Classic horror villain Michael Myers returns to stalk small town Haddonfield, Ill. — and old foil Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) — in “Halloween.”
TORONTO – Midnight is always the right time to freak out festival audiences.
Late Saturday night “Halloween” screened its epic, bloody finale at the Toronto International Film Festival, an event that also welcomed its star Jamie Lee Curtis to the stage 40 years after her original film hit theaters.
A masked Michael Myers was also there, creeping out an electrified festival crowd by appearing in the shadows on stage before the first frame rolled.
This “Halloween” (in theaters Oct. 19) extends the freaky franchise to a new generation. Laurie Strode (Curtis) is now a grandmother who has alienated her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Virgina Gardner) with her extreme overprotection. Michael is in a high-security prison, they argue. It’s time to let the past go.
That’s before the serial killer breaks out and launches a fresh massacre that got the Toronto audience alternately cheering and shrieking.
“It’s a movie about trauma,” said Curtis during the 2 a.m. Q&A that followed the screening. “And ultimately, if any of you have ever lived through any trauma or have a family member who has trauma, it isn’t just you or the family member (who are affected), it is generational…I just thought it was an amazing way to tell the story of Laurie and tell it through the eyes of her daughter and her granddaughter.”
“I feel traumatized right now,” cracked Greer, who had just watched “Halloween” for the first time in the audience. “I’m shaking!”
So what did critics think of the latest installment? Reaction was mostly positive – with just a few reviewers digging in the shiv.
Collider reporter Perri Nemiroff raved, calling it “vicious” and “the complete package.”
Film critic Scott Menzel declared it “the best Halloween since the original” and called the horror film “a total blast.”
Atlantic writer David Sims was a bit more cautious, calling “Halloween “good when it’s just being a tense slasher film, grating when it’s winking at the audience, but David Gordon Green can certainly rack up tension. As an homage it’s excellent, as its own movie it’s ok.”
Uproxx reporter Mike Ryan was less than impressed. “The new HALLOWEEN starts with an interesting premise. The ending is good. The rest was really disappointing,” he tweeted.
Rotten Tomatoes editor in chief Joel Meares declared the filmmakers “nailed it,” saying “Halloween” delivers “Force Awakens levels of fan service.”
Vanity Fair’s Emma Stefansky agreed with the “Star Wars” comparison.
“HALLOWEEN is THE FORCE AWAKENS of HALLOWEEN movies: all the stuff you want, plus some new stuff, some dumb stuff, some delightfully remixed stuff. definitely the best time I’ve had at a (Toronto) screening thus far,” she wrote.
Entertainment reporter Jeff Sneider also thought the new “Halloween” is the best installment since the original, calling the horror flick “legit scary.”
But leave it to Curtis to get the final laugh of the night. When asked by an audience member if she’s ever scared, or has been affected by playing Laurie, the actress gave a nod to the current state of Washington politics. “You know, life’s a little scary. I live in America,” she cracked. “This (expletive’s) getting real, so I’m scared every day.”
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2CA18qE