Having been a fan of the Halloween series since I started watching horror movies fifteen years ago, I was excited to revisit the town of Haddonfield once again. After having been pushed back an entire year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween Kills is finally here.
The film, which is concurrently on big screens and streaming on Peacock, brings back the creative team of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride who were behind the smash hit Halloween in 2018. Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Will Patton, and Andi Matichak return as Haddonfield, IL citizens who can’t seem to get out of the way of Michael Myers.
This sequel, which follows up 2018’s Halloween which ignored every sequel, is effectively the third Halloween film in this timeline. I know, it’s confusing.
Kills picks up exactly where the last film left off with Laurie Strode leaving a burning house with her daughter and granddaughter. Michael Myers is presumably dead, left to burn in Laurie’s crumbling abode.
Firefighters rush to the house and are immediately dispatched one-by-one by a more deadly than ever Michael Myers. This scene is beautifully filmed with the heavy darks of the night background and the highlights of the blazing fire contrasting nicely.
The gore here is also well-executed (pun intended), and the kills here are some of the best in the entire series. While its good that we’re getting some quality kills, what’s not good is the way that Michael hands them out.
In the past, Michael Myers has been a silent, slow killer. In Halloween Kills, he’s just as silent, but he moves like John Wick. The firefighter scene at the beginning and one of the climactic scenes at the end of the film feature The Shape mowing through Haddonfield citizens like his dog just got killed.
I’m finding it a bit difficult to understand my true feelings on these bits. I love seeing Michael go full-out in terms of slashing, but how much of the character disappears so that the movie looks cool?
This really doesn’t feel like a Halloween movie, and there are good and bad parts of that implication. Kills’ plot-line moves away from the typical hunt and slash stories of most slashers in that Michael really has no goal.
He is moving through town and slicing and dicing individuals on his journey. The main plot is that Laurie and co. are in the hospital after their terrifying night with the masked killer. When they find out that he’s still alive, some of them split off to hunt him down and some, unfortunately Laurie herself and a surprisingly alive Haddonfield Policeman Hawkins, just hang out at the hospital and talk about how much Michael Myers sucks.
More than most films, Halloween Kills feels like the middle chapter of a trilogy that needed no middle chapter. I’d be willing to bet that if the writers and director combined the storyline of this film with whatever they’re planning for Halloween Ends, this two film arc would have been spectacular.
As it stands, this movie is basically filler with the story of the Halloween Saga barely developing at all. That is particularly tragic because this film brings back several legacy characters from the original.
Tommy Doyle, Marion Chambers, Lonnie Elam, Leigh Brackett, and Lindsay Wallace all return for this one. Out of all of these characters, Lonnie Elam is best presented.
That’s surprising, because he is the character that has the absolute least to do with the original Halloween. He was only in the first film in a couple of scenes to mess with a young Tommy Doyle.
Speaking of Tommy Doyle... jeez. I never thought I’d say this, but I like what they did with the character more in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers than what they did with him here.
Tommy is introduced near the beginning of the film alongside Chambers, Wallace, and Elam, as broken survivors who hold a grudge against their attacker to present day. As previously stated, none of these characters get due justice except for Elam.
This time around, instead of being shown as a broken man obsessed with the mystery of Michael Myers, Tommy Doyle is basically a Quanon conspiracy theorist that creates an angry mob to stop Myers. There have been mobs in these films before, particularly in Halloween 4. In that film, however, the intention of the mob wasn’t to be a social commentary.
It seems as though what David Gordon Green is doing is commenting on what Trump-era politics have done to the public. Presciently filmed before the Capital Riots, Halloween Kills nevertheless wants to make a statement on the hysteria of mob-mentality. That is undoubtedly an important thing to discuss, but leave it out of slasher films, please.
While this movie gives us what we want in terms of our favorite masked villain ripping through dozens of people, it’s also weighed down by a script that is unsuccessfully attempting to make audiences seriously think about the issues in their country.
David Gordon Green, I get it. You are a serious filmmaker and you want to show us measly horror audiences that even these films can be about something more than what they usually are.
I may just be speaking for myself when I say that I go to other places to get that sort of commentary. Leave the kills, take out the message, this isn’t church.
I’m not usually one to bad-mouth an actor. It’s a difficult job and sometimes people just have bad days and aren’t able to perform as well as they might have otherwise. Anthony Michael Hall, however, must have had a lot of bad days in a row because he stinks in this movie.
When he was announced as Tommy Doyle, I was excited. An 80’s teen idol returning to his reigning decade playing a character who we’ve been waiting to return to the series since 1995? Sign me up.
I’ve seen him be good in other things. He’s pretty solid in The Dark Knight, for instance, and he was one of the only good parts of the Netflix bomb War Machine. Here, however, he looks absolutely lost.
For all of you who out there who haven’t seen this yet, pay special attention to his dialogue scenes. When an actor is not able to convincingly complete full sentences, editing is used to splice together a competent scene. I’m not saying that this happened here, but when you have 20-plus cuts in a monologue, something must be up.
Another actor who was also disappointing in this film was Jamie Lee Curtis, although I think the reasons for her stilted performance differ from Hall’s.
This film makes a mockery of the Laurie Strode character. Where she used to be a strong willed but broken shell of a woman who only exists to wipe away the evil that is Michael Myers, here she’s a bed-ridden, bumbling shell of a character who only exist to spout exposition that makes no sense.
The last Halloween made it quite clear that Michael Myers was just a man and that he could be killed. How come this time around every kill makes him stronger until he’s just what he was in the other sequels: an unkillable zombie?
Don’t get me wrong. I, unlike many others, do not mind when Myers is presented as a supernatural force. My only problem with this reveal is that the last film hit the point of him being human so hard that it feels like they changed their minds this time around. How can so many characters be thinking absolutely different things from film to film, especially when the last movie took place minutes before this one?
While it may seem like it, I did not hate this movie. In fact, I can’t wait to watch it again.
What this feels like is one of the early Halloween sequels. It’s bad, yes, but bad in a way that is of the utmost enjoyability.
Aside from the Zombie-directed Myers films, I’m a huge fan of all of these movies. Even the bad ones hold a special place in my heart and I expect this one will as well.
What I’m disappointed in is the lack of story resolution. With a high-profile director such as Gordon Green, I expected these newer films to mean something to the overall Michael Myers story. Halloween Kills, however, fails at every turn to give us any solid answers to why all of this is happening.
Other highlights to the film include Scott MacArthur and Michal McDonald as a couple who are now living in the Myers house. They provide an emotional and comedic center to the film that, without it, would leave Halloween Kills a grisly film with little reprieve.
Kyle Richards is also really solid as the returning Lindsay Wallace. I had my doubts that the Real Housewives star still had it in her, but my doubts were relieved.
Judy Greer is also fantastic here as always as Laurie’s daughter. She is coming to terms with who she is and what she has to do, and it’s thrilling to see her character go through what she does.
The ending of this film, however, does something unforgivable to the character that I won’t spoil. I can only hope that they fix it in the sequel.
Andi Matichak is also very good as Strode’s granddaughter. It may be too soon to tell, but we could have a future scream queen on our hands with this one.
Also, the 1978 flashback that is sprinkled throughout the film is superbly effective. It nails the feeling of the original film and adds to its mythos where it could have easily made a mess of things.
If you like gore or Michael Myers at all, I suspect you’ll like this film. If you are looking for a clear resolution to 2018’s Halloween, however, you will not find that here.
Halloween Kills is streaming on Peacock and is playing in theatres everywhere. Halloween Ends is due to be released next Oct. and will presumably be the final word on the Halloween series. Yeah, right.