Halloween First Reviews: Jamie Lee Curtis Kills In the Franchise's "Best Sequel" Yet

First reviews praise the cast, the gore, and fan-service – Carpenter's score rocks – but the movie might have a slight medical issue.

by | September 9, 2018 | Comments

David Gordon Green’s Halloween premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, and the first critical verdicts are in. So far, so good, with 14 reviews counted and a current Tomatometer score of 93%. Many are calling the film, a direct follow-up to John Carpenter’s 1978 original (forget every bit of lore that’s been canonized in between), “the best Halloween sequel ever,” and the extended standing ovation for Green, co-writer Danny McBride, producer Jason Blum, Jamie Lee Curtis, and the rest of the cast who came on stage when the credits rolled, suggests that fans – who make up the bulk of TIFF’s Midnight Madness audience – agree.

It’s not all critical treats for the movie, though – a number of reviews have a problem with a Dr. Loomis-esque new psychiatrist – and it will be interesting to see how the next batch of critics to see the film take to the witty, very Danny McBride banter spoken by Haddonfield’s latest crop of ready-to-kill teens. For now, though, here is what the early reviews are saying:

Just how badass is Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode?

…the movie would be a harmless, discardable remix of standard horror notes if not for Curtis, who charges through the movie as if she never stopped running four decades back.
– Erik Kohn, IndieWire

Curtis plays one of the toughest, most combat-ready grandmas ever to grace the screen, a lady who can get tossed over a balcony, fall off the roof, and still pick herself up, if it comes down to it
– Peter Debruge, Variety

She’s buzzing with mixture of authority and nervous energy, and that combination sells her as a very capable hero, but also as one who fully understands the force she’s up against
– Perri Nemiroff, Collider

Is the movie scary? 

Here is where Halloween is most successful: it makes Michael Myers scary again. The masked killer is utterly inhumane here – he doesn’t just kill people, he destroys them.
– Chris Evangelista, SlashFilm

While it features some brutally gory images and violence, it’s not all that scary, with Michael’s plodding yet propulsive walk and perfunctory killing style. The tension doesn’t build until Michael faces a foe who can actually take him on – Laurie.
– Katie Walsh, Nerdist

There’s a segment in the third act – which is incredibly strong – where Laurie is on the prowl for Michael and it’s a nail-biting scene but that’s the only part where I felt actual fear and wanted to cover my eyes.
– Jonathan Barken, Dread Central

This outing features a substantially larger kill count (and, pleasingly, some variety).
– Joe Lipsett, Bloody Disgusting

How faithful is it to the spirit of Carpenter’s original?

(Photo by © Universal Pictures)

The prologue’s message is clear: The legendary embodiment of evil requires no fancy makeover or character updates to continue his terrifying reign.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

We finally have a new Halloween movie that moves the franchise forward and respects its legacy.
– Perri Nemiroff, Collider

[Green] and McBride fill the script with comic riffs and referential winks to the original…
– Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly 

We’re hearing grumblings about a doctor…

Michael’s psychiatrist Dr. Loomis is long dead, and he’s now in the care of a new doctor – Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer). To be blunt, this character is absolutely terrible, and he’s involved in a subplot that brings the entire movie to a screeching halt.
Chris Evangelista, SlashFilm

My only problem with Halloween is a subplot involving Michael’s doctor, who Curtis calls “the new Loomis,” played by Haluk Bilginer. The cartoonish approach to his character is out of pace with the rest of the relatively grounded film…
– Chris Bumbray, Joblo

Not even a harebrained subplot centered on Michael’s latest psychiatrist, Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), is enough to stop the momentum.
– J. Olsen, Cinemixtape

Which franchise newcomers stand out?

[Andi] Matichak proves to be a perfect final girl as Allyson, cut exactly from her grandmother’s cloth: tough, smart, and principled.
Katie Walsh, Nerdist

While he’s not in the movie for long, young Jibrail Nantambu steals the show as Julian, a young boy being babysat.
– Jonathan Barken, Dread Central

Toby Huss just nails it as Ray, Allyson’s father. That character is loaded with heart and “awkward dad” moments that make him an especially charming new addition.
– Perri Nemiroff, Collider

 There’s a strong feminist message in here.

…Green, McBride, co-writer Jeff Fradley, and most importantly, star and big beating heart of the franchise Jamie Lee Curtis, made a film that’s a profoundly feminist re-examination of its psychology of trauma through its iconography.
– Katie Walsh, Nerdist

Once Halloween returns to the original scene of the crime, it delivers the essence of its appeal in a single, focused routine — women fighting back against a faceless embodiment of toxic masculinity.
– Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Finally, how is Carpenter’s score?

…Carpenter’s original theme holds up nicely here, adding synthesizer chills to scenes in which Michael goes out stalking.
– Peter Debruge, Variety

Yes, the classic Halloween theme is here, but so is a whole new style of music, a blend of synth and rock – pulsating, pounding, beating like a heart.
Chris Evangelista, SlashFilm

Halloween premiered on Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it opens in theaters October 19. Read all the reviews for it here.


