***Warning*** HEAVY SPOILERS for Halloween Kills 2021. Normally I try to do an objective review and only cover tone and performances but this time around, I have to just vent. Major dumb plot points may be ruined….you have been warned!!
Halloween(2018) was far from perfect but it did feel like a step in the right direction for an exhausted franchise. From cults to sibling links to corrupt Irish mask makers it’s safe the say the franchise had gone well off the rails over the years. I also didn’t even mention Rob Zombie and his depressing origin story. The less said the better! Through it’s highs and it lows though, I’ve always found some enjoyment in Michael Myers throughout the years. Halloween (1978) is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. John Carpenter is truly a master and you can catch my review here https://geekgasm.org/2019/10/31/retro-horror-halloween-1978/ to see how much I love and respect this movie.
As said, Halloween 2018 had plenty of flaws (a teleporting Michael to name one) but the premise was delicious. Ignore all the inferior sequels. Make a reboot accepting only the first as cannon and set it present day almost 40 years after original. Add to that the idea that Laurie Strode has evolved from Sarah Connor in Terminator 1 to a slightly older Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. It’s logical, amazing and definitely made for a strong return to Haddonfield.
So now to the second film in a confirmed trilogy. Oh wow….how quickly the quality has dipped! Middle movies are often accused of being the awkward middle child leaving more points unanswered and not offering satisfying conclusions. Halloween Kills could only hope to be accused of this. This movie is just awful and it’s made very apparent that it is just filler. It’s clear that the writers don’t have any clear narrative focus for this film and have shot themselves (or stabbed themselves) in the foot. Setting it moments after the first, the entire movie is just padding. I really really hope that they have some idea of an ending when it comes to the third movie as this is an absolute shit show!
One of the strongest elements in the first installment was the amazing performance from Jamie Lee Curtis. Her manic doomsday prepper on the brink of sanity grounds the entire movie and adds some level of realism to proceedings. So here’s a great fucking idea……have her benched for this movie! Putting her in full recovery mode in a hospital for the entire movie makes absolutely no sense. They took the most believable character from the first movie and tossed her aside which is just fucking dumb! With no Laurie to route for, we’re left with paper thin characters whom we don’t give a toss about. This leaves us only one character to route for…..Mr. Myers! Nothing wrong with that I suppose as long as they don’t mess up Michael Myers…..they couldn’t surely??
I don’t know what the fuck is going on! At times, Myers is perfect. Some good kill scenes where he comes in off camera with some savagery and one or two moments where his freight train efficiency is impressive and familiar. That said, there are a few scenes that just don’t work. Namely the opening scene and the closing scene…..or to put another way……the two most important scenes in the fucking movie! The opening scene sees our last action hero go up against a heavily armed team of Firefighters, axes in hand and even a fucking buzzsaw! Michael being now gifted with John Wick style moves just tackles them all head on!! Mercifully the camera does a few quick cuts to disguise just how ridiculous that would look but we’re still left with a very bad taste in the mouth! The end scene I hear you ask? Only a weaponless Michael on his knees surrounded by a mob fully armed! This one is less John Wick and more Cape Fear (if you’re old enough to remember). As much as I want (and expect) Michael to get out of sticky situations and survive when he should be dead, there are far better ways than this. It just bad. Garbage truck on fire levels of bad!
A large chunk of this movie tries to drive home something about mob mentality and people losing control when frightened. It’s pure shite to put it mildly! None of it is well acted. The nod to smaller cast members from the original 70’s movie is nice but never plays out into anything meaningful. The 70’s flashbacks are well shot and convincing but again, fail to make any relevant points and only add padded backstories that ultimately don’t matter. Spoilers….every backstory for a character that they add means fuck all as Michael does us all a favour and kills these boring fuckers! Which brings us back to that sinking feeling that this entire movie holds no meaning and is pure filler.
This is a small point and by no means ruins the movie (plenty of other things do that) but there is a weird focus on gore here that I’ve not seen before in a Halloween movie. It’s not the gore itself per say but the way the camera lingers on it. This works in other movies and some directors only make gory horrors for the sake of gore but it definitely feels off here. Two scenes really stand out. The scene where Michael pushes knife after knife into a very dead old guy while his wife watches and slowly bleeds out. It didn’t really seem right here in this movie. The second was slight but lingered a bit. The scene where the guy plummets off the hospital roof. The body pretty much explodes and again the camera lingers far too long. You might argue the first example helps build tension and adds to the horror but the second surely has no purpose other than to show off the gore? I don’t know, again not big points but they did add to how disjointed this movie was.
I’ve babbled on enough and given this movie more of my time than it deserves. From start to finish it is a complete mess. It’s unsure of who Michael is, it has no plot to go on whatsoever and some of the acting is woefully bad. It also tries to add backstory and I’m extremely worried for the final installment. I fear they’ll try to explain Michael Myers or worse yet, add some mythological bullshit on why he exists and how to kill him. I’ve only scratched the surface of how bad this film is but I need to leave it alone. Fuck this movie though!
Do me a favour. This hallowed season avoid this steaming turd and please watch the John Carpenter original as it is still the best! I leave you with a quote from the late great Donald Pleasance. This is the only definition of Michael Myers we’ll ever need :
I met him, 15 years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding in even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this… six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and… the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.Loomis