Potential spoilers for Halloween (1978), Halloween II (1981) and Halloween (2018) inside.
2018 Halloween was one of my favorite new-era western horror movies, so naturally I was really looking forward to Halloween Kills and the inevitable Halloween Ends. Originally set to premiere in 2020, Halloween Kills is one of those victims of the Coronavirus setting a massive amount of films back at least a year if not two. In a healthy world I’d be reviewing Halloween Ends this year instead, but we can’t always get what we want.
Directed once again by David Gordon Green, Halloween Kills takes place right after the events of Halloween. You’d think after 40 years that Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) would understand that you can’t just walk away from the alleged corpse of Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney/Nick Castle) and assume the dude is going to be dead, although to be fair locking the guy in a basement and setting the whole thing on fire does sound like a sure deal. We do know from the trailer that he kills a lot of firefighters who just want to do their jobs. With how he treats first responders, I’m thinking this Michael Myers guy is a real jerk.
Technically the third movie in a canonical quadrilogy, Halloween Kills picks up where we left off. Michael Myers is still alive, he’s still killing a lot of people, and he’s going to kill a lot of people. The 2018 film made kind of a thoughtful comment when one of the characters mentions Michael’s 1978 killing spree while dismissing the five person body count as unimpressive. In 1978 a murderer stabbing five people to death in a small town was shocking and nowadays you can turn on the news and see it happening roughly every other day. Just in the context of films, a five person body count hasn’t been quite impressive in a long time. Almost every Halloween movie since the original has at least doubled if not tripled that number.
One of the overarching themes of Halloween Kills is the danger and stupidity that we see in mob justice, which is both interesting and disappointing. It’s one of the few times we actually see the townsfolk of Haddonfield not only collectively acknowledge the presence of Michael Myers but thanks to the angry speech of survivor from the first film Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) they get riled up enough to recognize that one dude walking around with a knife probably can’t hold much of a candle to a town full of heavily armed drunks. Except he can, because there’s no way David Gordon Green lets Myers go out like a bitch. That’s the job of his victims.
The mob idea is…stupid. It gets really old really fast hearing them chant “evil dies tonight” and the inevitable death thanks to the unfettered anger that comes from it is neither as impactful or as emotional as Green clearly intended it to be. It also doesn’t work quite as well when the mob comes into contact with Michael later on in the movie, and the following fight scene really ruins the whole mob plot. The only enjoyable part is seeing Tommy Doyle realize what a stupid asshole he was for ginning up a town of drunken rednecks on Halloween night when they probably could have spent that time organizing and keeping Michael’s body count down.
The body count in Halloween Kills is massive, by the way. 25 people are killed by Michael Myers this time around, running circles around almost all of the other movies. As always every death is brutal, bloody, and creatively disgusting. Want to see someone get stabbed in the neck with a broken incandescent bulb? It’s here. Michael’s usual consistent inconsistency is here in how he treats his victims, either playing with them for a while before finally going in for the attack, or just straight up killing them. Modern films like to give their antagonists tragic stories or something to explain why they are what they are. Michael himself has had his motivations retconned several times over the decades. It’s nice to see James Gordon Green keeping with the original movie where he’s just an evil bastard.
Here’s the thing about Halloween; you can’t think too much about the fine details. The question of Michael’s status as a supernatural being is brought up a lot in discussion, and thankfully the films have never explained why a man built like a brick shithouse can withstand such punishment. Laurie seems to echo another timeline as her confidence that Michael is after her specifically leads her to demand that the hospital be barricaded and ready for a fight, only for one of the characters to remind her that it’s not all about her. Michael wasn’t at her house because he wanted to find her, but because the doctor from the previous movie brought him there, and he just kills what he sees.
Halloween Kills isn’t particularly better or worse than Halloween, just more of it. Which is great. Check it out on Peacock or in your local theater. I recommend Peacock, so you don’t become the next victim of Covid Myers.