This sequel in the slasher horror franchise that launched Jamie Lee Curtis’s career in the late 70s feels like a loving homage, firmly rooted in its origins albeit with better gender (but not cultural) representation.
Three days early and with slasher films not really my favourite genre, the chance to see Jamie Lee Curtis kick monster ass as a powerful 60-year-old woman was too good an opportunity to miss.
Following on thematically from the 1978 original and bypassing the many sequels, the story begins with Laurie (Curtis) living an isolated and paranoid existence in a well-fortified house. Her obsession with protecting herself and her family from Michael Myers, long incarcerated in a psychiatric facility but still alive, has alienated her from her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichek). Myers (credited as being played by both James Jude Courtney and the original’s Nick Castle) is being transferred to another facility and, unsurprisingly, he escapes, setting in motion a gory killing spree.
Where the story goes is not all that surprisingly and, thankfully, it takes some time to build a premise and the characters. We all know what to expect but director David Gordon Green allows scenes to stretch out into wire-tight suspense before giving us the goods. There’s a little bit of humour to defuse tension but the film is mostly played straight and is all the better for it. The title cards use the original font and the music sounds straight out of the 70s but this is not a pastiche.
One noticeable difference between this one and the original (and other films of its ilk) is the representation of women and Laurie, Karen and Allyson are the core of the narrative arc. Allyson does a bit too much weeping and screaming but this is made up for by her mother and grandmother. Judy Greer has by far the best line in the film.
In an interview with Christina Radish on Collider, Curtis compares her different experiences as a 19-year-old and then 40 years later, “But Laurie Strode was the best part I had ever played because it was a full character, when I was 19 years old and the only thing a director or a costume designer would say to me was, “What size jeans do you wear?” I was a young, nubile girl, so it was just like, “Okay, put her in a cute pair of jeans,” and here was a part that actually had a character.”
“And now, here I am again, 40 fucking years later. It’s whack that I get a role that has this complexity and depth, when I don’t get that. I’m lucky to get a job anywhere, at my age, and here is a job that has real depth. Therefore, from the moment the movie began to a month after I finished, coming home with a cracked rib and beaten and bloodied, I couldn’t stop crying for a month, and I couldn’t stop crying, from the moment I walked on the set. I was isolated, I was away from my family, and all of it came back. It was very powerful.”
If you’re looking for old school thrills this Halloween, spend a couple of hours with Jamie Lee. She would be a good person to have by your side in a crisis.
Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.