Halloween Kills (2021)

“Tonight we hunt him down.”

It’s a struggle for me to ever really feel one way or another about a new Halloween movie when it’s been released. Most people are drawn to theaters based on the title alone, only caring about watching some gruesome killing, while far fewer are actually interested in the long-running mythology of the characters on screen. And with so many different timelines and separate reboots, the franchise has officially become the horror genre’s version of the dreadful Terminator films. None of it gels together, ever makes much sense, and Halloween Kills is a movie with no real point or purpose outside of carelessly segueing towards the final chapter in this failed trio. It’s one of the most pockmarked films I’ve seen this year.

As the trailer shows, and as we’ve come to expect time and time again, Michael and his boogeyman visage somehow survives the events of director David Gordon Green’s previous outing, and this time he feels different. I’m not a huge horror fan and have only seen a handful of these pictures, but it felt odd watching Michael move and kill like a Jedi Knight, especially since he has to be somewhere in his sixties at this point. But what I hate most about these movies isn’t that they defy logic or physics or a coroner’s report; it’s that each entry undoes the actions of what came before. I can appreciate a film with a loose ending that makes you think. On the contrary, this is one gigantic, twisted and knotted yarn. It’s tiresome, cumbersome, lazy. It lacks the main component any good film – especially in the horror scape – should strive for, and that’s a real sense of consequence. Halloween Kills is painfully heartless and empty.

A direct sequel to the 2018 entry – with practically no time passing at all in between – Halloween Kills is inferior in pretty much every single way. There’s as much style to the shots but no subtlety or grace to the heavy-handed plot. It’s a cheap slasher film where most of the people killed don’t have any impact on the story itself, but also tries to add in commentary on the horrific effects of mob mentality thinking plaguing our country. The ideas are there and they are aplenty; Halloween Kills just prefers to macerate the fruits of its labor rather than savoring them while they’re fresh and abundant. It’s all overkill.

Halloween Kills spends a disproportionate amount of time trying to add depth to side characters, and by doing so it leaves Laurie Stroder (Jamie Lee Curtis) – one of the genre’s most famous “final girls” – literally sidelined and laying in a hospital bed for nearly the entirety of the film. It ensures she’s safe to fight like hell for the third and presumed final entry from David Gordon Green, and it gives space for other characters to try to become more than just cliff notes in the franchise, but Halloween Kills never sat well with me in all the moments it tried to invigorate. So many of the murders are all for show, a brutal suicide is completely tasteless, and it all illustrates how this film never knew what it wanted to be. Very few horror movies manage to balance campiness with real drama, and the utterly humorless Halloween Kills is not one of them. It’s dumb, dull, and so very disappointing.

“He needs to die.”

Rating: 2 out of 5

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