Halloween Kills (2021) Movie Review

Have you heard about the story of why H20 and Resurrection played out as they did? How the late Moustapha Akkad who was producer for every Halloween film (until his death in 2005) said Michael Myers couldn’t be killed off and he had a clause in place for the writers? I don’t exactly know if Akkad himself was responsible for that contract or the high-ups who get the most dough and recognition for having a villain as irreplaceable as Michael, but it infuriated Jamie Lee Curtis back when she was hoping Strode’s story could end beating this demonic thing of a man. Resurrection infuriated and annoyed most others too. Why am I bringing this up? I feel a little infuriated and annoyed myself at this new movie. I was excited for it after watching the last movie, but maybe I should’ve stopped and thought some more logic through before.

Halloween Kills does not take place the next Halloween after the first in this new trilogy. Not even the Halloween three years later. The nightmare of October 31st, 2018, is so far from over. You don’t even know. A Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) nearing her sixties, she, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichek) managed to trap Michael Myers in their basement and set the entire house ablaze. They didn’t stick around to watch him burn because Laurie got stabbed in an earlier confrontation with him. She managed to fight with the wound just long enough to have him die, though. They’re taken away in an ambulance (my first criticism of this film being the filmmakers showcase, like in the trailer, the scene where Laurie, Karen and Allyson see firefighters heading to their house, wailing in agony to let him burn, but then when they arrive at the hospital they are completely sure they killed Michael, forgetting this fact just an hour later).

As I was saying, they are taken away in an ambulance and arrive at the hospital where Laurie is to have surgery. Meanwhile, there’s an old acquaintance of the Strode family, and he may have been watching the breaking news of the fire at her house. As well as the mangled lifeless bodies of a dozen firefighters. Plus, now that it’s later on in the Halloween of 2018, the murders Michael did on his way to the Strode house are finally becoming known throughout Haddonfield, and people are finally knowing the boogeyman of 1978 is back and has already left his mark. And now that the town truly knows, it’s time for retribution. And a small bonus fact? A gay couple named Big John and Little John (must’ve been a happy coincidence for them) now live in Myers’ old house, now renovated. I guess after Myers was captured the town really managed to move on. That, or the two Johns had to have gotten a good deal.

My favourite thing about this movie is it did one thing I wanted it to do; move forward. This still had Myers killing poor unsuspecting citizens, but it had the families and friends of the victims of the last movies angry and set to not just sit back. And I was alerted to this fact prior. Going in I felt I would probably enjoy this more than its predecessor, and I did at first, but the more I think about this movie, the more I hate it.

After this movie, I think it’s safe to say I’m just not a fan of this sort of story. Constant introductions to two-dimensional people, things get weird for them and then Myers turns them into roadkill, rinse and repeat? A small few side characters do survive Myers at least. But after watching only three Halloween movies total, I just don’t see the entertainment value in that formula. At the very least, as I said, this movie is not just another barrage of the grisly deaths of unprepared, stupid people. They fight back. It would’ve just been so much better if it were thirty minutes longer and the actual ending to this new franchise, having it be a duology instead of a trilogy, allowing for whatever is supposed to happen in the actual finale to happen here. It felt suitable. But I guess two films are nowhere near as profitable as a promised trio. I guess Halloween Kills out of all the sequels set up for this trilogy had the most going against it. Why? The first new Halloween had more going for it because of our excitement to have Curtis’ Laurie Strode back for the first time in 16 years, and Ends has the excitement of being the finale behind it. Plus, back when Halloween 3 was released in 1982 there was outrage over Michael not being in it, and there’s no way Jason was ever going to be the villain to cap off this new franchise at Ends. Case in point, we know Michael is going to survive whatever happens here.

The beginning of Kills is really good. Flashbacking (kind of unclearly) back and forth between the Halloween night of 2018 and 1978, it was awesome finding out how (in this dimension of events) Michael was captured by the police and Dr. Loomis after the credits rolled in the original classic, how Laurie stayed behind to weep while Michael ended up actually found that same night and sent to the maximum security mental institution. And Dr. Loomis, played by the late Donald Pleasance in earlier films, was amazingly brought back not through CGI but realistic makeup. It was a treat (sort of) seeing him in flesh and blood again. Even if the beginning is not filled with grisly murders (like the second act of most of these films is) it’s still fast-paced because there are characters speaking through their deep fear and rage about Michael.

Speaking of which, I also liked how not only were people fighting back, seemingly prepared, the movie was respecting the fact everyone murdered has family members and friends who loved and cared for them, and a few people (and their actors) from the original Halloween are brought back, like Charles Cyphers who played the father of Annie Brackett in the original, and Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace, one of the young kids Laurie babysat in the original too. That’s what you call proper storytelling about psychotic boogeymen. I also appreciated how it wasn’t ignoring the new victims from the last instalment either. I had written in my review of that movie I didn’t care about the minor characters set up to just be eviscerated to fill in time, but we learn the franchise wasn’t set up just to forget about them. The writers were willing to come up with families for them too, and even distant relationships with the older characters, making me feel more thought was given into the deaths of the last movie than I previously thought. I respected how much Lindsey and Tommy (played by Anthony Michael Hall) were involved in wanting to support the babysitter who saved their lives. We end up seeing a generous bit of Michael’s face too.

But in the end, what sticks out like a severed thumb is, living up to its name, the deaths Michael orchestrates have the gore and moans of agony mounted up so high, it feels like the movie doesn’t have the imagination or courage to branch out, and it’s way too noticeable how every time two characters separate, the one in the darker room gets the knife first. Your brand is showing too much, Michael Myers, and it’s getting boring.

Storywise, when the credits began, I had a similar aftertaste to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, unsatisfied but all ready for the next (and by the same circumstances, last) instalment, knowing from the start it was a chapter in the story that often becomes preliminary. Maybe I’ll like Kills more, or dislike it less, when Ends comes out, like how I warmed up to Deathly Hallows Part 1 after the release of Part 2. Sometimes the last chapter before the end comes off as setting things up for the last, and for those reasons, plus the fact Kills ends with an angering cliffhanger, I left on board but in a bummer mood. In a way, that seemed to be what David Gordon Green was going for. Halloween Ends is going to not be a mixed bag like this one, that’s for sure, whether it’s released next year as planned or later. I’m going to either love it or loathe it, and whether I do majorly depends on if there are any other Michael Myers plot armour clauses anywhere. You want to know for sure? You might want to ask Malek Akkad, the son of Moustapha Akkad, who’s been behind the camera of these three films alongside older ones.

If you like this, I’d try the original Halloween, the Don’t Breathe films, and Evil Dead

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