DirectorDavid Gordon Green
Release Date(s)2018 (January 15, 2019)
Studio(s)Miramax/Blumhouse Productions/Malek Akkad Productions (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C-
The detractors who were out for David Gordon Green’s sequel reboot of Halloween waited in anticipation of the film’s failure all the way up until it dropped in October of 2018. It was a radical idea: to ignore all of the sequels and reboots of the original Halloween and continue where it left off, exploring the life of Laurie Strode and how it affected her and her family. It was really the only way to go other than to completely reboot it from scratch.
I went into this iteration of Halloween lore with plenty of trepidation, as did many other fans. There were also some modern filmgoers who weren’t necessarily fans that went into it not understanding what the approach was, which caused some confusion, but thankfully there wasn’t enough of it to really matter. The film still managed to outgross pretty much every horror film than came before it and revitalized a franchise in a way that was thought to be impossible. On top of that, there was a dynamite performance from Jamie Lee Curtis, excellent suspense set pieces, and plenty of scares to thrill audiences. Indeed, I can fondly remember feeling the electricity running through the audience during some pretty gripping moments throughout the film.
Above all else, Halloween (2018) was also an opportunity for Blumhouse to welcome John Carpenter back into the Halloween fold. He had all but sworn off the franchise after the initial failure of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and rights owners Moustapha and Malek Akkad took the reins up on it and made 5 more sequels, a remake, and its sequel. So having John Carpenter’s involvement, at least to some extent, showed promise for the film’s chances. Even better, he was also hired to score it, and for my money, created one of the best horror film scores in decades.
The downside to all of this is the sometimes problematical script. Watching the film for the first time, I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I kept running into things that wound up taking me out of it to the point that it took me a bit to get back into it. Chief among them is a plot twist somewhere past the midway point. For those who’ve seen the film, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It doesn’t help that there’s some fairly atrocious dialogue exchanges later in the film as well, including a moment when I rolled my eyes so hard that they nearly fell out of the back of my head.
So Halloween (2018) is not a perfect film, and I didn’t walk into it expecting it to be one. What I wanted was an effective horror film that acted as a nice continuation without destroying what came before it, like its previous sequels had done, and that’s what I got. There are certainly plenty of great moments with Michael Myers and Laurie Strode that make the effort more than worth it. I wish some of the script’s problems could have been ironed out (despite the filmmakers’ defense of them), but as it, it’s fairly solid. It would also be nice if it were conclusive, but looking at the box office returns, I’m not naive enough to believe that to be a possibility.
Universal’s Blu-ray presentation of the film offers a mostly satisfying high definition experience. The film was shot digitally, which for me goes against the aesthetic and continuity of the original, which was and is such a solid film-based experience. However, nothing is compromised with the new film’s presentation as it’s first rate. Deep, inky black levels are complimented by impressive shadow detail, despite a minor lack of depth due to the format it was shot on. Overall contrast and brightness is satisfying and there’s no apparent issues with the encode. The color palette is lovely, with a variety of hues at times, such as the high school Halloween party, but also the deep, juicy reds of blood which are seen in a variety of environments and never falter. Everything appears sharp, crisp, and well-defined. In other words, a problem-free presentation.
The audio selection comes with several options, including an English DTS-X track, Spanish and French 5.1 DTS-HD tracks, and an English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service track. Optional subtitles are also available in English SDH, Spanish, and French. The DTS-X track is a cracking good sound experience, with effective sound effects popping up all over the soundstage; whether it’s a speeding car or a murder in progress, it gives the foley and on-set aural activity excellent clarity. Dialogue is well-prioritized, as is Carpenter’s fantastic score, and ambient and low frequency moments are frequent. Like its video counterpart, there’s nothing worth complaint.
Unfortunately, the extras don’t really offer a substantial behind the scenes experience. There are 7 deleted and extended scenes, most of which would add nothing to the final narrative and are better left out of the film: Extended Shooting Range - Deleted Suicide Thoughts, Shower Mask Visit, Jog to a Hanging Dog, Allyson and Friends at School, Cameron and Cops Don’t Mix, Deluxe Banh Mi Cops, and Sartain and Hawkins Ride Along. We do get an answer as to what exactly became of Allyson’s boyfriend Cameron after their break-up, which is less interesting than what I would have expected.
The rest of the bonus material is mainly fluff pieces, including the 6-minute Back in Haddonfield: Making Halloween, the 3-minute The Original Scream Queen, the 3-minute The Sound of Fear, the 3-minute Journey of the Mask, and the 5-minute The Legacy of Halloween. None of this material really educates, but we do get glimpses of John Carpenter recording the film’s score, which to be honest, was the most exciting bit for me. The disc also opens with a set of trailers for Glass, The Little Stranger, and The First Purge, which are optionally skippable. The rest of the package consists of a DVD copy and a paper insert with a Digital Copy code for the film.
Halloween (2018) contains moments that are some of the best in the entire franchise, but the minor things sometimes become major things, depending on who you ask. Overall though, I was pleased with the results and I believe that the filmmakers had a sincere interest in making an effective horror film, and they succeeded. The Blu-ray experience is lacking in the bonus content arena, but the A/V portion of the disc is unsurprisingly solid.
– Tim Salmons