The Boogeyman is alive, but the people of Haddonfield rise against him. Halloween Kills puts its fans in an interesting situation on where the franchise will lead them. This was definitely a film on my radar this year after a successful reinvention of Michael Myers in 2018. Much like a good script, you have to be left wondering what happens next and the idea of Michael Myers surviving the end of Halloween and the hint of a “no holds barred” face-off between Myers and Strode is too tantalising for all horror fans to ignore. Halloween Kills is not that film, we’ll have to wait until next year for that. Until then, the film can live up to a more aggressive Michael Myers, but it is in the story of Haddonfield rising up where the film falters.
The film certainly lives up to its title as can expect a lot of kills in the film, upwards of thirty characters meet their demise, the most there has ever been in the franchise and is closing in on Jason Voorhees for the top spot of most kills by a horror villain. As an added bonus, these kills are some of the most brutal committed by Michael Myers which should satisfy the gore lovers among you. These aren’t just brutal either, they’re pretty creative as well, with Michael using a variety of weapons from a tube light bulb to an electric saw before opting for his signature butcher knife. The kills are also accompanied by haunting images of the aftermath as Michael Myers takes the time to either stuff their bodies in Halloween masks, or letting a dying woman watch Michael stab the knives he doesn’t want into her husbands back. Needless to say, this Halloween is the darkest in terms of sick imagery, but for the coldness of the Myers character it is one fans will be appreciative of.
What’s more impressive however are the callbacks to the original Halloween of 1978. As part of the films retconning of the Halloween sequels, Halloween Kills offers to rewrite the timeline and give us more on what happened on the night of 1978, essentially answering how Michael Myers was caught and imprisoned. At the centre of these flashbacks is not Laurie Strode but a young Officer Hawkins (Thomas Mann), whose regret is explored as, like Laurie, has his own trauma that links back to Michael Myers. There is a clear distinction between modern days scenes and scenes set in the 70’s because the 1978 scenes have near identical composition to the original Halloween film, you feel transported back to 1978 because they are shot that well. If you showed those scenes to someone and told them it was filmed in 1978, they would likely believe you, it’s that well made.
Now that all fine and well, we get our fill of Michael Myers kills, revisits to the original Halloween, but it’s the story of the present where this film causes all sorts of problems. The first of which being there isn’t much action from Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis). Granted she’s been through hell and back in the 2018 Halloween but she just remains in the hospital for the entirety of the film (the exception being the opening scene). So those who are still banking on a Laurie vs Michael showdown will
It was pretty remarkable how the film managed to bring back other characters and actors from the original Halloween and give them a decent role to play in Halloween Kills as the leaders of the mob, however this idea of a mob joining to kill Michael Myers doesn’t exactly stick the landing. For the one the obvious commentary on mob mentality is initiated out of nowhere as a mental patient who escaped along with Michael Myers is mistaken for the Shatner-mask wearing killer. The scene is filled with all the cliches designed to make audiences think, but they don’t make us feel. Moments in this scene that should make us feel sad instead make us numb to any emotional response.
The lack of story is made even clearer by scenes that don’t exactly lead anywhere or don’t add to what the film is going for. Several scenes and diverging plots could have easily been cut out for how pointless they are for the story being told. For instance, there’s a whole point about how a young Michael Myers used to look out of his sister’s window when he was 6, as a way to try and figure out what made him turn into the psychopath you see today. These scenes send a mixed message to its audience because it had already made the decision of Michael being the essence of evil, and now the films wants us to think about why he kills? We’re perfectly fine with Michael being an unkillable evil, don’t try and make us understand him. The entire Halloween series is built on not understanding him.
Halloween Kills will without a shadow of a doubt divide fan opinion, but I think I have an idea of how sides will be chosen. The filmmakers are betting on the idea that after watching Halloween 2018, you would have watched the original Halloween. If you have done this, you’ll enjoy Halloween Kills, but if you have only ever watched the 2018 film, you may find yourself disappointed by Halloween Kills, the exception being you just want to see Michael Myers kill people in gruesome ways. This does feel like a feature long prologue to next years Halloween Ends, so I guess we’ll have to wait longer for our final Laurie Strode vs Michael Myers showdown.
Final Result: 5/10 – Average
Have you seen Halloween Kills? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
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