‘Halloween Kills’ is a Blood Soaked Mixed Bag

Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green

Warning: HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD

Plot: Serial killer Michael Myers continues his rampage across the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois, after having survived Laurie Strode’s booby-trapped inferno.

Review: Well…well…well. After waiting for David Gordon Green’s anticipated sequel to his 2018 Halloween for what seems like forever I would have liked to have given you guys a more glowing and positive review. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. There are many aspects to this film that are not cohesive and just simply do not work in my humble opinion. But before we get into that aspect of my review, let’s take a brief voyage into why the 1978 film and the 2018 version had better fluidity despite one major change in the canon story (or one of the timeline canons at least).

I’m in love with the Shape of you

Originally the creative genius of iconic horror director John Carpenter and his then-girlfriend Debra Hill (shedied in 2005), Halloween was filmed on a meagre budget in just 20 days over four weeks during May 1978. The film’s success shaped the face of a new horror genre known as “the slasher”. The story follows killer Michael Myers aka The Shape (Nick Castle), who fatally stabs his teenage sister Judith Myers when he was just six years old. After unsuccessful treatment in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium for 15 years under the care of Dr Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) Myers manages to escape and makes his way back to his hometown of Haddonfield. Most of us know how the story turns out from here on in. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is the sole survivor of the Halloween night massacre and becomes a sort of nemesis to Myers in the Halloween franchise.

Because of the financial success of the 1978 film Carpenter was pressured by the studio to rush into doing a sequel that was released in 1981. It added to the origin story of Myers by creating a family tie between both Strode and Myers. Strode became Myers’ little sister who was given up for adoption after the death of their parents. The story also left clues trying to connect Myers to Gaelic festival Samhain and the occult to explain his invulnerability. But Carpenter himself was not happy with this new direction.

Dang. She looks scarier than Michael. Please don’t kill me Laurie

Forty years later the franchise was returned to its core by acknowledging only the events that took place in the 1978 version and it flows beautifully into the 2018 film. It was directed by David Gordon Green and a script written by Green, Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley, all three being huge fans of the Halloween films and determined to bring it back on track. The icing on the cake was John Carpenter’s heavy involvement with the project which encouraged original stars to return to the franchise including final girl Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle as the original The Shape. The final element that completed the perfect recipe was the removal of Strode being Myers’ sister. Strode faces her nemesis and takes him down in a blaze of glory, literally. It pumped new blood and fresh air into a horror franchise that desperately needed it. The announcement soon came that Green was planning to follow up with two other films to create a neat trilogy and they would be called Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic many films’ cinematic release was delayed, Halloween Kills among them. Now we are finally able to view it in cinemas or via online streaming with the Peacock channel (since October 15). Unfortunately, there are more cons than pros in Halloween Kills. The brutality with which Myers (James Jude Courtney) kills is ramped up more than just a few notches. There is also a couple of decent jumps scares that gave Myers a more supernatural presence to be reckoned with. However, the story was all over the freaking place. Halloween Kills didn’t seem like it was sure what it wanted to be at times. It tries to hit the note of society reacting to being held hostage in fear for such a long time, which ends up creating a fatal, mindless mob mentality. I didn’t care for it, and it felt like filler material.

Yeah, that dude dead

It was also completely unnecessary to show a flashback of Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton) who was present on the night that Myers was arrested back in 1978 according to the new storyline. Hawkins was stabbed in the neck by Myers’ psychiatrist Dr Sartain in the 2018 film and presumed dead. They clumsily revived the character and made him a possible love interest for Strode. Although the film picks up right where we were left its predecessor, the story lacks fluidity. Halloween Kills is great if you want to see a more savage Michael Myers in all of his glory.

There was also some strength in returning characters whose names have become synonymous with the Halloween franchise. It’s quite okay to acknowledge the fact that characters such as Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), Nurse Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), and even Charles Cyphers who played the role of Sheriff Lee Brackett would be traumatised by their past experiences. However, turning Tommy Doyle into a character tantamount to a mindless vigilante was a bit much. Especially when you arm him with nothing more than an old baseball bat against an unstoppable evil force.

TOMMY: Call me Batman EDITOR JULES: Wait, weren’t you in The Dark Kni…(*BAT TO THE FACE*) TOMMY: Shut yuh pie hole!

Continuing the disappointment was the lack of screen time for the Strode family unit. The build-up from the 2018 film of the Strodes versus Myers lost its steam and rhythm in Halloween Kills. Quite simply, it became more about the trauma suffered by the residents of Haddonfield at the hands of Michael Myers. The focus seemed to shift more toward making a social statement rather than following through with the core of what makes Halloween stand out from the rest of the crowd.

The final frames were anticlimactic at best with a monologue intercut from Curtis that seemed a bit awkward. I did dig the mask though; I thought that it was perfect. Heads up though, the cliffhanger ending was a great way to pave the way for the final film Halloween Ends. Trust me, you won’t see that one coming! My final thoughts on Halloween Kills are that it managed to clumsily totter over the finish line after cavorting all over the place and possibly frustrating hardcore fans of both the genre and franchise.

Alice’s Score: 5 out of 10

For Sommer’s thoughts on Halloween Kills you can check out her video review below:

So how would you rate Halloween Kills? And you can check out more Michael Myers-related content below:

FREDDY VS JASON VS MICHAEL VS LEATHERFACE: ULTIMATE SLASHER SHOWDOWN
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Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More