Posts tagged with "slasher"

Halloween (2018) – A Crimson Screen Collectibles Film Review

by

Westley Smith

There is a lot to unpack in David Gordon Green’s Halloween, making it stand out from being just another run-of-the-mill sequel to the John Carpenter classic. From a strong story, to the deep character development of Laurie Strode, to the suspense and brutal kills, and the relentlessness of an absolutely terrifying Michael Myers, Halloween (2018) may be the most faithful to the original than any of the other sequels in that it hits on one key point and drives it home: Michael Myers is purely and simply…evil.

By erasing the sequels, including 1981s Halloween 2, Green and co-writer Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley started with a fresh slate, bringing the shape back to what made him scary forty years ago. In the original film, there was no motive for Michael’s decision to kill his sister, Judith Myers, and then go on a killing spree on Halloween Night fifteen years later; he just did. It wasn’t until Halloween 2 that we found out he and Laurie were brother and sister. Stripping the brother and sister angle away allowed Michael to return to his purest form of evil.

Picking up forty years after the events of the first film, Michael Myers is being held in a sanitarium, when two journalists come to meet with him, hoping to get him to speak to them about why he went on a murder spree in 1978. When unresponsive to their questions, his iconic mask is shown to him as motivation, unleashing the dormant evil inside.

Green pays homage to Carpenter’s film in feel and tone, but makes Halloween (2018) his own while at the same time not totally distancing themselves from the other sequels either.

The opening credits, which are exactly like the 1978 film but with a twist: this time the Jack O’ Lantern is flat and begins to reform as the updated Halloween Theme plays, setting the tone that Michael is coming back. For keen viewers of the franchise, there are elements from almost every Halloween sequel peppered throughout the film: the garage killing from Halloween 4. The knife steeling from Halloween 2. The bathroom scene from Halloween: H20 or Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboot.

Even though Green and CO. throw these scenes in their movie, they don’t feel like a rehashing of material, but honor them in a way that feels fresh and updated, also as a wink to the audience that they too have seen all these films in the series and they’re not trying to totally do away

with them

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Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the role that started her career and plays Laurie as a completely broken woman, whose traumatic encounter with Michael left her mentally scarred and unable to function like a normal person for the last forty years. She has become a survivalist, locking herself away in her home, complete with a safe room loaded with guns.

Curtis as Laurie Strode is a more broken character than what she was in Halloween: H20. Where in H20 Laurie had somewhat moved on, changed her name, moved to another state, when finally her past caught up with her and she was forced to face it. Here Laurie is consumed, even at the expense of her family, with making sure Michael Myers stays behind bars, but secretly prays that Michael gets loose and comes after her – so she can kill him once and for all.

Green keeps the tension of the film tight for almost the entire one hour and forty-five minute runtime, only letting a few moments of comic relief in to break that tension, allowing a deep sense of foreboding dread to build until the final showdown between Laurie and Michael.

John Carpenter’s score (along with his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies) may be the best score of Carpenter’s career. With the re-tooling of the original Halloween theme and cues, giving the score a more metal/rock vibe helps set Halloween’s (2018) tone apart from its predecessor and lets the audience know it’s going to be a more intense ride.

While Halloween (2018) has sufficient amount of subtext to please older fans of the series, with callbacks and homages to the original series, there is also enough innovative material to make it feel fresh and scary to a whole new generation of fans.

9 of out 10 Stars

The Strangers: Prey at Night (Review)

By

Westley Smith

The Strangers: Prey at Night finally arrived in theaters a decade after the original film.

Not a lot has changed since the first movie and The Strangers: Prey at Night pretty much follows the same formula set up in the first film.

Cindy and Mike (Christina Hicks and Martin Henderson) along with their son, Luke, (Lewis Pullman) are taking their daughter, Kinsey (Bailee Madison) to a boarding school, after several incidences with her behavior has landed her in hot water. While heading to their destination, they plan to spend the night at Cindy’s uncle's place at Gatlan Lake, a small community of trailers that during the fall becomes completely vacant, except for the owners. But little does the family know that the Strangers have already made Gatlan Lake their next hunting ground.

Leading up to the family arriving at Gatlan is the normal character development we’ve seen in most horror movies of this kind. In this case, character development is put on the back burner for more suspense and tension. There really isn't much time given to the characters or their motives other than to establish the basic fundamentals for the plot to unfold and to get the ball going and for the blood to start flowing.

This is the films biggest problem.  With little to no character development, leaves the viewer unable to become invested in these people, and when the tension is amped up, and their lives are on the line, you don’t really feel all that invested in their safety because the characters are so flat and generic.

That isn’t to say the film is bad just because of the weak characters. It is a rather well-crafted horror/thriller that had plenty in the bag when it came to the scares and suspense. The setting in the community was fun, expanding the idea of the first film of just two people locked inside of a house to a deserted community filled with multiple trailers, playgrounds, and cars to trap and terrorize their victims.

Johannes Roberts direction was creepy and stylish, crafting several nail biting scenes that were as unnerving as they were bloody. One can tell his love for the slasher flicks of the 1970s and 1980s, using shots (techniques that are rarely used now days) from movies of that era, giving the film a retro throwback vibe. He keeps the tension high, the atmosphere dark and dreary, while supplying some fantastic jump scares in the process.

Speaking of retro. The soundtrack by Adrian Johnston is worthy of noting, with a stylish synth score that paired well with the Roberts style of filmmaking.

The film never feels slow or boring, and at a runtime of just one hour and twenty-five minutes, you get what you paid for: to see the Stranger stalk, hunt, prey, and murder their victims.

The Strangers: Prey at Night is a worthy successor to the original, even if the characters were a little underdeveloped, but it’s still a fun, stylish horror/thriller that should please most fans of the genre.

8 out of 10 Stars

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