Halloween Kills Movie Review: Not many tricks or treats in this Halloween film
The twelfth film of this popular Halloween franchise ups the gore and tension, but the screenplay and unintelligible character arcs kill all scope
It's that time of the year when fear is celebrated all over the world, and here's a film from a popular franchise, aiming to create nerve-wracking terror to set us up for Halloween. Halloween Kills is the twelfth film in the franchise and is the immediate sequel of 2018's Halloween film, which was a follow-up to John Carpenter's 1978 original.
The story picks up immediately from where the previous film ended. The infamous inhuman serial killer, Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney), is left trapped in a burning house by Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). As Laurie, along with her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), flee from the house, firefighters arrive at the scene. They are unaware of the looming danger, and we know what has to happen here for the film to happen: Michael brutally kills the fire brigade and escapes.
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton
Parallelly, the original survivors of the Haddonfield incident, Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens), Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), and Lonnie Elam (Robert Longstreet) are led by Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) to track Michael and ensure that "Evil dies tonight”. Three parallel narratives branch out, following Tommy's group, Laurie and Karen at the hospital, while Michael is going about his killing spree.
To much surprise, much of the first half of the film banks solely on nostalgia to call back the fear of Michael. However, it does hang there a bit too long, with just a few violent scenes that focus on Michael. The gore and the eerie build-up aren't new, but they do help amp up the horror. It is only after the first half of the film that we finally begin settling into this world. The anxiety is palpable and though we can predict where it is heading, the uncertainty over the showdown, keeps you hooked.
One particular scene that is set in a hospital stands out in the film. Believing that Michael will follow Laurie, Tommy, along with angry towners, mob the hospital. An innocent man, who the mob thinks is Michael, ends up dead. The psychological undertones and the helplessness of Laurie and Karen play out well and it turns out to be an intense portion. A dialogue from Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) about what has truly been lost, cuts through. However, even before we can take this all in, the film shifts back to the gore and the surprises end there.
The narrative ends and acts as a set-up for the final Halloween Ends film (which is set to release in 2022). Though the penultimate scene involving Cameron Elam (Dylan Arnold) and Allyson heightens the gore and tension, the final showdown isn't truly rewarding. If not for the remarkable music score by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies, the scene (and the film) might have ended with a whimper.
Halloween is without doubt one of the most popular slasher franchises. However, even the recently released Fear Street Trilogy, which borrowed much from Halloween as tribute, had well-written characters who were not formulaic. Most of the characters in Halloween Kills, however, infuriate with their mindless actions.
The gore in Halloween Kills is taken up a notch with no substance to back it. It doesn’t frighten you as much as it creates feelings of disgust. Had all the gore been packed in an intelligent story, this Halloween film might have actually killed it.