After 43 years, the Halloween franchise is still going, and that is precisely the problem.
A few years ago, Universal Pictures decided once again to resurrect one of Hollywood’s most notorious serial killers Michael Myers, along with the Halloween franchise. You can’t call this “Halloween: Resurrection” however, because that movie was already made back in 2002.
2018’s Halloween (not to be confused with the 1978 film or the 2007 film under the same name) brought Myers back to life in hopes of creating a new trilogy for Universal.
A franchise that has been retconned close to 8 times in 40 years, produces its twelfth film in the series with number thirteen right around the corner. When it comes to Halloween, what more can Michael Myers do that we haven’t already since 1978?
If the answer is anything more than gratuitous violence, then you have made a mistake watching “Halloween Kills”.
Halloween Kills takes place immediately following the events of Halloween (2018). Michael Myers (Portrayed by both James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle) is presumed dead after being trapped in the burning home of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), the sole survivor of Michael Myers’ 1978 killing spree.
When Laurie is treated at the hospital, she is comforted by the reality that Myers can’t hurt her family again. But of course, evil never dies and Michael Myers not only survives but is back on the loose in the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois. The townsfolk have had enough of Myers terrorizing their home and tonight they decide that they are going to fight back. It’s Halloween night and the people are on the hunt for a killer who continues to leave a trail of bodies at his wake.
This feat is easier said than done, as the more Michael kills the more he transcends a human being, solidifying himself as a monster.
The strongest aspect of “Halloween Kills” is the acting as there are enough veteran actors in this film to make it watchable. Judy Greer is the film’s MVP playing the role of Laurie’s daughter Karen, the only person who acts like a rational person, grounding the film from flying off the rails.
Anthony Michael Hall plays Tommy Doyle, who was one of the kids Laurie babysat in 1978. Hall’s character represents a small group of survivors who were indirectly in the line of fire of Myers but lived to tell the story. Tommy introduces a very intriguing twist to the story as the guy who inspires the town to fight back before the writing team of Scott Teems, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green drops the ball on the story. Jaime Lee Curtis is back and you can tell that she has been here before. Curtis isn’t in the movie much but she is the thread that keeps the whole thing in place.
As far as violence goes, the film does not hold back on the brutality and innovation behind Michael’s kills. Whether it is with his signature butcher’s knife or with his bare hands, Michael Myers is presented as a tank that no human can stop and it isn’t from a lack of trying. Halloween Kills takes the old school slasher genre of horror and turns it up to its max. It is every other aspect of the film that suffers as a result.
“Halloween Kills” is a film for the hardcore Halloween franchise fans because the movie assumes that you have already seen all of the previous films before walking into this one. The film dedicates its time to callbacks and Easter eggs of previous Halloween movies rather than telling a competent story.
Just like Halloween (2018), this film introduces a fresh angle to the story fooling audiences into thinking that this won’t be your average slasher film. By the 2nd act however, it throws away all of its good will reducing them to square one.
The town of Haddonfield is about to turn the tables on Michael Myers by bringing the fight and the numbers to him. Sadly, plot included stupidity takes over as the townsfolk devolve into a bunch of buffoons who make every wrong decision along the way to get them or others killed. The storyline turns into a cautionary tale of letting an angry group of people lash out against the innocent which in turn does nothing for the story.
Speaking of plot included stupidity, nobody in this film locks their doors or hears anyone breaking into their homes. People often decide to split up, defeating the entire purpose of their strength by numbers advantage. In a small town, nobody owns a gun and the ones who do are more dangerous to themselves than the person they are shooting at.
Every segment of the film delivers one eye rolling decision after another.
“Halloween Kills” takes a potential positive and turns it into a negative by attempting to make political commentary on American Reactionarism. This film was supposed to release weeks before last year’s presidential election so the film’s lectures you about living in a Trumpian nightmare as Michael Myers’s body count is almost exclusively the town’s progressive demographic. It is bad enough that the movie fails to be interesting as a slasher but the TED Talk on 2016 related PTSD makes the audience regret even getting the film a chance.
If you watched the last Halloween film, then there is nothing new that Halloween Kills brings to the table. There isn’t any justification for these films to exist outside of a quick buck for Universal but in the post-COVID world, even that short term goal is off the table.