Review: ‘Halloween Kills’ is a good horror movie and a bad sequel

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“Halloween Kills” is an entertaining slasher film and a great follow-up to Green’s 2018 outing, even if it’s not as good as that film.

As a standalone film, “Halloween Kills,” David Gordon Green’s sequel-to-the-sequel of 1978’s “Halloween,” is a merciless, bloody thrill. As the second installment in a trilogy, however, it will leave fans concerned for the final installment, “Halloween Ends.”

In 2018, Green undertook the ambitious task of releasing the direct sequel to John Carpenter’s iconic “Halloween.” Forget the grime of Rob Zombie, the weird cults of the older films, dated uses of technology from “Halloween: Resurrection” and even the familial relationship of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers – Green focuses on the original.

Following the simple formula that made the original a classic, Green gave fans a brutal, unrelenting Michael Myers with the mystique he was missing after the original film. He went back to a man in a mask that just kills people.  Green’s devotion to Carpenter’s vision paid off, and the film was a box office and critical success.

“Halloween Kills” is a solid follow-up to 2018’s “Halloween.” The film picks up directly following the events of the last film. Myers almost immediately racks up an impressive body-count while drawing viewers into his empty silhouette. James Jude Courtney has easily become my favorite depiction of Michael Myers.

Protagonist Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak) continues to live up to her role as the franchise’s “scream queen” and heroine, but Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Karen Nelson (Judy Greer) come off as tired. This is Curtis’ sixth outing as Laurie Strode in over 40 years, so who wouldn’t be tired by now? Let her retire and sell yogurt. She’s given the nerds enough.

Green returns to 1978 with flashback sequences that masterfully capture the atmosphere of Carpenter’s original. The score – produced by Daniel Davies, Cody Carpenter and John Carpenter himself – adds to the classic feel of the film. Sadly, this film lacks distinct sounds like the iconic guitar-synth from their 2018 outing. Nevertheless, the film excels at sounds and sights.

Like its predecessor, the film suffers from the typical slasher film cliche of characters making truly incomprehensible decisions. Why do characters go anywhere alone? Why don’t they shoot Myers in the head multiple times once he’s down instead of allowing this supernaturally strong and indestructible human being to fight back? How in god’s name is the National Guard not called when one man murders over 20 people in one night?!

While it’s entertaining to watch Myers brutalize a whole town, you truly need to get lost in the spectacle to digest how it is all truly possible. Perhaps, Myers becomes stronger with every kill, as Curtis suggests in the film. Perhaps he’s evil incarnate, as Myers’ former psychiatrist, Dr. Samuel Loomis, would suggest. Perhaps Green doesn’t know yet, and we have two fantastic films setting up a grand disappointment.

“Halloween Kills” is an entertaining slasher film and a great follow-up to Green’s 2018 outing, even if it’s not as good as that film. If you don’t want to think about the logic of its characters’ decisions or how Myers has become as unstoppable as John Wick, it’s a blast. However, for those invested in the trilogy, at what point should you stop watching before you’re anticipating another reboot?

“Halloween Kills” is rated R and runs for one hour and 45 minutes.

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Caleb Sprous
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