Director: David Gordon Green
Writers: Scott Teems, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Judy Greet, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Anthony Michael Hall, Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens and Robert Longstreet
The middle part of the new Halloween trilogy is finally here after being delayed a year. Following on from the badly titled Halloween (a sequel to the 1978 film of the same name), Halloween Kills picks up almost exactly where the 2018 film ends. The new trilogy continues the story from John Carpenter’s classic ignoring the sequels and reboots and focusing on being a sequel to the original film.
The 2018 film ended with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) injured but victorious over of the monstrous Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney). He has been left in her compound to burn. It’s not long before he escapes the flames and wreaks havoc on Haddonfield once again. The town sets out to defend itself with the chant ‘evil dies tonight’
While the 2018 film is a true sequel to the original, keeping the feel and tone of it while also doing its own thing and setting up a trilogy, Halloween Kills is a bit of a mess. Gone is the dark and brooding tension, which is replaced by over-the-top violence and action. There isn’t a moment in the film that is close to being scary. The violence and deaths are entertaining, but it’s not a patch on the horror of what came before.
The film is also rooted in nostalgia. The opening credits recreate the opening credits of the original, with the same dated orange and grainy writing. Some familiar characters reappear from the original, including a few that have been re-cast. Towards the beginning there is an extended flashback sequence that isn’t necessary in the slightest. It shows what happens after the end of the original film, something that was explained in a line of dialogue in the 2018 film. The nostalgia is charming, but it’s overdone.
Halloween Kills really suffers for being the middle part of the trilogy. It takes a very long time to get going, and apart from very small sections, not a lot really happens. Beyond the final moments, the situation is almost identical at the end as it is at the beginning. The whole film feels kind of pointless, which is a real shame because the 2018 was so great. Making things worse is how slow this one is. It takes what feels like an age to get going. The set-up is already done, so instead we get an extended flashback and padding that just isn’t needed.
There are still some good moments in the film, with the best being the mistaken identity bit in the middle, without giving anything away. It’s the tensest part of the film. There’s a death where someone falls from a window, which is horrific. The sequence, which falls apart if you really think about it (It relies on the crowd not knowing what Myers looks like, despite his face being shown on the news earlier, blurry for us as the audience, although surely not for the characters?), is the highlight of the film. Saying this, the frenzy of the mob isn’t really convincing, again it’s over-the-top and filled with awkward dialogue.
Overall, it’s a truly forgettable film. It’s over-the-top silly with clunky dialogue and a plot that meanders along to set up the final part of the trilogy, Halloween Ends, which is due out next year. The violence is good, but it’s not scary and it’s too boring to ever really be entertaining. Even John Carpenter’s excellent score can’t save it.