'Halloween' movie review: An oldie, but a goodie

WATCH: 'Halloween' trailer

Horror movie reboots are, for the most part, poor renditions of what came before. It’s difficult to capture the original magic of bygone eras, and in this case, Halloween, one of the most popular movies in the genre, was released in the late 1970s, roundly considered a golden age of horror.

2018’s Halloween is an interesting venture because it somehow manages to retain its old-timey feeling while modernizing its fare. From the starting credits to the abrupt ending shot, the movie is reminiscent of the original’s feel, style and creeping haunt. Jamie Lee Curtis, who played Michael Myers’ elusive victim Laurie Strode in 1978, reprises the role of Laurie Strode here, and that helps with the familiarity. It also serves to titillate horror buffs.

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Is this a carbon copy of the original films?

What’s fascinating is the structure of the movie is almost like an overlay from 1978. Things like the credits font, the music, the Michael Myers mask, the creepy feel and the slow burn of the original Halloween movies are the same. What’s different is the plot: rather than the simplistic formula of Myers murdering lusty, drug-using teens one after the other, this time around Laurie is out for vengeance after 40 years of coping. She’s got a plan to get rid of Myers once and for all.

Is it slow like the 1978 original?

There’s no way modern horror can ever revert to the slowpoke pacing of ’70s horror — audiences wouldn’t be able to tolerate it. That said, this version of Halloween is slower than most, especially in the first half. It’s a slow burn, meant to build anticipation. Its brief running time (1:44), acceptable for horror, is also its saving grace. One impressive feat of the film is finding so many extraneous people to off in disgusting ways.

Are there Easter eggs or other fun things for fans?

Yes, many that I won’t spoil here. One minor throwback to the original is a lot of nameless victims are killed by Myers in the background, a clever and tantalizing cinematic move. You can’t quite see him do it in some instances, but you know what’s happening. There are also countless funny moments — some intentional, some not, I’m afraid — and the inherent stupidity of horror-movie characters. People in the theatre were yelling out “No!” and “Why would you ever run into the woods?!” Par for the course.

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But is it scary?

It may have been the audience in the theatre, but while this version of Halloween has some suspenseful moments and some gory surprises, it’s not exactly horror-scary. Blumhouse Productions tends to put out horror movies with a strong vein of humour running through them. Here, the comedy takes the front seat despite the seriousness of Laurie’s past (and current) traumas and the sadistic nature of Myers’ crimes, which is unfortunate because there’s a scary movie underneath all the jokes and implausible human behaviour.

So what’s the bottom line?

At once a tribute to the classic horror and a new take on the story, Halloween is a fun romp. Blumhouse’s comedic approach, paired with the nostalgia of horror’s yesteryear, make this a surefire hit before the spooky holiday.

‘Halloween’ is now playing in theatres across Canada.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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