With as many shoot-offs and discontinued timelines as there are — all of which I love for their own reasons and will not elaborate on here — it’s almost an achievement that collective movie audiences are able to just shrug off the premise of the 2018 “Halloween,” in the sense that all the other “Halloween” movies are basically wiped from history. I think it has helped more than it has hurt these movies that there’s already multiple mythologies these movies can pull from and discard what they please, but I think there’s also some danger in the feeling that David Gordon Green has an obligation to at the very least reference as much as he can humanly fit into his nice little trilogy of pictures.
“Halloween Kills” follows directly after the conclusion that we saw in 2018, being that the Strode girls, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), Karen (Judy Greer) and Allyson (Andi Matichak), leave the Shape (James Jude Courtney) in Laurie’s burning house. Since we’re in the first ten minutes of the movie, and judging by the title, Michael Meyers does not stay in the inferno for too long. All the while, some of the survivors of the original massacre of 1978, led by the boisterous Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall), have made a point of forming something of a posse to hunt down the Shape and kill him once and for all. “Evil dies tonight!” the crowd shouts. Well, something is definitely going to die tonight — many somethings in fact, but it may not be what the town of Haddonfield expects.
If anything, “Halloween Kills” most definitely lives up to the title. Michael kills. And he kills. And he kills. And kills. And he kills some more. Honestly, I’m shocked that a 61-year-old man can do as much stabbing as he does in this movie, without as much as breaking a noticeable sweat or becoming short of breath. Unfortunately, this is probably the only really impressive part of this movie. “Halloween” as a franchise hasn’t really been known for the durability of the killer like in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Friday the 13th,” so the novelty of Michael becoming an indestructible killer isn’t really enough novelty to see this movie through. On top of that, the whole “evil dies tonight” schtick really outstayed its welcome past just about the midway point of the movie. It’s a really interesting concept that a mute psychopath can tear a town like Haddonfield apart as easily as it does in the movie, but it’s presented a bit clumsily and seemingly in mean spirit at times. It’s always nice to see the old cast get back together to go and get the big bad, but there’s a point in which they’re just there to pad the body count.
If you want nuance and atmosphere, “Halloween Kills” isn’t going to satisfy — just go back and watch the 2018 installment and you’ll be happy. I’ll admit that the camp is here in spades, and I’ll probably come back to watch it again for that very reason. This film definitely has its moments, and it will probably make much more sense when the trilogy concludes with “Halloween Ends,” but for now we’re left with something of an undercooked fever dream at best. At least the kills are cool!