Michael survives Laurie's trap and resumes his rampage through
Haddonfield, prompting a vigilante mob to rise up and hunt him down.
Halloween Kills (2021)
Directed by David Gordon Green
Written by Scott Teems, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak,
James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Will Patton, Anthony
Michael Hall, Thomas Mann, Dylan Arnold, Robert Longstreet,
Scott MacArthur, Michael McDonald, Charles Cyphers
Sequel to 2018's Halloween
There are times when we just won’t agree that we enjoyed the same movie and that’s ok. Film, like all art, is subjective, and doesn’t have to be liked by everyone. You can probably tell where this is heading so let’s just crack in, shall we?
Picking up from where the previous film ended (thought they weren’t considering any of the previous Halloween films when McBride and Green came up with their own soon to be trilogy), Halloween Kills continues with the night He came home. We also get a look back at that fateful Halloween in 1978 and learn that then rookie cop Frank Hawkins (Patton) prevented Dr. Loomis (shout out to the FX team for going practical on a double for the late Donald Pleasance though I did groan at some other decisions that were made where CGI was used) from putting down Michael Myers down when they had the chance. Back in the present, a firefighting squadron is heading to Laurie’s compound which she sees and screams “Let it burn!” The ensuing sequence at the scene of the fire showcases a resurgent Shape and he’s pissed. He decimates the team on by one. Heads are caved in, firefighters are skewered, and there’s even some heavy duty power saw fu. So far, this sequel is living up to its name. While Laurie recovers at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital (good ‘ol HMH), across town a group of survivors from ’78 have gathered for their yearly celebration. The group consists of Lonnie (Cameron’s father), Marian Chambers (Stephens), Lindsay Wallace (Richards), and Tommy Doyle (Hall) whom Laurie was babysitting on the night the Boogeyman terrorized Haddonfield. But their reunion is cut short as news of the massacre hits the tv and cell phones of those gathered at Mick’s Bar. Hearing this, Tommy decides tonight is the night that Michael Myers’ reign of terror ends and enlists some other residents to assist him. This time, they are hunting the Shape and they are determined that ‘evil dies tonight’.
Since we all know about Halloween Ends coming out, despite the citizen army’s best intentions evil does not die on this night. Once the film takes this direction of a mob out for justice (at one point targeting the wrong escapee from Smith’s Grove) that goes awry, it was hard for me to stay engaged. This kills are great and the Shape does rack up a body count that doubles from the 2018 entry but I was not as invested with the path they took this film. To me, it felt like the real world events in America in 2020 were forced into the script but that’s just me. There is a dialog exchange between Laurie and Frank where she say he has ‘achieved his masterpiece’ in turning the town upside down with fear. Michael Myers is just doing what he does, there is no higher calling or method to his madness. He doesn’t even have an attachment to Laurie as the family ties were erased in the previous film! She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Which I suppose says something about how we try to cope with tragedy and trying to find a reason for the bad things that happen to us when, sometimes, there is no reason for why the Boogeyman comes after us. He just does. At least the title wasn’t misleading.
Behind No Time to Die, Halloween Kills was my most anticipated film of 2021. 2018's Halloween was a brilliant redirection for the franchise, building on the established mythology of the 1978 original. David Gordon Green's planned sequels seemed like a breath of fresh air for fans. And so far, they are. Halloween Kills is one of the best sequels in the franchise, doubling down on the gore and carnage, but also exploring the psychological damage that Michael Myers has had on the townspeople of Haddonfield. We get to see how the children survivors of the first film have coped over forty years of trauma. Spoiler alert, not well.
After trapping Michael in the burning house, Laurie didn't count on the speedy arrival of the Haddonfield fire department. Michael kills all the firefighters and continues his rampage through Haddonfield. There are some particularly brutal kills, including a lot of crushed faces and people getting their heads bashed into walls. '78 massacre survivor Tommy Doyle (Hall) puts together a mob of Haddonfielders who have had enough of Michael's murderous shenanigans. Laurie does spend the whole movie recuperating in the hospital, so Michael in a way becomes the protagonist the audience has to follow.
Halloween Kills isn't quite as good as its predecessor, but it's still a solid sequel and one of the best films in the franchise. It brings more viciousness to Michael Myers, and we get to see some grisly, memorable murders. If nothing else, the anticipation for David Gordon Green's Halloween Ends is palpable. Bring on the final battle.
After the monster success of the 2018 sequel, it came as no surprise when they announced two more films to follow. Therefore, creating an exciting new trilogy, and timeline, in the long running Halloween franchise. And, like most films slated for release last year, it also came as no surprise when it was announced they would be delaying the release by a full year. Naturally, the excitement from the community, myself included, would just skyrocket with the extra wait time. Excitement which just continued to climb thanks to a stellar trailer premiere and cool snippets being revealed during various interviews. All signs were pointing to a sequel where Michael would be madder, the gore would be greater, and the town of Haddonfield had enough. As they chant in the film: Evil dies tonight!
Starting with the man himself, Michael Myers. The filmmakers did not disappoint in their depiction of a more pissed off boogeyman. The gore and brutality of his kills is upped considerably from the prior film. For a gorehound like me, there were plenty of moments where I had a huge smile on my face. Performance wise, James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle prove why just no one can play these silent killers like Michael and Jason. Without saying a single line of dialogue, just using his physical movements, both actors convey everything we need to know about our favorite Halloween killer and the rage he’s feeling. Outside of him, I also found the plotline of the town turning into a mob to hunt Michael down a brilliant move. It widens the scope considerably with making the town of Haddonfield and its inhabitants feel like real people. Granted, this does take away a good chunk of the film’s focus from the Strodes. Which, in turn, is where some audiences might fall off pretty early in the film’s runtime.
If you don’t mind the Strode women not being so front and center, you’re in for a fun ride. One which delivers on the carnage candy and plays up the horrors of mob mentality and what it can do to a community. Courtney and Castle are once again fantastic as the Shape. And, finally, Carpenter delivers another splendid score. Evil is out in the town of Haddonfield and it will die tonight. Or not. We still got a third film on the way.