Halloween Kills (2021)
Recently I was allowed to see Halloween Kills. It's the second film in a planned trilogy. I'll keep it SPOILER FREE… for now. I've been a lifelong fan of the series. I took the time last week to watch the other films in anticipation of this. What I love about the franchise is how even the worst Halloween movies are fun to watch. No matter how nonsensical, they don't take themselves too seriously. I think all great horror franchises succeed in this. Similarly, a trilogy should consistently build the story while each installment stands on its own for its reasons. Each installment should in turn add something new to the story to build the world while developing the characters. It's not horror but that's why the Star Wars Prequel and Original trilogies work so well while the latest one was a disaster. The more recent Fear Street Trilogy excels at this too. So does the 12th film in the franchise kill it or die trying?
It opens with a stunning callback to the 78 original. I loved the title card and the opening number, updating the classic theme song. The attention to detail is impeccable in the flashback. From how it looks to how it includes original characters is a nice addition.
Written by David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, and Scott Teems, unfortunately, there isn't much of a story. It's a vapid nonsensical Michael Myers killing spree while he's chased by an angry mob. Many references to previous films are made which I greatly appreciated. Incredible concepts are introduced but poorly executed. Characters inexplicably make dumb decisions for no apparent reason. They couldn't decide between it being grounded in reality or supernatural. This gets tedious after a while because it takes itself too seriously but has no clear rationale. No new ideas were introduced either just recycled old plotlines from previous films they chose to ignore continuity-wise. It puzzles me why never talk about Mike Myer's parents and how it affects them. They reflected on everything but that. That would be a new direction with potentially interesting outcomes. Granted, Rob Zombie touched on it briefly but it wasn't a substantial part of the story after the time jump. I don't get why it's 2 hrs. Directed by David Gordon Green too, he made some rather odd choices for how to continue what he set up.
Overall, great gratuitously over-the-top gore is displayed but the kills aren't creative. It doesn't do justice to any original characters including Michael Myers by inexplicably changing backstories. Worst yet, it's not a horror movie. No suspense. None. Unlike the other films, not many horror elements are there besides gore that's gruesome and uncomfortable to watch at times so it feels more like an action film. This frustrating, disappointing film feels like it's pandering to the audience. It's not even a creative title. They just labelled the film. It's not even a title at all. Seems like no thought was put into it. That says it all. They know people want Michael Myers killing so that's what they serve up. Poorly written fan service with heavy-handed out-of-place social commentary filled with bad dialogue. It's not as bad as this year's Candyman but that's not saying much. And remember, just because an angry mob agrees and starts chanting "Evil Dies Tonight!" doesn't mean they're right.
Grade: Small Popcorn
Please scroll down for my SPOILER RANT.
SPOILER! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
So this movie annoyed me. Here's why.
I didn't like how they bring in all the original characters only to kill them off before Part 3. What is the point of that? Unceremoniously killing key characters isn't even the worst part. It's the diminishing Laurie Strode. She's sidelined with very little to do and she does not affect the plot or lack thereof. Killing Karen felt like a random, forced afterthought only used for shock factors.
I'm sorry but that hospital scene with the other asylum escapee was just asinine. The other guy looked nothing like Michael Myers. Furthermore, why wasn't his mask melted? It's nitpicky but I can't stop thinking about it. I liked the mob rule idea but how come no one shoots him in the face? And why do they all stop to watch him kill everyone?
I needed time to process this but unfortunately, the more I reflect on it the more it falls apart. Compared to the other films it's the most nonsensical and least fun. I wouldn't recommend seeing this in theatres for non-franchise fans, however, if you're like me you'll take any opportunity to see Michael Myers on the big screen. Now I'm scared about how this trilogy ENDS because after a strong first film killed it, the sequel died trying.
Grade: Small Popcorn