A promising (re)start
David Gordon Green's Halloween is the second major retcon of the Halloween franchise, picking up 40 years after the original Halloween & ignoring parts 2-10. Well, ignoring may be too strong a word. The truth is that DGG's Halloween is more of a stand-in for the previous sequels. It includes some story ideas & excludes others, primarily setting the stage for Halloween Kills & Halloween Ends. More than anything, it's a re-make of Halloween H20. Except this time Michael's not Laurie's brother. Instead, his obsession began the moment he saw her & Tommy at the Myers home in the original film. And it continues because she is the one that got away. And her obsession in return reflects her trauma, but also a working knowledge of the psychopathic mind. Enduring focus on the one that got away is common with serial killers, & Laurie has become a full-on doomsday prepper in the event that he ever returns to Haddonfield to finish what he started. And not only that, she sees it as her only route to closure. And Michael is happy to oblige.
Laurie fills Dr. Loomis' role of the soothsayer & she shoulders the burden of alienating everyone in her life for their own safety. But it's also hard not to draw parallels to the contemporary #metoo movement. Women sounded the alarm about sexual predation in Hollywood for years to no avail, & many paid a price for speaking out against powerful men. It was actually Scream star Rose McGowan whose charges against Scream producer (and producer of Rob Zombie's Halloween films) Harvey Weinstein who helped to start the #metoo movement. (Weinstein has since been sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual assault & rape.) So the #metoo angle is one that Jamie Lee has herself acknowledged seeing in the script.
Laurie is a survivor, & the major theme of the film is how one single traumatic event can dictate what every moment of every day for 40 years will look like. In a sense, Michael chose what Laurie's life would become. The paranoia. The planning. The guns. And while this isn't a new theme--Rob Zombie's Halloween II deals with this in a very explicit sense, wrapping it all up into one explosive night, & Halloween H20 deals with the long term suppression & avoidance of trauma--DGG's Halloween explores what it's like to live openly in the wake of long term trauma. And the differences in how the Laurie Strode of 1998 deals with her pain & how the Laurie Strode of 2018 deals with hers are very much signs of the times.
The heroes of the film are 3 generations of women: Laurie, her daughter, & her granddaughter, further re-enforcing the feminist attitude of the film. And the film rightly treats them according to their own merit, rather than as objects to pass judgment on. In that way, it stays very true to the original film.
It's also the funniest entry to the franchise, which may make it the most mainstream of all Halloween films. Rather than digging into the chaos & violence, this film spends all of its energy creating sympathetic characters, & that's where it succeeds. Cameo characters like Vicky's boyfriend Dave & Julian, the kid she's babysitting, are extremely likable. And while it doesn't quite chill the way that the original film does, it is a near perfect opener to a new trilogy that is sure to get more intense with each subsequent film.