Dir. David Gordon Green (2021)
The second in the new trilogy, the Strodes recover as the town of Haddonfield tries to banish Michael's evil for good.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I had fully recovered from my original disappointment in 2018's Halloween by the time that Halloween Kills arrived in 2021, and I was ready to watch a movie that could help add to the new lore and prep the stage for the long-awaited finale that would occur the next year in Halloween Ends. Unfortunately, this one suffered from Middle Film Syndrome as it struggled to bridge the gap between the brutality that was H2018 and the promised epic conclusion to the saga. Filled with logical leaps and some truly mind-blowing choices, Kills' dissection of the nature of evil and its affect on the populace of a small town fell flat on its face by opening up the series to an exploration of something that never needed to be discussed at all.
I owe my entire career to this franchise, please stop FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
I get that a film that is 43 years in the making feels that it has to address all of the characters that we've seen along the way. I get that director David Gordon Green felt the need to show us what happened to all of the folks that we loved in the original. I even get wanting to bring back Tommy Doyle and Lindsey for some reason because I'm sure there were a few people wondering what these completely inconsequential characters were doing now. But the nurse from whom Michael steals the car? What the fuck is she even doing in Haddonfield? Is she from there? Was that ever addressed in any way, or did they just reach out to as many people as they could find from the original to see who was still alive? And why the fuck would you cast Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy instead of Brian Andrews and bring back the abomination that is motherfucking Kyle Richards as her original character? These are choices for which we should be demanding answers, because as much as I love Hall and his work, I've had just about enough of Kyle and her Real Housewives bullshit.
Don't get me wrong, there were some fantastic scenes in this film. When Michael escapes from the burning wreckage of the Strode house to light up some firefighters just trying to do their job, I was on the edge of my seat and grinning as much as anybody in the audience. When the movie tried to insert some humor through both of the couples that Michael murders on his way back into Haddonfield, I loved it and enjoyed the brutality that followed. Hell, I was even totally down when Michael summarily dispatches a car-full of costumed hunters who are coming after him while still allowing motherfucking Kyle Richards to escape. But other than those nice scenes of genre goodness, the film fell to almost complete shit.
Look, there's value in discussing the trauma that a town would have after such a brutal series of murders. I'm sure there are many small towns across America that have seen an event like those in the original 1978 film and still talk about it to this day. But why does it have to happen in the world of Halloween? By inserting the entire premise of "evil dies tonight," Green and the crew deliver one of the more cringe-worthy and ham-handed attempts at a morality tale in horror movie history. By making the town of Haddonfield responsible for the basically-just-a-murder of a completely innocent mentally unstable man, we find ourselves no longer on their side and kinda hoping Myers tears through every last one of them before he's done. To be fair, a lot of us were already hoping that he'd off motherfucking Kyle Richards, but why does Tommy need to be set up for his completely-deserved death?
The only way to stop a bad guy with a knife is an almost-equally bat guy with a stupidly named baseball bat.
There are just too many negative strings attached for Kills to be anything but a giant disappointment. I've heard an inordinately large amount of negativity and rumors from people about Ends, and hopefully none of the things that I've heard end up coming to pass, but we have the entire product of Kills and it's a disappointing film to say the least. There are some things to like here, and it's certainly not the worst Halloween film by any stretch. But for a film that sought to carry on the torch to the "epic finale," it is an at-least lackluster effort in maintaining the integrity of a franchise that has often lost its way. Hopefully, the rumors are wrong and Ends wraps things up with a perfect, gory bow, but after Kills, I have less confidence than I once had that Green has what it takes to finish things out with a bang.
More of this, please.
Who this movie is for: Halloween series completionists, Modern horror fans, People who don't already know that it's wrong to basically murder mentally ill people
Bottom line: To call Halloween Kills completely inept would be an overstatement, but it would be equally wrong to call it a good movie. It's got some shining spots and some excellent gore, and Matichak and Greer do their best to carry a film without the mostly-absent Curtis. David Gordon Green is clearly a good director, but this was certainly not the best of the new trilogy and we haven't even seen the last one yet. Hopefully this one isn't indicative of how the franchise ends, because the fans will burn the whole place to the ground. And please, for the love of God, don't let motherfucking Kyle Richards live through the finale.