‘Halloween Kills’ Is Vintage Michael Myers at Play

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Delayed by the pandemic, the sequel to Halloween (2018) has finally slashed its way to movie theaters (and personal devices if you have Peacock). It was a fair entry in the series and even perfect in some respects, but key areas did fall short and consequently led it to being not as good as expected.

The film opens with a flashback to October 31, 1978, when Deputy Frank Hawkins (Will Patton; younger version portrayed by Thomas Mann) accidentally shoots his partner to death while attempting to save him from Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle). He also prevents Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance, in archive footage) from finishing Michael off. Forty years later, on October 31, 2018, after being stabbed and left to die by Dr. Ranbir Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), Hawkins is discovered by teenager Cameron Elam (Dylan Arnold), who subsequently calls an ambulance. Hawkins deeply regrets stopping Michael’s execution and vows to kill him.

Meanwhile, at a bar in Haddonfield, Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) celebrates the fortieth anniversary of Michael’s imprisonment along with fellow survivors Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens, reprising her role from Halloween, Halloween II, and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later), Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards, reprising her role from the original film), and Cameron’s father, Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet), all of whom encountered Michael on that fateful night in 1978.

Firefighters responding to Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) burning house unknowingly release Michael, who slaughters them with their own equipment. Laurie, her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), and her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) are rushed to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital (which — thanks to a massive budget expansion ($2.5 million vs. $20 million) — is not nearly as short-staffed as it was in Halloween II), where Laurie undergoes emergency surgery, while Michael passes the time by murdering Laurie’s neighbors before making his triumphant return to Haddonfield. Tommy, Marion, Lindsey, and Lonnie learn of Michael’s killing spree through a wireless emergency alert. Tommy forms a mob of vengeful Haddonfield residents to hunt down and kill Michael.

It was awesome to see Charles Cyphers reprise his role as Leigh Brackett, the former sheriff of Haddonfield whose daughter, Annie (Nancy Kyes), was killed by Michael in the original film. This is Cyphers’ first appearance in the series since Halloween II.

Halloween Kills had some truly brutal kills; some gave an air of John Carpenter. Props to the cinematographer and crew for the opening scene; they successfully pulled off the illusion of it being 1978. I loved seeing the cameo of Silver Shamrock masks from Halloween III: Season of the Witch (they also appeared in the 2018 film). The title sequence and synth Halloween theme also went further to give Halloween Kills a deliciously vintage ‘80s slasher feel.

The Michael parts of the movie were great, but the enjoyability factor dropped fifty points every time they shifted to the absurd mob storyline. Tommy and all the original characters should have known better. Their actions grew even more asinine as it became obvious that Michael wasn’t at the hospital yet and the person they were pursuing was in fact a fellow patient that had escaped from Smith’s Grove.

One of the few consistent things in the series is that the Shape cannot be beaten. He is beyond human, “purely and simply… evil,” as Dr. Loomis said in the original film. This simple truth lead to an incredibly unsatisfying ending (to be fair, a lot of slashers take this route, but I wanted something more clever), although I kind of understand why — as they are setting things up for the epic showdown in the supposed final installment, Halloween Ends, which is slated for an October 14, 2022 release.

I give Halloween Kills two and a half out of five stars.

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