Per Matt
The brutal rivalry/competition between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers is endless. Good vs. evil duking it out during a creepy holiday felt like great storytelling more than 40 years ago, so what’s an apex predator to do for an encore in the next millennium? Halloween Kills attempts to answer that question in this second selective sequel to the iconic horror franchise.

The bogeyman is back in Haddonfield, Illinois, “a simple town where nothing exciting ever happens…”

Picking up the pieces immediately where the 2018 film left off, Laurie’s headed to the hospital and 1978 flashbacks give police officer Hawkins a juicy backstory. Hey, if there can be a selective sequel within the franchise, then there can also be a new story that follows the original characters many years later, even if they were minor characters (Isn’t that right, A Quiet Place Part II?).

“We will never succumb to fear.”

All grown up, many of Michael’s victims have suffered from psychological terror for years. Every time the spooky season returns, the locals relive emotional scars will never heal, which they spent decades trying to forget. Infected by grief, they unite the town to hunt down this unstable psychopath as a vigilante mob once they learn he’s still alive, fighting without the support of law enforcement. Will the massacre continue?

“Michael Myers has haunted this town for 40 years… tonight we hunt him down.”

I still love the iconic Halloween soundtrack that sounds simple at first, but sticks with you long after the movie’s end credits disappear. It’s got a complexity that feels like it is expanded with this film and I loved every second of it that I heard.

Forty-three years after the original film was released, is it possible to make this unstoppable monster a complicated character? At times, it feels like McBride et al. pay respect to Carpenter, as this feels like an homage to the original release, but not a lot is added to the overall mythology. It’s basically a revenge fantasy… without Jamie Lee Curtis. Say, what?

Halloween Kills plays “Where’s Laurie?” Photo Courtesy: Universal Studios.

The first 53 minutes of film happen mostly without Laurie, which feels like it could have been presented as a spinoff. Recovering from her wounds, she spends the entirety of her brief screen time within the hospital, coping with the past. As such, Kills is intentionally slow at parts in order to ramp up the creep factor, other times it’s due to too many expositions. While this definitely feels like a throwback film, I’ve got to question a few specifics.

From a film franchise perspective, having a supernatural killer is good business. But from a story that portrays him as human — practically begging for some sympathy — the suspension of disbelief is just too much, even for this horror fan.

A 6-year-old boy with the strength of a man and the mind of an animal is the best description I’ve ever heard of Michael Myers, given by his on-screen hunters. The character’s element of surprise is second to none, but Kills truly feels like the middle chapter of a trilogy (which it is), in that no true resolution is forthcoming — yet.

The Shape is definitely a Big Bad to be reckoned with and having a story revolve around these “final girls” was nostalgic, but they should have remained part of the B-story, with Laurie leading at least half of the film. That doesn’t happen here and it truly feels like a wasted opportunity for this franchise. Curtis very likely won’t be appearing in many more sequels.

What happens when fanboys become filmmakers? What about fandom journalism? Both scenarios are alive and well in 2021, but this release didn’t seem like John Carpenter was in control of the storyline at all (at least the previous one felt like he was leading it).

For two long years I’ve waited for this film to be released, so what’s another one (or two) for this selective sequel trilogy to be completed? I’d really like to see Carpenter release some new material through the Blumhouse banner (although I’m afraid they may look like some of George Romano’s final attempts).

Trick or treating used to be so simple and much more kind; kids today will never really know how much fun it used to be. After watching any modern Michael Myers flick, they may never want to, either.

With the four Welcome to the Blumhouse releases and now Halloween Kills, the house of horrors has every inch of the spooky season covered. Proceed at your own risk…

“Evil dies tonight!!!”