HALLOWEEN KILLS ½
2021, R, 106 mins.
Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode / Judy Greer as Karen Nelson / Andi Matichak as Allyson Nelson / Will Patton as Frank Hawkins / Thomas Mann as Young Hawkins / Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle / Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace / Nancy Stephens as Marion Chambers / Charles Cyphers as Leigh Brackett / Nick Castle as The Shape / James Jude Courtney as Michael MyersDirected by David Gordon Green / Written by Green, Danny McBride, and Scott Teems
HALLOWEEN KILLS is a most strange cinematic beast.
It's the direct sequel to 2018's HALLOWEEN, which was, in turn, a direct sequel and soft reboot to John Carpenter's pioneering slasher effort of the exact same name from 1978 (it should be noted that David Gordon Green's film all but threw up the finger wag of shame to all of the HALLOWEEN sequels that we've received over the last several decades and ignored them...continuity be damned!).
impossible to understate how important the very first seventies era
HALLOWEEN was for the genre and its future moving forward, which single
handedly created the whole "slasher" craze that - for better or
worse - has permeated the movie landscape and market ever since.
I enjoyed Green's HALLOWEEN follow-up in terms of wiping the slate
clean from all of those intermittently forgettable and awful sequels, even
though I'll quickly concede that it lacked conceptual innovation and
strayed too close to tired and overused genre conventions for its own
Oh, back to HALLOWEEN KILLS.
this the very first direct sequel to a rebootquel?
In pure HALLOWEEN series fashion, HALLOWEEN KILLS takes a queue
from HALLOWEEN II (remember, that film has been ignored by these films...still
with me) by beginning its story directly and within minutes of
HALLOWEEN (the 2018 rebootquel, not Carpenter's 1978 original...you still
with me?) as we see the mentally and physically scarred Laurie Strode
(franchise mainstay Jamie Lee Curtis, who has never looked rougher in one
of these films) being rushed to the hospital with her daughter and
granddaughter in tow after a violent (and she hopes final)
altercation with the unstoppable serial killer machine "Shape"
himself, Michael Meyers, who was last seen burned alive (or...was he?).
When it comes to HALLOWEEN KILLS, this is a rebootquel sequel (still
still with me?) that's made with considerable flair and polish from a
highly skilled and assured director.
Having said that, this sequel is both simultaneously and frequently
appallingly awful in terms of fundamentally misunderstanding what
Carpenter achieved with this series all those years ago.
So many times in this film characters scream out "Evil dies
By the time I exited the cinema I was hoping that this newly
retooled HALLOWEEN series would also expire.
As established, HALLOWEEN KILLS begins exactly when HALLOWEEN ended, with Michael's apparent fiery death, which has caused Laurie to seek immediate medical care and her daughter in Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter in Allyson (Andi Matichak) trying to mentally process their trauma. Laurie is not quite on death's bed, but she's so horribly wounded from her ordeal that she's in a hospital bed recovering...for most of this movie (more on that in a bit). Laurie's hospital bedside neighbor is Officer Hawkins (Will Patton), whom was presumed dead after a standoff with Michael (in one of the film's few compelling sequences, we get an extended flashback montage that takes us back to the end of 1978's HALLOWEEN that shows the young deputy Hawkins having an equally rough encounter during Michael's first night of attack). These two have absolutely gone through the ringer with this madman.
only his evil could...END
Well, wouldn't ya know it, Michael somehow survived his flame filled tomb and is on the loose again. Coinciding with this is an annual town tradition that has the citizens of Haddonfield gather in a local watering hole to remember the victims lost way back in the 70s. One of the victims attending is Tommy (Anthony Michael Hall), who encountered Michael as boy, as well as Lindsay (Kyle Richards), Marion (Nancy Stephens), and Lonnie (Robert Longstreet), all of whom survived crossing paths with Michael (interestingly, we get multiple actors reprising their roles from the Carpenter original). When news breaks out that Michael has supernaturally made it out of the burned down house and is on the prowl again, Tommy launches a lynch mob with the remaining survivors (as well as just about everyone else in the town) to hunt this boogeyman down and murder-death-kill him...for realsies this time.
