'Halloween Kills' Delivers Exactly What the Title Promises Directed by David Gordon Green
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Anthony Michael Hall
Published Oct 15, 2021Halloween Kills is the darkest chapter in the beloved franchise – a film we've patiently waited for a year (the initial release was planned for October 2020). At times messy, most times gory, the film is still worth the watch on the big-screen.
Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as survivor Laurie Strode, while Judy Greer continues as Laurie's daughter Karen, and Andi Matichak is back as Laurie's granddaughter Allyson, continuing the storyline of 2018's Halloween.
The film begins with a 12-minute prologue, taking place right after the events of the 1978 Halloween. Then cut to the present, and it picks up right after the events of the 2018 film, when Laurie, Karen and Allyson trap Michael Myers in Laurie's house and burn it to the ground. The three women are rushed to the hospital, while Michael escapes the scene and leaves behind a massacre of firefighter bodies.
Michael returns to Haddonfield and continues to slash away. Meanwhile, in the hospital, Laurie, Karen and Allyson are shocked (in a very dramatic and hilarious scene) to find out Michael is still alive. An angry mob appears at the hospital in search of their loved ones who were slaughtered by Michael. They decide to take things in their own hand and end this trauma.
The garnishings we've come to expect with this franchise are well delivered. There's a blend of slasher gore with more than enough humour in service of the story. There are a few surprises, as the filmmakers bring in characters who survived in the original film to take over in this one as they deal with their emotional trauma. Fans will witness new, inventive kills, and even one particularly smart, accidental kill that had the audience's laughter booming through the theatre. That added to the moment.
The jump scares that I always look forward to are far and few between, but when they do happen, they really pack a punch. Director David Gordon Green makes good use of his visuals as he lingers longer in dark corners, doorways and window reflections. These scenes are further heightened by the iconic John Carpenter score.
Curtis, however, was not utilized enough in this sequel. She appears as a bystander in her own movie, with a few scenes that she nails, quite naturally, but she never comes face-to-mask with the killer. Maybe this is being saved for the grand finale of Green's trilogy, Halloween Ends, expected to release next year. But a showdown with more Curtis is what we've come to expect in the Halloween films. It's a tradition, really.
Halloween Kills is one of the most brutal and gore-filled entries in the franchise. The kills are extremely violent, with eyes gouged out or stabbed, and necks slashed repeatedly. There's one brutal stairway kill that will forever be buried in our brains. Yes, we've come to expect this in a slasher franchise, but this one certainly takes (or kills) the cake.
The film felt incredibly political at times, especially when Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), a survivor of the 1978 events seen in flashbacks, leads an angry mob with their "evil dies tonight" chant, visually evoking the real-life Capitol Hill mob scene (even though Halloween Kills was actually filmed well before January 6, 2021). Later, the failure of the police system is further touched upon when Karen tells her mother that "there's a system!" and Laurie corrects her dramatically, "Well, the system failed." The horror genre is a great vehicle for addressing social and political themes, but this felt too on-the-nose.
The script is messy and all over the place, but the performances make it rewarding, coupled with the cheesy-yet-hilarious dialogue. What makes Halloween Kills an entertaining watch and one that deserves a big-screen treatment is the joy of cheering on your favourite characters along with a crowd. The booing, the laughs and the applause fill the other-wise silent cinema with a rush that only a movie-going experience provides. There's no doubt that horror movies are best experienced in cinema, but with a legacy film like this, and after the year we've had, it holds more value. (Universal)