RJ Bayley Reviews: Halloween Awakening

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While it’s fun to see a fan film go bonkers by unexpectedly criss crossing characters from other franchises with impunity, it’s nice to witness a project that has utmost respect and fidelity for the property it’s inspired by.

Writers Michael Leavy (also director) and Steven Della Salla certainly know their Halloween. To their credit they work in mythology of the later films, in which Michael Myers hunts down his relatives, as much as the well know basis of the original. Given some distance from how bad some of the later films are, Leavey and Della Salla recognise that the concept behind these later films was actually a rather good one: the execution, however, was a different matter. The way this concept slowly sizzles away in Halloween Awakening adds a great depth to what would otherwise be a bland slasher short, and this successful re-appropriation of an aspect usually dismissed by fans shows impressive horror instincts.

The film itself is economic and efficient. Set over the a short space of night time in a building only occupied by young and irresponsible night guards, the film is deeply reverential to the genre conventions. It’s very old school and expected, but when the franchise has been so mistreated it’s great to see the basics done well and with maturity. The tone seems to be reinstalling key slasher elements. Even the scantily clad women are a nostalgic nod to slasher traditions rather than there to titillate.

Right now the Halloween rights holders are faffing about with a “recalibration” of the series (“reboot” really must be a dirty word if they’re stretching that far). Do yourselves a favour, Dimension Films, and just give Michael Leavy and Steven Della Salla a conservative budget and the proving ground of a single entry. You’re bound to reap financial rewards and, perhaps more importantly, win back the faith and loyalty this now crippled franchise once inspired.

★★★★

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