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Halloween Kills (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021)

Halloween Kills

Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Anthony Michael Hall, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Robert Longstreet, Dylan Arnold, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Nancy Stephens, Omar Dorsey, Jim Cummings, Scott MacArthur, Michael McDonald, Brian F. Durkin, Thomas Mann, Carmela McNeal, Michael Smallwood, Levesque Triplets, David Lowe, Diva Tyler, Lenny Clarke, Salem Collins, Elaine Nalee and Jibrail Nantambu.

Screenplay by Scott Teems & Danny McBride & David Gordon Green.

Directed by David Gordon Green.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 105 minutes. Rated R.

I hate to say I told you so, but…

In my review of the 2018 reboot of Halloween (actually, the second reboot of this long-in-tooth franchise), I acknowledged that co-writers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride had done a pretty good – though far from great – job of bringing the series up to date. However, I cautioned, “I just hope that they rethink the sequel that co-writer McBride has been threatening. You did your job in making Michael Myers a bogeyman for a new millennium. Now just move on.”

Now, I’m not so conceited to believe that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride are checking my reviews to get my opinions on their work. (Particularly McBride, who I’ve been pretty hard on as an actor and a writer over the years.) However, I wish someone had told them. More to the point, I’m sure lots of people told them, and they did it anyway. And now, the world is stuck with just another terrible Halloween sequel.

In a series that has had eleven movies and two reboots in just over 40 years – almost all of which have been awful – Halloween Kills now resides in the hallowed company of such stinkers as Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween: Resurrection and Rob Zombie’s reboot sequel Halloween II as the dregs of a consistently bad series of films. Literally only the 1978 original was not only good, but a great horror film.

The rest have mostly stunk, so Green and McBride’s reboot stood out just because it was decent. That didn’t mean that the world needed more, however. Not only that, but Halloween Kills is also basically just a placeholder to set up yet another unneeded upcoming sequel called Halloween Ends. And, despite that title and the fact that Green and McBride are calling this a trilogy, you just know that if the two movies do well – and even if they don’t – chances are good that there will be another Halloween movie coming down the pike, even if Green and McBride are not involved.

Sigh.

The problem is, Halloween Kills – and most of the sequels which have followed in the original’s wake – just don’t get what made the first Halloween so good.

Even in their first go-round, Green and McBride made the miscalculation that it was about the gore and the violence. Halloween Kills has the kills dialed up to eleven. There are at least a couple of sections where in a period of about two minutes, Michael Myers slays significantly more victims than he did in the entirety of the original 1978 Halloween – which was five people and a dog as far as my admittedly slightly hazy memory can recall.

Like Halloween II (from the original series, not the Rob Zombie reboot sequel of the same name), Halloween Kills starts off right where the first film ended. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis is way underused in this chapter, spending much of her time in a hospital bed) has trapped Michael Myers in a roiling inferno, sure she has finally put the evil creature down. She has been gut-stabbed by the killer, so her daughter (Judy Greer) takes her to the hospital. She shares a room with Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Hawkins, who was also in the original film and the 2018 reboot), who has survived what seemed like a fatal stabbing late in the last film.

Michael is able to escape the inferno due to the inadvertent help of local firefighters trying to put out the fire. (Myers quickly kills the entire platoon in his own twisted way of saying thanks.) Then he heads back into Haddonfield, leaving a long trail of bodies in his wake. For better or worse, I think even without counting them up I can safely say that Halloween Kills has the most kills in any of the many, many Halloween films, probably way over thirty. Eventually you just lose track.

In the town, they are forming an unruly mob of victims and scared townspeople – led by Tommy, the little boy Laurie was babysitting in the first film grown up (however, he is played by Anthony Michael Hall, not the same original child actor.) They do also bring back Lindsay, the little girl who was being babysat as well (and this time played by the original actress, Kyle Richards!). Also, from the original film they bring back Charles Cyphers as the former town sheriff (and the father of one of the original victims) and Nancy Stephens reprising her role as the nurse who assisted the late Donald Pleasance’s character Dr. Loomis. These little casting easter eggs lead to much of what little audience amusement that Halloween Kills is able to muster.

Throughout the film, Myers is burnt, shot, stabbed, gored with a pitchfork, and beaten by a mob, and yet he keeps popping back up like a top, little the worse for wear. They never explain how Michael Myers does all this – at this point, the dude is his sixties, after all – but that has been a consistent part of the series. He’s the bogeyman (as stated by several characters here, in case we forget), a super-powered walking embodiment of evil.

He can never be killed, much like this series. But we can still hope.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 15, 2021.

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