QUICKIE REVIEW: “Halloween Kills”

Halloween is one of those franchises that just keeps on going and going, reboot after reboot. The 2018 reboot (also called Halloween, to confuse the innocent) was a direct sequel to the original 1978 Halloween and ended up being a solid examination of intergenerational trauma mixed with a more traditional slasher film. But what about its sequel, 2021’s Halloween Kills? Well, it sets out with lofty goals but doesn’t execute them anywhere near as well as Halloween 2018 did. Watching Halloween Kills feels like reading the Wikipedia summary of a fairly compelling movie. All of the pieces are there, but there’s just not enough time to properly explore everything with any real depth.

I liked the movie’s mob justice angle, with returning characters Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) and Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) leading Haddonfield against Meyers. But the film spends nowhere near enough time on these characters, or their plotline, to turn them into anything particularly compelling. The same rings true for Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Karen (Judy Greer), and Allyson (Andi Matichak). The trio spends most of the movie separated, with Laurie in and out of consciousness at the hospital (much like the original Halloween II), Allyson out in the town looking for Meyers, and Karen trying to be there for both her mother and her daughter. And it’s all just a little too fragmented to work very well. The movie’s 100-minute runtime gets stretched way too thin trying to juggle all of these plotlines. And it kind of collapses under its own weight. All of the individual plotlines are compelling, but without the proper time to explore them, they don’t end up going anywhere.

It’s not all bad, though. Curtis, Greer, and Matichak deliver very respectable performances, easily making the most of what the script’s given them. And Michael Meyers is more brutal than he’s ever been. Seriously, this is the most feral I’ve ever seen Meyers. And it’s pretty damn scary—especially in the film’s absolutely devastating climax. A lot of the movie’s individual scenes are fun on their own, and many of the side characters do make an impression. And the movie sets up a pretty compelling hook for Halloween Ends, the capper to this new trilogy of Halloween movies. But as a film in its own right, Halloween Kills simply doesn’t hold a candle to either of its predecessors. It’s a fun watch, sure. But it’s not a very memorable one.

3 out of 5 wands.

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