myers face off in the home where Strode stood waiting for the Boogeyman’s return, and with the help of Strode’s lineage (daughter and granddaughter), she managed to cage the beast in a booby trapped basement and burn him alive.

Considering the natural order of how things work in the world of Michael Myers, we can suspect going up in flames won’t be the end of this famed madman. We’ve seen time and time again how he can take more than the average human being while maintaining the strength of 100 men.

We may have witnessed the end of this saga. We may have not. But one thing’s for sure.

Everyone’s afraid of the Boogeyman.