"EVIL DIES TONIGHT!!!" the angry mob chants throughout the story.
are we all kidding.
Yeah, good luck with that.
so let's chat for a second about fan servicing and angry lynch mobs.
HALLOWEEN KILLS really, really wants us to revisit the 1978
franchise starter by recreating that film's climax (or elements of it) to
experience it through a different character's perspective, but it also
gives us a series of aforementioned cameos by some of the bit characters
from Carpenter's film.
Hell, via some nifty VFX, we even get a surprise cameo by that
wacky Michael hunting Dr. Loomis (which is pretty damn convincing) during
the '78 flashback.
One of the larger issues with HALLOWEEN KILLS is the sheer number
of characters vying for attention here.
Gone is the lean and mean family dynamic of Laurie and her
offspring (and her offspring's offspring) going toe-to-toe with Michael,
and instead we get a bizarre menagerie of newly introduced characters that
are not in any meaningful way fleshed out, nor are they interesting in the
I think I understand where Green and his co-screenwriter in Danny
McBride want to go with this sequel in terms of showing how the
psychological damage inflicted by Michael decades ago has had a ripple
effect on the entire Haddonfield community, but the execution of this idea
is uninspired and half baked at best.
It's just clunky as hell.
allegorical elements here are also a bit on the nose and obvious too.
Yes, these townspeople have experienced unimaginable pain and
suffering, but now - gasp!!! - they're becoming the very collective
stalking monster that they're trying to nab and murder.
The commentary of mob/vigilante justice here lacks refinement and
has instead been broken down to its lowest common denominator ingredients
(also, there are hints of political sermonizing here, showing how Trumpism
has infected good people and turned them into one-note cretins).
I don't think this film's yearning to tackle social/political
themes is its total undoing, but this mob is comprised of so many
hopelessly imbecilic people that make cardinal horror movie 101 character
mistakes that I was just immediately taken out of the story altogether.
There's a moment, for example, when this angry mob descends on a
short, tubby, and unstable mental patient. This mob thinks that he's
an unmasked Michael.
Multiple people of this town have had deeply intimate
confrontations with the tall, lean, and psychically fit (at least for his
age) Michael, so how any of these clueless people would ever think that
this diminutive patient is evil personified is straining credulity to the
HALLOWEEN KILLS wants to be thematically smart, but is ultimately
so bloody dumb in its plotting.
This is one of the stupidest blood thirsty mobs in cinematic
two other large movie-breaking issues with HALLOWEEN KILLS are (a) Laurie
herself and (b) with this film's mean spirited level of ugly carnage.
Poor Jamie Lee Curtis.
As the series matriarch, she's really done a huge disservice here
in being bed ridden throughout most of HALLOWEEN KILLS (she doesn't even
utter a line of dialogue until the halfway point).
Considering the huge goodwill that her character received in 2018's
HALLOWEEN (being Sarah Connor-ized as a tough as nails warrior), seeing
her in post-surgery recovery mode here is a real letdown.
The biggest pleasure of this film's predecessor was seeing Laurie
take charge of her situation and go on the offensive against Michael,
which makes her minimized position in HALLOWEEN KILLS all the more
Secondly, Green seems to have gone all-in on rampant blood
curdling, bone crunching, and brain mattered spewing violence here, so
much so that his film becomes less and less scary as a result.
Carpenter's film was violent, to be sure, but it never wallowed in
His film was about fostering an undulating sensation of dread and
despair; it had a nail biting atmosphere and tension uniquely its own.
It's shocking how HALLOWEEN KILLS fumbles this aesthetic ball.
There's rarely a frightening moment to be had here, because this
film is so infatuated with Michael's gory murders.
The kills here are indeed clever and will appeal diehard slasher
film fanatics, but to what point?
HALLOWEEN KILLS comes off as just another assembly line slasher on
wash, rinse, and repeat cycle.
And Green should be above such trivialities.
There's going to be a HALLOWEEN ENDS next year to cap off this semi-self-contained trilogy.
Like, seriously, can evil just die then already!