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  • Nate Adams

Review: 'Halloween Kills' underwhelming but amusing slasher sequel

Courtesy of Universal


Picking up the pieces from 2018’s “Halloween,” David Gordon Green’s “Halloween Kills” serves as the penultimate chapter before “Halloween Ends” arrives next year. An underwhelming and messier endeavour than its previous iteration, which strategically wiped the slate clean, served as a direct sequel to the 1978 classic and effectively severed ties with those terrible sequels (let’s all forget about Busta Rhymes in “Halloween: Resurrection”). Aside from the gory thrashings (and there’s a-lot) “Halloween Kills” invokes an awkward social commentary on mob mentality where the townsfolk of Haddonfield, Illinois rise up against their evil opressor: Micheal Myers.

The results are mixed as the film builds upon the seralized arch Green and co-writer Danny McBride created in 2018, answering unnecessary narrative loopholes (How about an Officer Hawkins origin story) and introducing several characters who will eventually serve as flesh for Myer’s killing thirst (this time out, he enjoys gouging eyeballs and dismembering firefighters). There’s no doubt “Halloween Kills” lives up to the title, the sequel is bloodier and bolder in stature, but stumbles in the presentation.

We’ve known since the dawn of the time Micheal Myers (or The Shape played by James Jude Courtney) is nearly impossible to kill, so when Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis - returning in a smaller, but vulnerable role) locked Micheal inside her basement bunker, lit a match, and threw away the key, somewhere, somehow he was going to emerge the other side. This begins “Halloween Kills,” the obligatory filler chapter before the climactic showdown teased in the final moments. Fans of the series might appreciate the mythos and world-building Green and company have created, essentially taking another stab at 1981’s “Halloween II” with Laurie and Micheal separated for the entire movie, others will be counting the minutes in-between slaughter. Laurie’s daughter, Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) are still coming to terms with surviving 2018’s encounters, but Green’s latest installment brings local residents like Tommy Doyle (Anthony Micheal Hall), the little boy Laurie protected 40 years ago, into the “Halloween” canon.

Now grown-up and able to fend for himself, Tommy leads an uprising among the pissed-off residents (“Evil dies tonight!”) that may or may not invoke memories of January 6th. Meanwhile, at the hospital where Laurie is being treated for her wounds, the Strode clan try defining their overall purpose. Karen insists law enforcement finish the job, but Allyson, like her stubborn grandmother, wants to bring the fight to Micheal, surveying the streets as The Shape stabs and gashes his way through clueless citizens who insist on investigating that strange sound. Will they ever learn?

Laurie and Deputy Hawkins (Will Patton), who managed to survive his jab in the jugular, reminisce about the fateful 1978 Halloween night (complete with nuggets of fan service and flashbacks) while Green cooks a half-baked metaphor on the dangers of groupthink. 2018’s “Halloween” was a confident and defined follow-up that knew what it wanted to accomplish, by maneuvering back and forth between Micheal Myers axing his victims and the Haddonfield Mafia, there’s tonal inconsistencies across the board in “Halloween Kills.” As a slasher movie with a prominent horror icon pissed off and ready to mutilate any living creature in their path, it’s a successful piece of B-movie entertainment; as a social commentary, it hits a sour note. Here’s hoping “Halloween Ends” has the courage to do what seemingly no other “Halloween” movie can and kill Micheal Myers once and for all.

All bets are off.

Grade: B-

HALLOWEEN KILLS opens in theaters and streams on PEACOCK Friday, October 15th


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