Halloween Kills


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For a lifelong Halloween fan, David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills, the much-anticipated sequel to his 2018 reboot, is a gory gift bag of tricks ‘n’ treats. For those who enjoyed the fan service, visceral kills, and return to the franchise’s roots in 2018, there’s more of that and then some.  

After an thrilling flashback to 1978 which shows Myers’ arrest, we pick things up right where the last one left off. Halloween Kills see’s Laurie Strode, her daughter Karen, and granddaughter Allyson rushed to hospital whilst ageing serial killer Michael Myers continues his bloody rampage. As the body count climbs, the people of Haddonfield decide to stand up to their boogeyman led by original survivors Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), Lindsay Wallace (Kyle Richards), and Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens). 

If you thought The Shape seemed pissed in 2018, you haven’t seen anything yet. Halloween Kills is nothing if not a darker, meaner, beast, delivering a more ferocious and merciless set of kills and macabre set-pieces than seen before in the franchise. Even though the firefighter brawl shown in the final trailer will go down in Halloween history as one of Michael’s most iconic moments, it’s not the only multi-kill scene which will be remembered long after the credits roll.  

There’s been controversy around the humour of Halloween Kills, but it feels like wasted energy. Carpenter’s original had a strong vein of black comedy and Green is just resurrecting it for this 80’s inspired slice of schlock. And it most definitely is an 80’s-inspired slice of schlock. The body count is exponentially bigger, the kills are more gruesome, the tone is one of intense chaos or borderline slapstick, and so the decision to embrace a sometimes-sillier side just fits hand-in-hand with that sheer sequel one-uppery. Halloween Kills is nothing if not a perfect crowd-pleasing contemporary Halloween film. My Halloween night screening had a top-form audience who gasped and winced at its brutality as much as they cackled at its daftness. They got what Greene was offering up. 

One thing we can all agree on though, is the disappointing lack of Jamie Lee Curtis. Her involvement was, after all, the hook for this whole Blumhouse project. Though it makes some sense by the closing credits. Greene’s Haddonfield feels more alive for spending less time with Laurie Strode. It’s a place populated with both new and legacy characters, with Judy Greer’s Karen and Andi Matichak’s Alysson taking centre stage. James Jude Courtney too has cemented himself as the quintessential man behind the mask, bringing such dominating presence and instantly recognisable physical mannerisms you’d think it’s been his character since 1978. 

A muddied side-strand on the dangers of mob mentality (EVILL DIES TONIGHT) feels out of place when the villain of the piece is literally a mass murderer. In a post Covid/insurrection/Trump world, there’s a lot to be said but for Green and the crew it boils down to a simplistic bit of misery panto and a hefty distraction. It just proves that this film is at its best when it winds up Michael Myers and lets him rampage. 

The original run of Halloween films was always pretty loose with Michael’s potentially supernatural invincibility until Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. In that entry, Michael’s powers are linked back to a shady pagan cult. Whilst Halloween Kills doesn’t quite go there, Laurie does posit the idea that ‘the more he kills, the more he transcends’. By the end of the film, there’s pretty much no deniability. Michael Myers is superhuman, for lack of a better word. With the previous film’s shady Dr Sartain being responsible for Michael’s escape, the new trilogy could very well be gearing up to pull off a reworked Man in Black/ Cult of Thorn direction. The most dangerous thing to do would be to do another entry which continues as is with no surprises or new ideas. 

At the end of the day, Green et al have crafted a stunning contemporary slasher which, though light on the discourse that fuelled its predecessor, delivers every gory thrill you could want from a modern Halloween sequel. The final part of the trilogy now has an opportunity to really go somewhere fresh with all the broken pieces, unanswered questions, and potential directions. Thankfully, The Shape is back, more brutal and thrilling than ever, but if Laurie Strode hopes to vanquish evil for good, she and the franchise are going to have to start thinking outside the box. 


Scott Clark 

Dir. David Gordon Green 

Stars. Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Will Patton, Anthony Michael Hall, Robert Longstreet, Kyle Richards,  

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