'Halloween': High on horror, low on emotional quotient (IANS Review, Rating: **1/2)
Film: "Halloween"; Director: David Gordon Green; Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner, Nick Castle, Mile Robbins; Rating: **1/2
Scary films have always been a part of the Halloween celebrations and director David Gordon Green somehow delivers a fitting sequel to the seminal 1978 original directed by John Carpenter. But this does not match the original.
Despite the lapse of 40 years, Green continues with the atmosphere of the 70s and it has several similarities to other horror films that the narrative fails to entice.
Set after the 1978 film which is now known as the "Babysitters Murders", the story begins with the serial killer Michael Myers in the lock up. He has not spoken a word to anyone over the years. We are introduced to him, when two journalists in the hope of extracting a serial style podcast out of the Myers' case, walk up to him in the recreational area of the prison.
Myers is chained to a concrete block in the chessboard-patterned flooring. Visually the graphic composition is arresting. And when the journalist pulls out a scarred mask out of a bag, every psychopath in the arena goes wild. But Myers is stoic. The dramatisation of the scene is forced and this sets the tempo of the narrative.
The narrative then shifts focus to Haddonfield, Illinois, where a psychologically scarred Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who was a survivor in the first edition, now lives in a secured house in a forested area with security gates and floodlights, thinks of little but the day Michael Myers would escape and come after her. But now she is scared not for herself but for her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak).
How the three women escape Michael Myers' clutches, forms the intrinsic part of the narrative.
The film has atmosphere and the tempo is built gradually.
Compared to John Carpenter's classic original, the script of this film lacks heft despite the amped-up pacing, dread and gore. The plot is one-dimensional, obtuse and exceedingly violent with a few petrifying horror-scares. It even turns Michael into a very creative sadist, pulling out people's teeth and turning them into human jack-o-lanterns. Here, he simply kills people without remorse or hesitation where as in the first edition, he did seem to have a reason or some sense of purpose.
On the performance front, Nick Castle as Michael Myers is perfunctory. With a stoic glare and mask for a visage, he ruins his chance of being credible with his gait. Now that he is 40 years older and was constantly chained, does not seem to affect his agility and reflexes.
Jamie Lee Curtis struggles to portray Laurie Strode and the fault lies with the script and production design. She is made to appear as the feisty woman ready to battle the villain, but when the moment does arrive, her attempts are like that of a novice.
Judy Greer and Andi Matichak as mother and daughter are convincing but with lack of meaningful scenes, they fail to elevate the sagging narrative.
Overall, the film will not disappoint horror fans and general audiences alike.
(Troy Ribeiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)