Held back for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Halloween Kills finally arrives on cinema screens this week. The film forms the middle third of what is to be a new trilogy, one directly linked to John Carpenter’s 1978 original. Picking up in the immediate aftermath of 2018’s Halloween, Halloween Kills takes place over what remains of that same Halloween night. After surviving their showdown with Michael Myers, the three generations of Strode women, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), Karen (Judy Greer), and Allyson (Andi Matichak), are in hospital recovering from their ordeal. Across town, a quartet of former survivours of Michael are commemorating the anniversary with alcohol. They aren’t the only survivours in town though as Michael has somehow survived the fiery inferno seen at the end of Halloween and sets about murdering his way through Haddonfield once more. This time however, the townsfolk have had enough and decide to take a stand. But can the Boogeyman be killed?
The internet chatter about Halloween Kills being extremely gory are true. This is easily the most violent entry into the Halloween franchise since Rob Zombie was in the driving seat. The kills are excessively brutal, Myers gleefully murdering his way through everyone that comes his way. There’s a playful edge to the deaths that has been missing before. Director David Gordon Green has embraced the fact that, as told in countless films before, Michael stopped functioning as a ‘typical’ human being at age six. Everything and anything is used as a murder weapon as Michael moves away from his trademark kitchen knife.
Fans of the Halloween franchise will have a blast picking out all the Easter eggs that Gordon Green has gifted them. Some of these are presented in the form of the story, whilst many more are direct shot callbacks and cleverly planted items. The highlight has to be the inclusion of those iconic masks from everyone’s secret favourite film in the series, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch.
From a story perspective there isn’t a huge amount of progression, as the title suggests this film is all about the kills. The marketing has pushed the Strode women into the spotlight, but similarly to the original sequel, Laurie spends the bulk of the film in hospital with the focus of the film more on random new cast additions. Flitting from fresh fodder to fresh fodder gets a tad repetitive, but their grisly demises balance this out well. Nonetheless, pushing the Strode women into the background feels like a misstep, especially with how much the marketing has conversely pushed the three of them to the forefront. Granted, there is one more story left that will most likely throw them back front and centre, but that begs the question – why not just skip straight to that? It also feels like an epic tease having Jamie Lee back on the call sheet to barely leave her hospital bed. Fingers crossed for more bad-ass matriarch next time.
The most interesting new narrative element is the townsfolk standing up to Michael. Led by little Tommy Doyle (played by Anthony Michael Hall) all grown up, the mob mentality aspect of the story adds an unexpected amount of gravitas and pathos. Hall is great in the role, a character who has become part Doctor Loomis at the point of madness, and part Mrs. Carmody, exhibiting impressive levels of persuasiveness, as he whips his militia army up with just a few rousing words (and he seemed like such a nice kid). Undercurrents of The Mist permeate deeper, it’s an unexpected direction for what is otherwise a typical slasher, but a welcome one.
We know that the final chapter, Halloween Ends, has already wrapped production, and Halloween Kills definitely feels like the middle chunk of a bigger story. The ending isn’t quite the WTF cliffhanger of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, but it does feel a little unresolved. Pandemic-permitting, we hopefully don’t have to wait too much longer to see the concluding entry, and with what is explored within Halloween Kills, there are plenty of interesting directions that it could venture into.
Although the story isn’t quite where we might like it, with kills that are incredibly violent, over-the-top Halloween Kills is exactly what the slasher film has been missing the last few years. Borrowing some of the better aspects of the original sequels, homaging some of the more iconic moments, and mixing them all up with Rob Zombie level carnage, Halloween Kills creates a fun-filled, slash-heavy, spooky season night out’s viewing.
Halloween Kills is released in UK Cinemas on 15th October 2021.