Halloween is one of the first mainstream movies to embrace the slasher subgenre of horror, so that can never be taken away from the production. The infamous Michael Myers is a formidable, if sometimes silly, antagonist whose single-minded nature is the driving force behind the movie, and this is of course where Jamie Lee Curtis began to earn her moniker as the scream queen of horror. However, its assured place in history to one side, on its own merits, in 2017, the movie is… well, not particularly great.
Wait a minute, I should walk that back a little. Halloween is not a bad movie. I can imagine it came as quite the shot in the arm when it was released in 1978, but for today’s audience with an attention span as long as a cookie-cutter pop song, used to buckets of gore and viscera on display, it’s just not a particularly engaging or scary one, and for a movie billed as horror, not being scary can’t be a good thing.
Halloween is never boring, but it does move at a very slow and deliberate pace, and it helps if you go into it knowing that. It’s a movie attempting to swim in mostly uncharted waters, so a lot of its various shortcomings can be forgiven under this umbrella. It has a style of presentation that relies on building a tense atmosphere throughout the running time, which it manages quite admirably with a still fantastic soundtrack, as well as a lot of genre tropes that have since become cliche.