“Halloween Kills,” a sequel to 2018’s Halloween, showed how weaponizing pain can cause individuals to become as depraved as the entity they are fighting.
The writers Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, and Scott Teems hoped to accomplish that, in addition to addressing those Haddonfield residents who have also been impacted by Michael Myers’ attacks beyond the Strode family. In spite of a plethora of grisly kills and thrills, the film’s tone is too uneven, and the story so superficial that it does little to advance the story, which should be completed in one more movie.
Directed by Green (who has directed the previous installments as well), “Halloween Kills” takes place immediately after the events of “Halloween” and is set in the same night as its predecessor. Allyson (Andi Matichak), Laurie’s granddaughter, travels to the hospital with her mother Karen (Judy Greer) following the attack by Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney).
Michael is once again on the loose after he is discovered not to have died in the house fire he was trapped in. An evening of remembrance for Haddonfield’s original 1978 attacks brings a group of survivors together to remember the anniversary. The group rallies together to defeat Michael for good.
There are many references and callbacks to the original film in the new one, as well as characters played by the original actor. These include Kyle Richards as Lindsay, one of the kids Laurie babysat in 1978, Nancy Stephens as Dr. Sam Loomis’ former assistant Marion Chambers, and Charles Cyphers as former Haddonfield sheriff Leigh Brackett, whose daughter was killed in the 1978 attack. Another old character resurrected by new characters is Lonnie Elam played by Robert Longstreet and Tommy Doyle, another child Laurie babysat who becomes the child leader.
The way “Halloween Kills” expands on the original story is unnecessary. The movie opens with a flashback to 1978 during which deputy Frank Hawkins is accidentally shot and killed by his officer and then prevents Dr. Loomis from carrying out Michael’s execution, a decision he regrets looking back on the moment.
It doesn’t do much to increase the importance of the original movie or of the current storyline. While the movie is frequently more about pleasing the fans-which is fine if they like it-than telling the story that the first film set up as focusing on three generations of Strode women, it is often more about satisfying the fans than telling the story. Their presence is almost nonexistent as “Halloween Kills” focuses on a bunch of clumsy fools’ efforts to foil Michael. Although the film is supposed to be about trauma, Karen and Allyson barely even mourn their father and husband’s deaths. He is barely even mentioned.
It’s also at this point that the movie feels like it doesn’t fully understand what it’s trying to be. We already know where Michael is located at the beginning of the film, so the action doesn’t really build up, and the scenes go back and forth between serious and slapstick. Almost comically, when a group of characters runs into Michael, he kills them one by one, as their stupid, halfhearted attempts at survival are swiftly thwarted.
Although I have to admit that a lot of these scenes are fun, the movie also makes an attempt to be a cautionary tale that doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the film. Tommy whips the crowd into a vengeful frenzy, chanting “evil dies tonight,” as they prepare to bring down Michael in the hospital. The horrible consequences of their violent lust result in them attacking the first person they see who is suspicious. The film’s aim is to explore the idea of a monster creating even more monsters, and thus, creating even more monsters, but the concept is handled poorly, and is not woven into the story.
In spite of what many have said, “Halloween Kills” is not a bad movie. Blood and guts are plentiful in slasher films. Nevertheless, there are many dialogues that could have been cut, as they don’t feel natural at all. Despite its epic nature, it’s hard not to wonder exactly what the point of this film is when it ends almost in the same place we started.