Halloween Kills – 4/10
It’s that time of the year were we make another (yes another) trip to Haddonfield, Illinois to see how many bodies Michael Myers is stacking up in the brand new Halloween Kills that was released to cinemas last week.
The new instalment in this painful franchise follows 2018’s reboot Halloween and was promising to be more gruesome and shocking than its predecessor with Michael returning to terrorise a few new familiar faces from the Halloween Greatest Hits album.
I’ll start by saying that I loved 2018’s movie, it was terrifying, the kills were pretty innovative and it actually had quite an intelligent story to it. Not only did it include one of my favourite one shots in a movie when Michael goes round a few houses to kill people but it neatly reversed the roles of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers in that this time it was The Shape who was being hunted by the vengeful Strode in a game of cat and mouse. News of a sequel pleased me as the reboot was so well done, it finally shone a positive light on the franchise after dreadful sequels and remake attempts but most importantly, it remained true to John Carpenter’s original whilst still bringing the classic into the modern era.
Halloween Kills was originally slated for an October 2020 release but like many movies it fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic and was delayed a whole year.
The movie begins immediately after the 2018 Halloween ends followed by an extended flashback scene to the 1978 original that gives us a better insight into what the police were doing on the night Michael came home and we see how they managed to arrest him. Ignoring all the sequels that came before it, the 2018 movie introduced us to Deputy Frank Hawkins, a police officer who was involved in the hunt for Myers during his initial killing spree in 1978. We see a younger Hawkins in the movie’s opening and get a clearer backstory in his involvement that night and the consequences of his actions that have remained with him until present day. Hawkins was last seen being stabbed in the neck by Michael’s psychiatrist in the last one and I presumed he just bled out to die but he is found alive at the beginning and spends the remainder of the story lying in a hospital bed.
Speaking of lying in a hospital bed, Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode for a sixth time. A very different Laurie in this movie though, unlike the last time we seen her where she is very much all out action ready for a fight. Here she can’t really do much other than lie about her hospital room due to injuries sustained from Michael in their last encounter. Curtis is probably the main victim of the film having too many characters in that there really isn’t anything meaningful she can do that helps develop the plot further, she is completely sidelined despite being top billed on the cast. There is a small glimpse at some sort of romantic connection with her and Hawkins as the two speak of the past and blame themselves for Michael’s rampage. I get that her character needed development of some sort but this seemed out of place considering it was made quite obvious how alienated she had become in the last one so going to being extremely bottled up to now showing her feelings to someone was a quick personality change.
Let’s talk about the rest of the cast from the previous movie, they become side characters for the majority to help integrate the returning characters of Tommy Doyle, Lindsey Wallace, Marion Chambers, Lonnie Elam and Sheriff Brackett. There is just too much going on with characters from the previous movie, characters from the original movie and new characters that finds it hard to keep track of who’s who. Tommy Doyle, the young boy that Laurie was babysitting the night of Michael’s murders in 1978, is played by Anthony Michael Hall. A real shame they couldn’t persuade Paul Rudd to return but I guess his Tommy Doyle was retconned out of existence so this one is very different and in many ways the main protagonist to Halloween Kills. Tommy, along with the original survivors meet up every year to toast the victims of that night and they have all built an emotional connection over the traumas they have suffered. Even Lonnie Elam, a character that is barely in the original but Kills tries so hard to make him as important as the rest but it just doesn’t work.
The Strode family are stronger than ever it seems after they believe to have finally put an end to the Shape but this is a horror sequel and as good cliche shows us, the killer always comes back for more. In this case it turns out that Michael survived the fire started at the finale of Halloween and he does not hesitate to get out there and take more blood as he murders a group of firemen on the scene before drifting off to find more people to kill. Halloween Kills by name Halloween Kills by nature, this movie features an extremely high body count but not in a good way, some of the kills are just down right comical. Michael, known for his stalking and and toying of his victims, is all over the place here. One minute he’s breaking through doors to kill people (which seems to happen a lot now) then the next he’s just forcing sharp objects into people’s necks. I actually laughed out loud at how ridiculous one of the kills were, he genuinely kicks a car door at someone’s hand that makes their own hand swerve round and shoot themself in the head. Going back to the same problem of Lonnie Elam, when he does kill people there is no emotional attachment to most of the people he kills so most of the onscreen deaths we witness have no baring on the story whatsoever. I’ll make one exception when he brutally snaps Alyson Strode’s boyfriend’s neck but even then he kissed someone else and was a total dick!
There is a very weird sub plot involving another inmate that escaped with Michael who keeps showing up throughout Haddonfield, giving Tommy Doyle and his newly formed mob of ‘Michaelbusters’ false impressions that he is Michael after learning that he’s back. This eventually leads to them forcing the lunatic to jump out of a hospital window following a chase up the longest flight of stairs in history. The inmates death prompts quite an interesting dynamic and theme that the people’s obsession for justice is actually bringing out the worst in them. It’s an intriguing direction to go down but I mean why do it in a way that sympathises a fellow asylum inmate, who knows what he has done in the past…maybe stuff even worse than Michael Myers! The movie makes viewers feel sorry for him and when he is forced to jump to his death it gives you a slight distaste towards the Haddonfield residents, the people that you should be rooting for.
In a year’s time we do it all again with Halloween Ends, yes they are dragging this out for a big finish to end of the new trilogy meaning that Halloween Kills would need to surely end on a huge cliffhanger? It does but is executed in the most terrible way that by this point we should just admit that Michael cannot be stopped. Karen Strode, played by Judy Greer, comes to her daughter Alyson’s rescue just as she is about to killed by Michael in the old Myers house. She leads Michael into a trap surrounded by Tommy Doyle and his crew, only this time without Marion Chambers and Lonnie as they are killed earlier in the movie but I wasn’t bothered by that and neither should you be. Lindsey Wallace isn’t there either but this isn’t explained so let’s just make our own theory as to what happened to her, she’s somewhere safe watching the alternative ending to Halloween Resurrection wondering why she ever agreed to return. After the mob take turns at individually beating up Michael with sticks, baseballs bats, infinity gauntlets, lightsabers, batarangs, Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 script and guns, Karen provides the fatal blow by stabbing Michael’s own knife into his back presumably putting him to an end once and for all. Now I know what you’re thinking, we still have one movie to go so that can’t be it can it? As Karen reunites with her traumatised daughter, the Shape awakens again and murders the entire mob in one big lifeless montage. So much for the whole “evil dies tonight” stuff that was really getting them motivated throughout the movie. Michael doesn’t break a sweat here as he kills every one of them including Sheriff Bracket and Tommy. Are there many characters actually left in this thing now? Wait we still have the Strode family, I forgot Laurie still existed she had been sidelined that much. Unfortunately just two of them now though as the movie’s final scene shows Michael appear from behind Karen and stab her to death as Laurie looks out into the distance totally oblivious that her daughter is being murdered at the same time. Poor Judy Greer, she deserved so much better in this film but at least she got to take Michael’s mask from him.
What a total mess of an ending and more so a total mess of an entire movie. I found myself laughing at parts that I don’t think were intended to be funny and I know characters in horror movies aren’t the brightest but Halloween Kills displays a complete lack of intelligence with all of their main characters who continually keep making stupid decisions that ultimately lead to their own demise. The sad part of all of this is that there is still another one to go and I have no idea where they take it from here after going against everything they done so well to evolve in 2018. It follows a whole line of movies that go one movie too far in trying to create something that it’s not, the fact that this has been written as a trilogy with far too many misdirections gives me zero hope that Halloween Ends will be able to salvage any of the wreckage that has come from Halloween Kills.