Film Review: Halloween Kills

Michael Myers is back for the third movie in this canonical timeline, but overall the 12th addition to the Halloween franchise. If that sounds confusing, then don’t worry, it’s because it is.

At this point, the timeline for these movies is starting to resemble a “choose your own adventure” book except every ending is the bad ending.

Some people may call the first Halloween a “slow burn”, myself included; it takes its time setting up a grounded scenario and building tension with a mysterious stalker that slowly embodies the role of the boogeyman. Eventually turning this character used to scare children into a nightmare for adults as well.

If that’s the case then Halloween Kills is a “crash and burn”, meaning exactly what it sounds like.

The movie is by no means offensively awful, but in some ways it’s worse than that. It’s forgettable and unnecessary, and feels like it exists only as a bridge to connect the previous movie with the already planned 2022 sequel: Halloween Ends.

Image credit: Universal Pictures

It’s portrayed as if its sole purpose is to advertise and give context to something that has yet to be released. This wouldn’t be so bad if it also was engaging and entertaining along the way, but unfortunately it falls short more often than not.

The movie starts by immediately following up the events from Halloween, and if you’re asking yourself: “Is that the one from 1978 or 2018?”, the answer is yes.

It’s confusing but it’s par for the course in this franchise, it leaps between the events following the end of the previous film (2018), and flashbacks of what happened after the end of the original (1978).

It does this to introduce some new characters and give them some relevance to the plot without ever trying to expand on them. It really doesn’t work and it makes an already cluttered cast of characters even more inflated and dismissible.

The movie also tries to tap into some Frankenstein-ish territory by re-using an idea that, as shocked as I am to say it, was handled better in Halloween 4, 30 years prior. It hits you in the head with its dull messaging leaving no leeway for interpretation.

The movie isn’t a complete lost cause though and it does bring some originality with it. David Gordon Green’s best addition to this franchise returns in the form of these short moments where you get to see a glimpse into a regular scenario with a little added spice of Michael Myers.

These moments work so well because they ground the viewers in the world and make them imagine what would really be like if this unstoppable force with a bloodlust broke into their everyday world. It is this film’s horror at its best and it wasn’t really a thing in this franchise before Halloween (2018) which also had David Gordon Green behind the camera.

Unfortunately there aren’t many moments like this and every other Michael Myers encounter lacks a fundamental touch of horror to it. There is either a lack of build up, or the characters don’t feel relatable in their decision making, deciding to proceed in the sequence of events most likely to get themselves killed.

You may think you’ve seen stupidity in a horror movie but you won’t really know it until you’ve seen Halloween Kills. A lot of characters decide to face this seemingly unstoppable killing machine by themselves with nothing but blunt objects and a general disregard for their own lives.

The ones that are smart enough to use firearms give stormtroopers a run for their money as every shot misses the man who is known to have the slowest walk in all of horror movie history. Either that or they decide the best chance they have is firing a gun within knife slashing range which turns out to be surprisingly convenient for Michael Myers.

The smartest decision made during the making of this movie might’ve been naming it something distinctive within the franchise because it makes avoiding it that much easier. It takes itself too seriously to have any fun with its horror, and its too ridiculous to be scary.

It feels like it’s constantly at odds with itself by wanting to bring back elements from the original Halloween but also by needing to set-up plot points for an already planned sequel. It’s too focused on past and future to ever be its own thing in the present.

Halloween Kills is sadly one of the most forgettable entries in its franchise and all it really has to offer is the familiarity of its IP: a worn out William Shatner mask along with a 40 year old three note score.

By Francisco Santos

Feature image: Universal Pictures

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