You have to appreciate a movie that does what it’s poster claims.
Halloween Kills might not be the best film in a 40 year old franchise that branched off into 3 separate storylines, a remake (with a sequel) and an Anthology entry in the middle. Still, it’s so much better than 1995’s Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween: Resurrection. It brings the carnage in quick, and despite some missteps, it tries to do some good. However, there’s only so much you can bring to the table with a story that’s gone on for this long. I didn’t outright hate it, but I didn’t see myself returning to it in the way I did with Malignant or Dune, even though it’s available to watch on NBC/Universal’s Peacock streaming service.
Much like 1981’s Halloween II, Halloween Kills takes place just a few minutes right after 2018’s Halloween, with the Strode house burning and Michael believed to be stuck in the basement. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is injured and on her way to the hospital with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Andi Matichak). The town of Haddonfield is attempting to recover from yet another Myers incident. You’d think that after 40 years of all this, they’d have an entire Myers Assault Force or something, but we’re not quite there yet. After all, in this continuity change, Haddonfield only has Michael’s childhood incident and the 1978 one. Despite this, the town has finally had enough of Michael’s antics and band together (with Tommy in the lead) to finish him. To quote Laurie, “Evil Dies Tonight!”
They’re so doomed.
Mind you, this isn’t the first time that Haddonfield’s tried to turn the tables on Myers, though it is a first for this particular universe. They tried back in Halloween 4, but it didn’t quite work out. Halloween Kills poses a quiet question of who is worse: The single killer on the loose, or the angry mob that’s after him?
I’ll admit that I enjoyed the return of some familiar faces in Pamela Susan Shoop (the nurse who was with Loomis when Michael stole their station wagon) and Kyle Richards (Lindsay, the little girl who Laurie was babysitting). Tommy Doyle is there as well, but the adult version of him is played by Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight). They even managed to bring back Charles Cyphers as the former Haddonfield Sheriff. I’ll give this version kudos for delivering some fan service with those cameos. By far, the best addition to the cast was a cameo by The Wolf of Snow Hollow‘s Jim Cummings as one of the Haddonfield Police. Having played a cop in both of his previous films, it was a perfect fit here.The film also weaves a bit of Saw-like magic by expanding on the 1978 Halloween Night. While it’s not a perfect fit to the original events, it adds a somewhat fresh coat of paint to the new storyline that’s in effect here. It’s one of the places where the movie actually shines. They can weave a whole new backstory for Michael, and I’m here for it.
The gore levels in Halloween are your typical fare, as this version of Michael is much more vicious than his earlier counterparts. We can chalk that up to the changing times, I imagine. Like every Halloween, there are a few unnecessary kills – random families that are taken out just to up the body count while you may wonder what these individuals have to do with anything. If you don’t have any problems with that, then the film’s definitely worth a watch. At least in Halloween & Halloween II, the murders were connections to Laurie (her friends) or obstacles in Michael’s way (the Hospital Staff). With Halloween Kills, Michael just executes anyone who’s in his vicinity, which was the same problem I had with the film before it.
The other issue is that Laurie sits this fight out for most the film. With her injuries being pretty extensive, she instead takes on the role of harbinger, reminding her children and her Sheriff friend (played by Will Patton) that Michael is coming and has to be stopped. She’s the new Loomis, for the most part. Anyone walking into this film expecting a face off between Laurie and Michael will probably want to hold out for the next installment.
The Carpenters (Cody and his dad, John) do a good job, musically. There’s no complaints there. I also have to admit that the sound quality is also pretty good in this film. Overall, Halloween Kills is a fun film if you’re not expecting too much and you need something to close your night with. With a runtime of about an hour and 50 minutes, it doesn’t lag too much, though it stumbles a little through the town revenge plot. It’s definitely worth it to get to the last 15 minutes or so.
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