From: Silver Screen

REVIEW: ‘Halloween Kills’ provides some thrills and a lot of empty kills

REVIEW: ‘Halloween Kills’ provides some thrills and a lot of empty kills
Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Kills, directed by David Gordon Green.

The boogeyman is back, again: More kills, bloodier thrills and more misplaced humor. 

Halloween Kills” is the 2021 sequel to “Halloween (2018),” which takes over from its predecessor, “Halloween (1978),” and is the second film in director David Gordan Green’s new “Halloween” trilogy. The final movie in the trilogy, “Halloween Ends,” is set to release in late 2022. 

“Halloween Kills” picks up almost immediately after the previous movie ended. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), are leaving Laurie's home where they had just trapped the killer Michael Myers in the basement and lit the house on fire. Michael has, however, been able to survive getting shot multiple times at point blank range: is a fire really going to stop him? As it turns out, Michael escapes in a bloody fashion. In one of the movie's best shot sequences, which was unfortunately spoiled by the trailer, Michael makes quick work of some firemen who were dispatched to deal with the fire.

Once word that Michael is again out and about in Haddonfield, the townspeople, led by Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) and Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet), quickly band together to try and hunt down the killer once and for all. Meanwhile, Karen and Allyson wait in the hospital with Laurie as she recovers. 

You may be thinking: with a whole host of characters, how could they possibly all work well together in one movie? The short answer – they don’t. “Halloween Kills” throws a lot of characters at you in pretty quick succession. The movie wants you to care about Laurie, her daughter, her granddaughter, her granddaughter’s boyfriend, the boyfriend’s dad (Lonnie) and Tommy. In a runtime of a tight one-hour and 45-minutes, there is simply not enough time to make the audience care about all these characters. 

The movie tries its best to make some of the franchise's new characters seem important by retconning them into the film’s history. These attempts to make us think these characters are significant by placing them in the original movie without actually developing them as characters, are a cheap nostalgia grab at best. This movie might have benefited from a longer runtime to flesh out its characters, or, no pun intended, should have cut some of them out. We aren’t exactly expected to care about everyone Michael violently murders, but it would’ve added a lot more tension if we at least cared about the main characters of the movie.

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An issue that plagues this movie, which was also notable in “Halloween (2018),” is Green’s insertion of misplaced humor. While not as egregious as the first film in the trilogy, “Halloween Kills” is filled with way too many poorly timed jokes. Despite Green’s background in comedies like “Pineapple Express” or “The Sitter,” the jokes didn’t land. The tone of the movie switches so rapidly from what could be a straight comedy to a bloody slasher film. There are multiple times throughout the movie where Green will cut immediately from an extremely bloody death to a comedic scene. This could be done to relieve audience tension, but this constant switching of tone kills any suspense the movie was building up. 

There were still a lot of good things about “Halloween Kills” – elements that Green can build on for the finale of the trilogy. The exploration of what drives Michael Myers to kill, like a possible vendetta against Laurie is an interesting premise. In the movie, Laurie holds the idea that Michael is specifically after her, stalking and hunting her; however, that may not be the case. Hopefully this idea can be explored further in the final movie. 

Additionally, the idea of “who is the real monster,” while a little cliche, is explored in the film. When the whole town is trying to hunt down one man, mob mentality begins to take over and you begin to question if what the citizens of Haddonfield are doing is right. However, the film barely scratches the surface of these ideas, leaving this concept underdeveloped.

Per usual, Curtis is great in the role of Laurie, even in the limited screen time she has, relegated to a hospital bed for most of the movie. The rest of the cast throws in good performances as well, the only exceptions being some very minor characters. John Carpenter's original “Halloween” theme also shines throughout the film, as well as the new theme that he composed for this movie. 

Overall, much like its predecessor “Halloween (2018),” “Halloween Kills” is a mixed bag. It has some interesting ideas, nice shots and a couple cool — albeit pretty gratuitous — kills. But its lack of character development, misuse of humor, constant switching of tone and underdeveloped ideas keep the movie from being a solid sequel. If you are a horror or “Halloween” fan, this is worth the watch, but don’t expect anything really new or interesting from the franchise.

“Halloween Kills” was released in theaters and on Peacock on Oct. 15. 

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