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: 95.199%
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

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