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Halloween Kills Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Universal Pictures Intl (UK)

article-cover

Directed by David Gordon Green
Written by David Gordon Green, Scott Teems and Danny McBride
2021, 106 minutes, Rated 18
Released on 15th October 2021

Starring:
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Judy Greer as Karen
Andi Matichak as Allyson
Nick Castle as The Shape

Review:

David Gordon Green’s Halloween reboot successfully revitalised Michael Myers, bringing back the slasher icon to modern audiences and the Haddonfield of 2018. At the same time, it remained faithful to John Carpenter’s classic, with Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprising their roles as Laurie Strode and the Shape, respectfully and respectively. This sequel-to-the-reboot doubles down on that, populating Haddonfield with faces old and new.

Escaping the flaming deathtrap he was trapped in at the end of the previous film, Michael once again takes to the streets. With Laurie and daughter Karen (Judy Greer) holed up at the local hospital, Allyson (Andi Matichak) joins a raging mob, spearheaded by an all-growed-up Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall). Set on finding and killing Michael before he can kill again, Tommy’s mob runs riot all over Haddonfield, terrorizing innocents and wrecking the hospital.

halloween kills 01 halloween kills 02

Where the Halloween franchise is generally known for taut, tight storytelling – even the worst of them snap along at a breakneck pace – Halloween Kills is an altogether looser affair. Rather than following any one particular character, it ambles around Haddonfield, sporadically checking in on the people as Michael goes about his murderous business. Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards) and Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) and Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet) and Brackett (Charles Cyphers) are all there, but Green and his writing team (Scott Teems and Danny McBride, also returning from the '18 reboot) never get to the root of what makes them tick. It turns the citizens of Haddonfield into imbeciles, bumbling all over the place like they’re Springfieldians in The Simpsons Movie.

Laurie and Karen are sidelined in the hospital (in an amusing nod to the now struck-from-the-record Halloween II), and Allyson is so underutilised and ineffectual that she might as well not be there. Only the guilt-stricken Will Patton and comically angry Anthony Michael Hall manage to make an impact – while the new inhabitants of the Old Myers Place deserve a spin-off movie or series of their own.

halloween kills 03 halloween kills 04

But at least Michael is on form. One thing Halloween Kills does live up to is the title, and Michael Myers cuts swathes through Haddonfield. These are some of the most creative and exciting kill sequences the franchise has ever seen. There comes one kill, late in the game, which is one of the nastiest – and most over the top – kills the series has ever recorded. Whether his behaviour fits with what we know of Michael Myers is debateable (was he ever one to toy with his prey in such a way?) but the film certainly delivers on its promise of kills… on Halloween.

But Michael, too, feels sidelined and side-tracked. The film is formless and lumpy, with surprisingly little sense of urgency. Its messages are muddled; mob justice is both wildly dangerous and also righteous and effective; Michael’s crimes are either breathtakingly tragic or pretty funny, actually; The Shape is both a very human evil and also a supernatural embodiment of Halloween violence. There’s both too much going on and not enough, and amidst it all, Jamie Lee Curtis is wasted. Laurie Strode may no longer be Michael’s sister, but now that she isn’t, the film doesn’t really know what to do with her.

halloween kills 05 halloween kills 06

The warning signs were there in Halloween ’18 – the weird character decisions, the dodgy writing, that terrible plot twist – now exacerbated in a sequel which is far too beholden to Carpenter’s original, while doubling-down on problems of its own creation. Halloween Kills isn’t Resurrection-level bad, but it is the most disappointing Halloween sequel since Resurrection.

Grades:

Movie: 2 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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