“Halloween Kills” brings nothing new to the classic franchise
The 1978 movie “Halloween” remains to this day one of the greatest horror films of all time. Combining tense storytelling, masterful camera-work, and the terrifying monster of Michael Myers, it holds up better than almost every movie from that era. Following the critical success of the original, various sequels and spin-offs were green lit in an attempt to capture some of the magic of the classic.
2018’s “Halloween” is the first to successfully pull off a work that compares to the original. Throwing every sequel’s story in the dust, this remake picks up 40 years after the first. This one accomplishes everything an amazing horror movie can, while keeping the mythology of Myers powerful and horrifying.
The third in this new series, “Halloween Kills,” takes the heart of the prior films and cheapens every aspect that makes the franchise phenomenal in the first place, which results in 106 minutes of disappointment.
“Halloween Kills” is just a glorious waste of time. Hiding behind gruesome murder after gruesome murder is a plot held together by wet paper towels that goes absoloutely nowhere. The film is set just minutes after the events of the 2018 sequel, and ends before the sun rises the next day. In the entire runtime, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) sits in a hospital recovering from injuries, while various members of the town try and (spoiler alert) fail to kill Michael Myers in different ways. That’s the entire movie. Loads of people are killed, but there is nothing that propels the plot remotely, which stings even harder when the predecessor’s story was so captivating.
The strong characters introduced in the 2018 “Halloween” are shells of their prior selves. Strode doesn’t even wake up until the movie hits the hour mark, and does nothing for the rest of the film, despite being the only interesting character. Karen Nelson (Judy Greer), Strode’s daughter, cries until the last 20 minutes about something or another. Greer puts on a great performance, but a lot of the character’s depth from the previous movie disappears, as she reacts to the horrors around her. The only other lead from the last outing is Nelson’s daughter Allison (Andi Matichek), who becomes the horror trope of ‘dumb teenager.’ All three only get about a third of screen time, though, as Myers just kills a lot of people for most of the movie.
The focus instead shifts to members of the town, many of whom were survivors of the first attacks in 1978. This plot point is incredibly forced and makes no sense, but is relied on heavily to build backgrounds for people who will be used as Michael-bait to increase the runtime.
Multiple scenes run like this: Introduce 2 characters. Give a small backstory for those characters. They get brutally murdered by Michael Myers. That’s it. It depends so often on lazy horror tropes that it loses a lot of what makes the Halloween franchise so great in the first place. Everything is predictable, and not in the way that leaves someone on the edge of their seat, but in the way that plays off stale and boring.
The best aspects of both movies preceding “Halloween Kills” were the moments of unknown. Not knowing when Michael Myers’ daunting face will appear provided some of the most exhilarating and shocking parts ever to exist on screen. Nothing was overused, and the mythology of the monster remained a total mystery. Because it has the formula that has been used so successfully, the latest outing fails to provide anything new or memorable to the franchise. Disorienting eeriness is swapped out for gratuitous scenes of violence, which takes up the majority of the runtime.
As utterly disappointing as it is, there are still a few positives that appear. By using fantastic and daunting sets, and a revamp of one of the best movie soundtracks of all time, it’s virtually impossible to not feel a gripping sense of mystery and terror. With daunting synth lines and atmospheric strings, the score creates an audiovisual landscape that carries a lot of uncreative scenes. The mask of Michael Myers will always be frightening as well, so the movie is at least able to succeed on fronts handed directly to it by previous works.
“Halloween Kills” is the second in a trilogy of sequels to the 1978 classic, and feels just like that. Doing just enough to keep the lead character alive, but nothing close to anything cataclysmic or interesting, it’s just right to keep the franchise moving forward, despite feeling like a total waste of time. This movie is pointless for anything other than watching a bunch of people get irreverently killed in predictable ways, and could easily have been left on the chopping block floor.