More noise than signal


Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

This latest in the Halloween franchise, a franchise proving as difficult to kill as the series’ antagonist, asks us to disregard all but Carpenter’s original, covered in podcasts passim. This is easy enough for me, as the only one I’ve seen is the Rob Zombie remake, which did not encourage further exploration. Because it was a turd festival.

So, here we are, forty years on from the original, with Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode still traumatised by the events of that fateful night, having been turned into a doomsday prepper of sorts, with her doom imagined as the big lad in a boiler suit and a cheap mask, Canadian funnyman Michael Myers, or The Shape as I’m apparently supposed to call him. Hard pass on that.

Myers is currently locked up, under the care of Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), before a pair of annoying podcasters show up to provide background information and general exposition for anyone who missed the first film, and in some fashion I can’t quite remember kick off the events that leads to Meyers escaping during a prison transfer and returning to Haddonfield to finish his job.

Meanwhile in Haddonfield, Laurie’s in the middle of family troubles. Her grand-daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is fine with her, but her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) hasn’t quite forgiven her for being raised to be perpetually battle ready for a threat that never arrived, and would rather Allyson live a normal childhood rather than a Meyers-prepper. Oh, the irony. Anyhow, as you’d expect, the family must in the end band together to face off against the rampaging Meyers, after he’s done butchering about five times as many people as he did in the first film.

To be scrupulously fair, there’s some elements in David Gordon Green’s effort that aren’t a parade of turds. There’s a mist-laden scene during Meyer’s initial escape that’s the only time this film gets close to the tension that was, for me, anyway, the point of the Carpenter film. And Jamie Lee Curtis is really great here, and that leads to a ten minute sequence at the end that, were the rest of the film on the same level, would make this rather good.

Unfortunately the remainder of the film is a turducopia. Rather than link back to Carpenter’s film, this is more inspired by the end point of the arc Carpenter started in the slasher subgenre, with Meyers chopping up dozens of people you don’t care about in a curiously boring set of murders as entertainment, and deaths without any meaning behind them just feels trite these days, a throwback to an era I wasn’t all that enamoured with in the first place.

Set against this, it’s hard to care all that much about Allyson’s boyfriend and school troubles – there’s not much point grounding your heroes in reality when the rest of the film is so wildly unrealistic. Which brings us to Dr. Sartain, and what I believe is the single most offensive plot twist I’ve ever come across. A completely nonsensical, idiotic, insulting, downright turdatory moment that by itself would have me wanting to put this film in a bag and set fire to it on someone’s doorstep.

There are people who like this film, I’m told. Even some people whose opinion I normally respect. I am staggered by this, as I can’t imagine anyone putting up with any of this film’s nonsense after that turd of events. (A turd of events is like a turn of events, but much worse). It makes this mediocre film enragingly insufferable, and as such I recommend you do not suffer this carnival of turds.

In conclusion I award this “watch Mandy” out of ten.