TIFF 2018 Review: Halloween

TIFF 2018 Review: Halloween

Through half-covered eyes, I watched the newest Halloween film at the Toronto International Film Festival. As a big scaredy cat, I was nervously anticipating the film that horror fans have been waiting to see. The Midnight Madness crowd was insane and certainly the best way to see this film. Hearing their gasps and cheers brought home what the film brings to the world. David Gordon Green’s, Halloween shows Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) finally getting her long-awaited confrontation with Michael Myers (Nick Castle) when he escapes from his prison transfer. Laurie has been preparing for this for 40 years, at the psychological expense of her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer). When Michael escapes on Halloween night,  he begins his reign of terror very quickly, and Laurie gets her chance to end it once and for all.

Halloween ignores all the previous installments except for the first one, so the appeal is broader since you don’t need to have seen the seemingly endless sequels to understand this one. There are quite a few moments in the film that will have audiences cheering, and I don’t want to ruin those special moments for the fans so that I won’t be including them in this review.

Halloween does a perfect job of balancing the gore, humor, and jump scares. Having Danny McBride on the writing team was a great decision as he adds an ample amount of fun to the film. That being said, the gore is there for the fans. Between a gruesome fence scene and a stomping scene, the audiences’ thirst for blood will undoubtedly be satisfied.

What I love most about this film is the way that it handles Laurie as a trauma victim. While it is true she has been through some truly horrible things; they don’t portray her as a broken and weak person. They show her as empowered and ready to fight. While she may not be the picture of mental health, she has taken care of herself and is prepared never to become a victim again. The film plays strongly on this and in the way they use the female characters.

The three main characters, Laurie, Karen and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) are the heart of the story. The men never really become the focus of the film and the generational strength passed from Laurie to Karen and then to Allyson brings the story home. While trauma may impact a family, it is what you do with that trauma that defines you. Laurie standing up and saying “no more” does more to speak for victims than I could have imagined. As a person who has PTSD, this is an empowering and inspiring moment.

That being said, Halloween is still a horror film and delivers wholeheartedly on that. It is the most entertaining horror film of the year and will delight and terrify audiences the world over. It is gore and action-packed fun and the perfect October release. See it with an audience that will appreciate the chills and thrills of Halloween. 

Written by
Ashley Menzel is an avid film lover and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves foreign films and dramas and reading books that have film adaptations. Her favorite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She loves Doctor Who, Supernatural, iZombie, and Grimm.

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