After the events in John Carpenter’s original, the police apprehended Michael Myers, and he’s spent the last forty years institutionalized. Laurie Strode, now bitter and grey, lives in a state of perpetual alert in an austere house/bunker outside Haddonfield, where she drills herself in marksmanship. She has an estranged daughter, Karen, and granddaughter, Allyson, who live in town.
During a prisoner transfer, Michael Myers once again escapes and returns to Haddonfield. There, he murders his way through Allyson’s teen friends before his inevitable confrontation with Laurie.
It’s an inspired bit of work that propels the franchise forward while retaining its best elements. On the surface, it presents a well-executed teen slasher, with a likable cast of charismatic victims, good dialogue, and a nice streak of black humor.
Carpenter returns as composer with his son Cody. They rework his iconic score with a modern touch to great effect. The dissonant cue when Allyson comes face-to-face with Michael packs a punch.
But beneath the teen slasher, co-writers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride craft a cynical story about small town life. Like the high school quarterback turned middle-aged bar-fly holding court for anyone who’ll listen about his glory days, Laurie proves stuck in the past. Those who grew up with H20’s version of Laurie as a successful but cautious private school dean may chafe at this less flattering characterization, but it worked for me.
Haddonfield is a small town, and small towns can prove hard to escape. After such a traumatic event, it makes sense that she would cling to familiarity and stay where she knows everyone and everyone knows her. But when everyone knows you as the victim, that characterization defines you. And so Laurie has spent forty years as Michael’s victim. Her preparations offer a sense of agency, but it’s a delusion. When Michael escapes and begins his murderous spree, he has nary a thought about Laurie. It’s the film’s most subversive and devastating moment. Plot machinations drive the two together, but the film’s exposé of small-town dynamics resonates. Well played.
- Yes, Texas Chainsaw 3D took a similar approach, but failed to resuscitate its franchise.↩
- Universal Studios, 2019↩