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.