DVD Review: “Halloween”

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Universal Studios was kind enough to provide us an advanced copy of the Blu-ray + DVD “Halloween,” starring Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode. Check out our review of the product below and be sure to order yours by clicking on the icon below:

The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand will be available January 15th.

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Virginia Gardner
Genre: Horror
Director: David Gordon Green

Ultra 4K, Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Bonus extras include seven Deleted/extended scenes and the following features: “Back in Haddonfield: Making Halloween;” “The Original Scream Queen;” “The Sound of Fear;””Journey of the Mask;”” and, “The Legacy of Halloween.”

Rated R for violence, language, nudity and brief drug use

 

Fun fact: The original “Halloween,” slashed its way into pop culture 41 years ago. Yes, I was alive. No, I did not see it (then, I have since). As it happens, I was not old enough to drive and my mom would have never taken me to a horror film; I was a giant chicken and would have lost months of sleep. Regardless, I knew about “Halloween” because, seriously, everyone did. I easily recognized John Carpenter’s chilling score, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Myers, the mask… all of it because that’s how big the movie was back in the day. Forty-one years later, the movie is a classic and still relevant to the world of horror films. For all you young pups, the simplicity “Halloween” brought to the premise of slasher films, was what made it so scary. The bad guy was not just a bad guy in a mask but he was also IN THE HOUSE! The targets were typical teenagers most of whom died horribly while doing typical teenage things, like babysitting. Introducing extreme danger into this very normal backdrop was scary stuff. With that small bit of probably unnecessary background, I move on to my review. Before you read any farther… I almost feel like it is unnecessary to say SPOILERS AHEAD because I would be shocked if you didn’t know what to expect from this movie (and a review of said movie), but nonetheless… SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

The movie begins with a pair of intrepid investigative journalists visiting Michael in the institution where he’s been treated for the last 40 years. They are hoping to get him to talk so they can put his story, in his own words, on their podcast. They have obtained his mask and aren’t above using it to try to provoke a response from him when he refuses to talk. This turns out to be a bad idea, because while he remains silent, he later makes a point to find the couple to retrieve his property… I’ll leave you to wonder if this goes well for the journalists. Having nothing for their podcast they then go to Laurie Strode’s home to see if she will give them an exclusive. At this point we learn the effect that long-ago Halloween night long had on our heroine. While Laurie hasn’t been institutionalized, she has been in a prison of her own creating. She’s been twice divorced, lost custody of her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), has a drinking problem and lives alone in a house with greater perimeter protection than a military base. She is one Nervous Nelly. But also single-minded in her intent to be prepared for the next meeting she has with Michael, which she is sure will eventually come. Cut to one badly executed institutional transfer (on Halloween, of course!) and the escape of a crazy man with a penchant for killing and it is time to sit back and watch the slashing begin.

The “fun” of this movie is its familiarity. It does not veer to far off the original premise but it is updated to include an older, wiser Laurie, and her family. There is a nod to girl power, which I loved but also a nod to the strength of the family unit. We see faces we recognize and situations that still offer jumps and scares even though we know what is coming. Watching from home was enjoyable because I was able to loudly offer characters all my sage advice (“NO! Don’t go over there, get in the car and lock the doors!”), which, of course, they ignored (their bad).

“Halloween” was low on the fancy special effects we see in modern horror and high on more classic elements (such as music) to build feelings of suspense and trepidation. It was a terrific blending of 1980’s slasher horror with 2018 sensibilities (and yet still no one knows you don’t go check on the overturned bus in the middle of the deserted road). The movie was a continuation of the “Halloween” story but felt like an homage to the original. The storyline allowed for the introduction of new characters while not stealing anything from the anticipated Michael/Laurie confrontation that drives the entire movie. Seeing Curtis and others return to the screen added to that continuity and made the timespan between the two movies feel much shorter than 40 years.

The bonus extras were just as much fun as the movie itself. Part of the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray or DVD & Digital package is a slew of extras that you will want to watch. The deleted and extended scenes gave some more insight into the characters but what I enjoyed was just watching the actors at work in their craft as they expanded and riffed on the screenplay. Another bonus feature delves into how timing and other elements turned a modest movie into a horror classic. However, my favorite bonus feature depicted how the new movie score was created. It was fascinating how much work they put into giving this movie its own feeling and sound without losing any of the classic. All in all, I think that can be said about the entire movie.

For those of you who care: I counted a dozen or more kills (some graphic), a handful of jump scares (the very best kind) and 1 gratuitous boob shot (Hello 1980’s). There is some language and implied drug use. I won’t hand my teenagers this to watch (because of the violence mostly) but I also won’t fight them watching it on their own because it is far less intense than some of the current stuff out there. As always, you are the best judge of what you and your family can handle. However, if horror is your preferred genre, if you like a good slasher movie or if you dislike teenagers, THIS is the movie for you! For all those reasons (I have 3 teens, I can say that), I enjoyed it and I think you will too!