Just how scary (and violent) is the new Halloween movie? Halloween is a classic horror franchise and Michael Myers one of the biggest slasher icons of all time, and it's fair to say the 2018 reboot more than honors that legacy.
Halloween 2018 is a direct sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 original, ignoring all nine previous sequels and remakes. Director David Gordon Green resurrects Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode, now living in isolation fearing the return of non-brother Michael Myers in a Chekhov's armored house. When Michael escapes to terrorize Haddonfield, Illinois 40 years after his last rampage, she's ready for him. That's more the plot of a thriller than a blood-thirsty slasher, although the truth is a little murkier.
Out of the big three horror franchises - along with Halloween there's A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th - Michael Myers was the realistic bridge. His kills were never as violent as uncut Jason Vorhees nor his presence as entertaining as Freddy Kreuger. The frights mostly came from the impending sense of dread the pure evil of The Shape promises. Halloween 2018, however, is a little bit different. If you struggle with horror, you may be smart checking what's in store first.
How Scary Is Halloween 2018?
Obviously, Halloween is scary; it's about a violent masked man killing without any rhyme or reason, a chilling notion before a frame of film. And this constant threat and unpredictability is key to how the movie builds terror; like Carpenter's original, Green's film is consistently unnerving with periods of sudden high tension as The Shape comes down. For most of the runtime, it's background fear, with the carefully-spaced moments when Michael Myers attacks the most affronting. It's really the third act is where things get scary; while the setup is that of a more action-inclined film and there is certainly some good fighting, there are extended sequences of mounting tension.
What the film has in considerably lighter volume is the tired trope of jump scares. There are a handful of jolts in the movie, including both fakeouts and proper shocks after a long build-up, but they're well spaced out and aren't accompanied by a loud screech. These are good jump scares that won't see you spilling popcorn.
All that said, one important clarification is that Halloween is also a funny movie. Green and co-writer Danny McBride have a history in comedy and it really shows, with smartly placed humor throughout. This makes for a more well-rounded, modern-feeling experience, and can also mean some of the more intense scenes keep firmly in the "entertaining" camp.
How Violent Is Halloween 2018?
When it comes to violence, Halloween has really moved with the times. In the 1980s, Friday the 13th was always the gory franchise, although by today's standards even Jason's banned kills feel rather tame alongside Saw or even more timid horror efforts. Halloween 2018 definitely puts Friday to shame; Michael kills with superhuman strength, snapping necks back, cracking skulls with his boots, smashing faces into walls, decapitating heads to turn into fleshy Jack-o-Lanterns and more.
When it comes to the attacks with his signature knife, things are a bit more business as usual, although there's still a lot of blood. In addition to seeing the murders, several horrific kills off-screen screen, with the bodies shown after the fact. However, this is all shot in a manner where the camera doesn't linger for too long on any one element.
Within that, there also more of a darker element to some of the kills. Children aren't exempt from his rampage, and some of the stalked murders are drawn out. While these moments aren't the most violent, the intent makes them quite wincing.
The Rest of Halloween 2018's R-Rating: Nudity and Swearing
Halloween has no nudity shot for the movie, but a flashback to a young Michael Myers killing his sister using archive footage from the original film does have some very brief flashes of the actress' breasts.
What Halloween does have a lot of is swearing. Being a hard R, there is no imposed limit on bad language, so characters speak in "sh*ts" and "f*cks". There's also drug use, which helps add to that R-rating.
- Halloween (2018) release date: Oct 19, 2018