First, a disclaimer – horror movies are not my favorite genre. Second, another disclaimer – the only Halloween movie I am sure I’ve seen is Halloween H20. With those caveats out of the way, here are my thoughts on the new Halloween movie, Halloween Kills.
There are three iconic horror franchises that defined the horror genre to me growing up – A Nightmare on Elm Street (Freddy), Friday the 13th (Jason), and Halloween (Michael Myers). By my rough count, there have been 12 Halloween movies and about half of them have starred original cast member Jamie Lee Curtis. However, in an interesting move, the 2018 installment was treated as the direct sequel to the first movie, essentially wiping the remaining films out of the canon. Halloween Kills is therefore the ‘third’ movie in the series. This movie takes place right after the 2018 Halloween movie and if you really want to know what is going on, I recommend watching the original and the 2018 films.
As I indicated before, I went into this movie without having seen a majority of the other movies in the franchise. The good news is, this film is filled with plenty of flashbacks, supplementary scenes, and convenient news reports on TVs in the background to fill those of us in on what is going on. I’m sure I missed some things, but if you watch the trailer you’ll know enough to get by. I think the primary benefit to seeing the 2018 movie would be an increased attachment to the characters in this film. A horror film is only good if you care about the characters and they are put in legitimate peril. Halloween Kills does an admirable job of establishing (most of) its characters well before bad things start happening to them, but I think I would have been more invested in the ones that were in the last movie if I had seen it. Most of the characters are actually quite likable, unlike many current horror movies where the people who die are kind of despicable. More importantly, viewers will soon learn that no one is safe, which adds to the tension.
Halloween largely avoids cheap jump scares and instead goes for the jugular. That scary noise in the closet that some movies have ends up being the cat? Nope, it’s Michael Myers and he’ll straight up kill you. What the film lacks in pump fakes it makes up for in inventive ways to kill people. While not quite as cringe inducing as a Saw movie, if you are uncomfortable with blood, eyes getting gouged out, and lots of stabbing, this movie isn’t for you. The graphic violence and the certainty that characters were about to bite the dust had me gritting my teeth for the entire run time.
While the modern trend is to explain why the big bad is really misunderstood or show it isn’t their fault that they became the bad guy, this movie pretty much states Myers is pure evil and has no redeeming qualities. In this sense, it feels like a throwback. One thing I couldn’t figure out is, what is Michael Myers? Is he just a strong evil guy or does he have some sort of supernatural powers? Near the end of film in particular, his abilities stretched my limits of suspension of disbelief.
Halloween Kills is a pure slasher film that earns its R rating with buckets of blood and a seemingly limitless supply of ways to kill people. There isn’t much in the way of plot, beyond a detour into some social commentary that had potential but was never fully realized. While not my type of movie, it is fairly well executed and entertaining. If you are a horror film fan or need a date movie (Your date WILL grab your arm), I recommend this film. If you aren’t into blood, I recommend staying away. Finally, if you haven’t seen the 2018 film that this directly follows, I think your enjoyment of this movie would be enhanced by seeing it. Halloween Kills does not have an end credits scene even though it will have a direct sequel titled Halloween Ends that is scheduled for release on October 14, 2022.
Click here to hear Tracy and I review Halloween Kills on Through the Lens: https://anchor.fm/darren-shulman/episodes/Halloween-Kills-Review-e18qd5a
Do you plan to watch it? Have you already? Let us know in the comments or chat with me on Twitter!
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