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Halloween Kills

*
2021

‘…having withheld any meaningful action for the third and hopefully final film, Halloween Kills has nowhere to go…’

Sigh. I’m really struggling with the endlessly confusing Halloween timeline, with at least four separate continuations of the celebrated 1978 John Carpenter slasher to juggle with. 2021’s Halloween Kills sees David Gordon Green and Danny McBride return to the Haddonfield community for another go round with supernaturally strong killer Michael Myers as he slices and dices his way through various innocent bystanders. 2019’s Halloween reboot, which ignored all sequels other than the original film, was a big success, and seems to have spurred film-makers to imagine a trilogy of terror; let’s hope the final instalment works better than this.

I reviewed 1981’s Halloween II a couple of weeks ago, and marvelled at how much it was treading water; the two main characters, Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) are kept away from the vicious Michael until the final scene. Halloween Kills goes one better by  skipping Loomis and just having Michael Myers and Laurie in different parts of the town; that’s right, heroine and villain never actually set eyes on each other here for the entire length of the film. Instead, a fresh collection of townspeople, led by now-grown-up Tommy (80’s teen star Anthony Michael Hall) attempt to track down Myers and end his reign of violence ‘Evil dies tonight!’ they chant as they search for revenge. Of course, their attempt to clean up the streets does not go well…

Having withheld any meaningful action for the third and hopefully final film, Halloween Kills has nowhere to go; the best bit is yet another retconning of the original film at the start, with an unwary policeman (Jim Cummings) getting caught in Michael Myers’ house before Dr Loomis attempts to capture him. Beyond that, it’s just kill, kill, kill, and the level of gore is extreme. One scene features an old woman who is dispatched as Michael pulls a fluorescent kitchen-light tube out of an oven, breaks it, sticks the jagged edge through her throat and gouges away at it. It’s just one of a plethora of similarly nasty kills, and even for a slasher movie, it’s just too much when there’s absolutely zero narrative thrust to go alongside it.

Halloween Kills really doesn’t kill, or even entertain; it’s a slapdash, confusing and inconsequential sequel that invents all kinds of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern minor-character action around the edges of the original and accidentally rubbishes the more direct, boiler-plate drama of the previous film. These things do seem to make money, but the law of diminishing returns applied here; if Laurie and Michael ever face their final confrontation, I’m not sure who will be left watching beyond hard-core masochists. Halloween Kills doesn’t Kill, it Sucks and Blows simultaneously.

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    • That’s fair enough, it’s well done of it’s kind, and there’s certainly slashers that give me that vibe. Sometimes simple pleasures are best.

    • Rotten Tomatoes won’t allow zero star ratings, but I did kind of like the retro opening, so one star is about right. There’s so many interesting angles they could have run with, but it’s 100 minutes of bloody tapdancing….

  1. That type of graphic violence that you described is just wrong. Gratuitously catering to the absolute worst part of humanity, ugh.

    Who plays Laurie in these reboots anyway? While I was never a big fan of Curtis, she had presence in the few movies I did watch. Just wondering who has to try to fill her boots.

    • Jamie Lee Curtis is back, but has a fright wig on and lies in a hospital bed for the duration of this one. Hopefully she gets a good pay-day out of these films, somebody must get some reward…

      Yup, I desribed that scene in detail to scare off casual viewers. I’m fairly unshockable, but it genuinely concerns me that we’d consider a scene like that as entertainment…

        • I’m no prude, but giving the public a direct lesson on how to craft and effectively use everyday household objects as murder weapons will not end well for anyone…

  2. I was really disappointed by the last one, despite all the over-the-top coverage it got and the money it made. My expectations for this one are very, very low which means I’ll probably like it better.

    • I really doubt it. The first one ie the 2019 version was probably the best stand-alone film since the first, but this really is a waste of time. Having seen the first one, you’ll know it’s a Michael vs Laurie story. So a sequel in which they never meets is pointless. It’s like Sleepless in Seattle, they just keep meeting each other until the climax, except they don’t meet then either. Sigh.

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