Halloween (2018)

Adjusted Score: 95.382%
Critics Consensus: Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic - yet still effective - ingredients.
Synopsis: Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers,... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

Tag Cloud

YA PaleyFest reviews Disney Plus CW Seed strong female leads theme song MSNBC YouTube FXX American Society of Cinematographers miniseries Valentine's Day remakes dc Pirates Binge Guide TV One The Walt Disney Company football TLC Red Carpet natural history Mary Poppins Returns Pet Sematary psychological thriller ghosts FX Women's History Month DirecTV Arrowverse kong black Amazon Studios justice league movie E3 USA Academy Awards E! travel worst crime based on movie christmas movies DC Universe nature Musicals 4/20 serial killer Shondaland Election See It Skip It Mary poppins free movies batman fast and furious Rom-Com richard e. Grant Mystery unscripted Photos news Paramount Plus Watching Series Pixar reboot Opinion ITV Set visit National Geographic joker Syfy Character Guide OneApp ABC ratings cooking golden globe awards robots comic books jamie lee curtis blockbuster documentaries IFC Films twilight crime drama composers psycho Musical The Witch TV renewals versus Oscars streaming Year in Review BBC One Tumblr game of thrones Disney Channel Emmys hispanic superman Starz Hallmark boxoffice technology renewed TV shows Thanksgiving children's TV italian Action Fantasy classics Universal First Reviews cars Lifetime Christmas movies parents die hard MTV Sundance Now halloween Countdown comic Heroines BET Kids & Family Alien quibi Spring TV japanese kaiju Britbox TCA 2017 TCA telelvision TCM New York Comic Con Disney+ Disney Plus Comics on TV VICE 2015 asian-american WGN Marvel Studios Vudu Nickelodeon obituary Travel Channel Cannes Awards Tour 24 frames Reality Amazon Prime 2021 green book kids Sneak Peek emmy awards all-time Amazon Prime Video nbcuniversal Creative Arts Emmys Western BAFTA Holiday A&E true crime what to watch YouTube Red Ellie Kemper transformers El Rey zombies cancelled witnail crossover Fall TV RT21 anthology Best and Worst Endgame 2016 Song of Ice and Fire cinemax adventure hollywood The CW Showtime cancelled television LGBTQ king kong HBO Go Broadway Anna Paquin cartoon TruTV period drama blaxploitation women godzilla Adult Swim dragons BET Awards Apple TNT worst movies Infographic finale politics critics jurassic park cults Warner Bros. Comedy Central cops dceu adaptation binge child's play VOD Winter TV casting biography deadpool Marathons Peacock directors talk show Calendar Box Office CBS laika toy story police drama Apple TV+ 45 romantic comedy Freeform Tomatazos Elton John San Diego Comic-Con A24 PBS Holidays Drama TV satire TCA Winter 2020 spanish spanish language Comedy Stephen King 20th Century Fox APB documentary stop motion supernatural mutant The Purge GIFs zero dark thirty Christmas pirates of the caribbean Star Wars docuseries festival werewolf CBS All Access President political drama Mary Tyler Moore fresh video Acorn TV Superheroes NYCC television Avengers Ghostbusters social media Awards PlayStation Super Bowl Spectrum Originals BBC Marvel Television cancelled TV shows Amazon Hulu Sundance TV X-Men Country superhero Chilling Adventures of Sabrina independent Funimation TIFF Trivia Grammys rotten SXSW blockbusters Family YouTube Premium spain ViacomCBS Crunchyroll DC streaming service universal monsters Shudder Star Trek indie Lifetime australia comics stoner ABC Family Premiere Dates 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Spike Hear Us Out thriller Marvel Writers Guild of America sag awards sequel breaking bad sitcom Comic Book DGA war popular Tubi 007 21st Century Fox Teen GoT Netflix Brie Larson Film spider-man Film Festival revenge Mudbound MCU Disney scorecard historical drama USA Network Pop TV FX on Hulu teaser award winner Polls and Games Extras History best Winners facebook dogs Turner Classic Movies Reality Competition spy thriller Exclusive Video medical drama trailers TBS Walt Disney Pictures cats Hallmark Christmas movies Schedule razzies Baby Yoda 99% screen actors guild aliens screenings comiccon stand-up comedy Fox Searchlight Rocky 2017 Cartoon Network Paramount Network First Look toronto Sundance indiana jones HBO Nat Geo festivals WarnerMedia Black History Month Emmy Nominations science fiction Trophy Talk Pop Toys venice rt archives singing competition Apple TV Plus south america foreign OWN mission: impossible canceled Interview LGBT Sony Pictures Legendary Discovery Channel TV Land rotten movies we love zombie 2018 sports The Walking Dead CNN VH1 ABC Signature 71st Emmy Awards scary movies james bond Ovation Lucasfilm archives french Tarantino latino Rock dark Animation diversity Paramount Sci-Fi BBC America Nominations canceled TV shows disaster Epix Bravo Disney streaming service Chernobyl 72 Emmy Awards SDCC nfl FOX Television Academy Turner rom-coms Captain marvel golden globes movies ID Quiz name the review GLAAD AMC Pride Month Netflix Christmas movies Music Classic Film DC Comics SundanceTV spinoff Crackle tv talk game show book dramedy IFC Horror Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt hidden camera anime Fox News Certified Fresh harry potter concert Mindy Kaling space Lionsgate Cosplay Martial Arts Masterpiece Dark Horse Comics sequels Biopics halloween tv CMT criterion a nightmare on elm street doctor who franchise animated cancelled TV series Rocketman series 2019 discovery docudrama romance ESPN Video Games films Trailer Food Network Summer The Arrangement slashers vampires crime thriller HBO Max boxing The Academy Superheroe prank Podcast mockumentary chucky video on demand TCA Awards 2020 NBC Columbia Pictures Esquire Black Mirror Television Critics Association monster movies RT History Logo hist elevated horror comedies