Halloween Kills – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann, Anthony Michael Hall, Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens, Charles Cyphers
In cinemas October 15th
Lest you were in any doubt that this, the twelfth movie in the Halloween franchise, was a direct sequel to 2018’s Halloween. It picks up exactly where that one left off. Therefore, if you haven’t seen that you might find yourself a bit lost at the beginning of this. Indeed, it feels like so long ago since I saw that, it took me a moment to recollect what happened. Because like so many other movies this fell foul of the pandemic and had its release delayed.
But now that cinemas are open again we finally get to see what happens after Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Matichak) left masked monster Michael Myers to die, caged and burning in a basement. Any fan of this horror franchise (or indeed any slasher horror series) will know that this probably wasn’t enough to kill off the bad guy and lo and behold Michael manages to free himself and resume his killing spree.
Meanwhile Laurie, famously the “final girl” in the 1978 original is in hospital with life-threatening injuries following her encounter with him. So while Jamie Lee Curtis spends most of this film in a hospital bed it is left to her daughter and granddaughter to try and come up with a way to kill the enduring evil that is Myers. Mind you when Laurie does come to, she joins a group of other survivors of his first rampage to form a vigilante mob. In true mob mentality fashion, they are Gung Ho in their efforts to catch the killer and even a little thing like mistaken identity and the facts won’t stop them.
A final instalment called Halloween Ends is due out next year so with that announcement you go into this already knowing that this isn’t the end. Instead, it is that awkward middle instalment in a trilogy that must try to work as a stand-alone film but also progress the plot along enough to justify the next offering.
Hence you get lots of scenes of Myers implementing gruesome kills which is sure to keep the fans happy, interspersed with lots of convoluted revenge planning and pontificating on the meaning of evil by Laurie and the townsfolk.
Bringing back original cast members from 1978 was a good call on Green’s part as this really does feel like part of the canon, unlike some of the rather bizarre offerings from the Halloween universe that we’ve been treated to over the years (Halloween 3 didn’t even feature Myers).
Curtis is a horror legend at this stage and could probably play Laurie in her sleep, indeed she does for part of this movie. She slips back into the role as if she was never away. This is true of all the returning cast members who seem to revel in revisiting their roles from four decades ago. Greer is a fantastic actress and is impressive here as Laurie’s daughter. She manages to bring more depth to the role than is usual for females in slasher horror films. However, there are now so many cast members that at times it is confusing following all the parallel plot points, many of which don’t wrap up here and will hopefully conclude in the next instalment.
Bringing back the legendary original Mike Myers, Nick Castle, for some scenes was a good decision and indicates that this is really about giving the fans what they want. Which it does, more or less. It provides gruesome kills and a suitably ghoulish score composed by John Carpenter and his son Cody alongside Daniel Davies. Carpenter famously composed the original Halloween score so this is yet another nod to the source material that will leave fans grinning.
If you’re not a fan of the franchise, however, all of these subtle references will be lost on you and this will merely be another slasher horror flick and probably appear a bit of a mess. It suffers from being part of a trilogy. It doesn’t have a clear beginning or end as both are tied to what came before and what will come after and, other than one unexpected kill, it feels a bit unsatisfying. Although it does leave you with excitement about how Green is finally going to wrap up the saga of Michael Myers next year. (Is he really though? I can’t see this lucrative franchise being put to bed.)
There is nothing new here. Rather this is very much a nod to the classic which spawned the entire franchise. Fans of the series will love it but overall, it’s pretty run of the mill and lacking in the tension that punctuated the original and had you on the edge of your seat.