‘Halloween’: More treat than trick

2.5 out of 4 stars

Movie serial killers never truly die – they just find ways to keep coming back, year after year, decade after decade, remake after remake and sequel after sequel.

In “Halloween,” Michael Myers is back after spending the past 40 years in a sanitarium. (Universal)

It’s been 40 years since Michel Myers sliced and diced his sister and donned one of the most iconic killer masks in movie history – perhaps second only to “Friday the 13th’s” Jason Voorhees – and went on a killing spree that has withstood the test of time. The “Halloween” franchise has spawned seven, mostly forgettable sequels and two remakes by Rob Zombie that should have been murdered, too.

But in the latest “Halloween,” Michael Myers is back and looks just as good as he did in the original film in 1978. Apparently, he’s been showering in the Fountain of Youth while he was locked away with the rest of the crazies at a sanitarium.

The film ignores all of its trashy sequels and begins with Myers about to be transferred to a maximum-security prison after 40 years being studied while in confinement. The latest “Halloween” pretends whatever happened in any of sequels or remakes since its original film simply never happened, which is a good thing.

Meantime, Laurie Strode – played by Jamie Lee Curtis – hasn’t forgotten what Myers did to her. She’s spent decades suffering from PTSD and become a rabid survivalist who’s booby-trapped her house, preparing for the day Myers returns. She’s basically a modern day Linda Hamilton when she faced Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator 2” in 1991.

Even Strode’s family wants nothing to do with her- until they realize they can’t survive without her when Myers escapes while being transported and wants to finish what he started.

What transpires over next 106 minutes is more treat than trick, but more like getting a funsize Hershey Bar instead of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Myers, who is played by Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney, is the same plodding, methodical slasher he’s always been as he slices through his old stomping ground of Haddonfield, Ill.

Myers, however, leaves the trick-or-treaters alone while he focuses teenagers and adults, slowly working his way to the Strode house, where Laurie’s daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) reside with Karen’s husband.

Still, this is a horror movie and it follows the rules: there’s a teenager who thinks it’s a good idea to take a shortcut through the woods at night; an oblivious babysitter; some well-timed comedic banter; and a plot twist that very few people will see coming.

Curtis is clearly the star. At 59, she’s a modern day Rambo with her an array of weapons, yet tries to remain a loving mother and grandmother to the family that has shunned her after she went nuts after Myers’ rampage in 1978.

Director David Gordon Green has teamed with co-writers Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley to breathe life into this franchise that started very strong before fizzling and was pretty much left for dead.

But this saga shouldn’t have any more chapters.

“Halloween” serves its purpose, pitting Michael Myers against Laurie Strode for one final time, ending a fight that’s gone on far too long.