Those familiar with the Michael Myers films might be surprised to find that writer and director David Gordon Green’s 2018 Halloween is a direct sequel to the first film, largely disregarding — and at times poking fun at — the slew of sequels that spawned after John Carpenter’s original. This retcon of sorts is good news for horror fans, however, as the original is inarguably the best one and, therefore, the perfect jumping off point.

Halloween centers back on our original “final girl” Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) who is not doing so well. Though it has been 40 years, she hasn’t been able to let go of the events of Halloween night 1978, coping with the trauma by becoming an extreme survivalist and self-described basket case. Surrounding her house with barbed wire and flood lights, the backyard filled with bullet-riddled target practice dummies — it is obsessive behavior that has left her twice divorced and estranged from her daughter, Karen, who now has a daughter of her own.

But, as one can probably guess, Laurie’s insane level of preparedness pays off big time when Michael Myers comes back to Haddonfield. She’s no longer the awkward bookworm she once was. Now, she is a trained, laser-focused badass who will stop at nothing to protect her daughter and granddaughter (the new final girls perhaps?) and end the boogeyman’s killing spree once and for all.

The film’s opening credits incorporate the iconic jack-o-lantern horror fans will remember from the original. It is seen as a rotten mess slowly being resurrected through reverse time lapse. The creepy-cute pumpkin tells us everything we need to know before we even begin: this new Halloween is a Carpenter creation through and through, and not only an homage but a fun, meta romp filled with in-jokes. Basically, it’s back and better than ever.

Now, there are a few odd things we could get nitpicky about. For instance, the unnatural way the granddaughter refers to Laurie as “grandmother.” They seem to have a close bond despite the tenuous relationship between mother and daughter, so why the formality? Also, there are some contrivances with Laurie luring Michael into her home. A few times you think “There, just end him now!” instead of doing an adult version of Home Alone and dragging things out. And, there are moments where the movie focuses perhaps a little too much on jokes and forgets it is supposed to be scary, too.

But, overall, if you enjoy the original, you’ll likely love this one, too. In fact, if you haven’t seen the original, you should do yourself a favor and watch it prior to this. While the 2018 version stands on its own, a big part of its appeal comes from playing off the tropes of the first. And who doesn’t need more sassy babysitters and jump scares in their life, anyway?

Halloween slashes its way into theaters Friday, October 19th.