Halloween Kills is an ambitious take on a sequel. While the film picks up where 2018’s Halloween ended, this isn’t a movie about the franchise’s villain Michael Myers or his prime victim Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Instead, it’s a movie about Haddonfield and the mournful community who have been living in fear; being given a tormented reputation by its infamous serial killer. The locals, having not felt protected by the town’s law enforcement, rally together to prove that a mob mentality may be the correct way to rid Haddonfield of Michael Myers.
Halloween Kills is the movie I wanted The Forever Purge to be. The latter movie featured savages flipping the script on their bloodletting tradition. Why? Well, just because. Halloween Kills has the added factor of Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), a well-spoken and very convincing ringleader whose rallying morphs into antagonism and chaos. Doyle, like many in Haddonfield, has a personal history with Michael Myers and has been haunted by his encounter. He’s, understandably, very emotional and loyal to his community, but he doesn’t realize the degree of influence that his anger creates.
These personal connections have enough potential to launch the film’s premise. However, Halloween Kills doesn’t develop these characters past their primary memory and motivation. We see people differently interpret their experience, ranging from grief to amusing trick ‘r treat urban legends. This hints that the filmmakers want to tackle this primary threat from unexpected perspectives. But, the side stories often drag because the film zeroes in on uninteresting people. I truly believe the filmmakers have made the movie they intended to make (it would certainly fit in with director David Gordon Green’s previous work), but the results are too reflective of the townsfolk – it’s mundane and pretty boring.
Then, there’s the persisting issue with Myers’ invulnerability. The horror icon maintains their menacing image but, like earlier movies, Myers is simply unstoppable. Some townsfolk reunite with the villain and try to interrupt the killing spree, but it’s no use. It’s made clear that no matter who Michael Myers’ faces, Myers is always going to win. While this does result in relentless and memorable demises, it also creates a predictable formula for Halloween Kills and an unfortunate predicament for the viewer. The audience doesn’t count on anyone to make a difference because the cards have been stacked so heavily against our protagonists.
Despite its glaring flaws, Halloween Kills is still an efficient, “nuts-and-bolts” entry in the slasher horror genre. Green’s sequel does follow through and deliver on the audience’s most basic expectations. But as far as claiming any extra credit, the film only receives halfhearted encouragement for its efforts.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie