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Halloween Kills – Movie Review

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Halloween Kills – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

Three years ago, David Gordon Green was able to successfully bring Michael Myers back to Haddonfield in a new Halloween sequel. It required retconning every film made after 1978 to do it, but the result was a satisfying confrontation between Michael and Jamie Lee Curtis’s former babysitter Laurie Strode. In what is meant as the middle chapter in a trilogy, Halloween Kills still provides plenty of the murders one would hope for from one of these films. When the movie is focused on being a slasher film, that’s when it works best. However, Laurie does get pushed to the side and the messaging can be a tad obvious.

Some of the most creative directing choices on Green’s part come when he returns to the events in 1978. In those sequences, he presents an alternate Halloween II from what audiences saw in 1981 and they serve as a solid continuation. We see the immediate reaction to the events and how a young Deputy Hawkins confronted Michael. Even if the actor brought in to give new lines to Dr. Loomis sounds nothing like Donald Pleasence, these scenes are able to extend the story of the first film without insulting it. The impact Michael’s murders have on the town ultimately becomes a major theme in Halloween Kills.

Michael has less screentime here than he did in the previous movie, but that allows for more impact when he does appear. Green uses silence really well in building tension. There are a number of scenes where characters slowly investigate or try to hide from him and one doesn’t know when he will strike. There’s something about a seemingly empty house or a scene in the woods that provides a certain eeriness in a horror movie. For those looking for gruesome murders, Halloween Kills provides plenty of that. What makes Michael a scary character is he’s just a regular human, but without the empathy most of us have. He kills people out of his own fascination and wild animal instinct.

Despite the previous film being about Laurie’s trauma, she is largely sidelined here. More of the plot is instead given to Laurie’s daughter, her granddaughter and a grown-up Tommy Doyle. There is also a heavy emphasis on depicting mob mentality, a concept that starts off interesting and then becomes heavy-headed. These are the most over-the-top scenes in a movie that’s already not particularly subtle. The message is hammered into the viewer’s head, right down to a character stating the obvious theme at one point. The film stops at this moment and while it’s admirable what Green and his co-writers Danny McBride and Scott Teems are saying, the execution feels a little off. The attempts at comedy also don’t entirely work.

Halloween Kills definitely exists to set up the next film Halloween Ends and maybe seeing the conclusion to the trilogy will iron out the flaws here. The lack of much Laurie Strode is disappointing, as she mostly sits in a hospital bed during her screentime. The added attention to her daughter Karen is appreciated, even if there are some story decisions that are a little much. The filmmakers’ respect for the original Halloween shines through, though, and Michael Myers continues to shine. The film’s exploration of its themes can be a tad choppy, but at the end of the day, you watch a Halloween movie to see Michael creep and stalk.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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