Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) believes she has burned Michael Myers (Nick Castle/James Jude Courtney) alive, effectively ending his decades-long reign of terror. She is taken to hospital to have her battle wounds treated, while the fire department attempts to put out the fire at her compound. Unbeknownst to them however, Myers is alive and ready to kill anything that stands in his way.
I absolutely adored Co-Writer/Director David Gordon Green’s rebooted HALLOWEEN from 2018. It was a viciously violent, wildly entertaining crowd pleaser that left me smiling from ear to ear. Flash-forward three years and we have HALLOWEEN KILLS, which is almost the complete opposite. Green and Co-Writers Scott Teems and Danny McBride greatly expand the Strode/Myers mythos bringing in surviving characters from past films (and resurrecting another with the help of some incredible prosthetics), reimagining and adding new layers to the larger story, as well as providing commentary on mental illness and mob mentalities. They even find a way to shoehorn in even more references and nods to other films in the Franchise. I admire how ambitious all of that is, but it makes for an unfortunately messy final product that has way too much on its mind and not nearly enough time to say it.
If that was not bad enough, they sideline Curtis for practically the entire Film – never letting her come face to face with Myers – and spend an inordinate amount of time developing the backstory for a returning character who likely should have stayed dead. Worse, the kills are relentlessly gory and mercilessly brutal just for the sake of it. Very little of the fun or humour from the previous film is present, just one viciously bloody death after the next. Though some of the kills are just as creative as you might hope, even the most hardened gorehounds may find Myers’ killing spree to be excessive.
I say all of this knowing that I may be nitpicking, and that I have been more forgiving for lesser films. And I would be here too, except KILLS is not a complete film. Instead, it feels like one giant prelude to HALLOWEEN ENDS, which is currently scheduled for release next October. Annoying as that might sound, perhaps some of these glaring issues will be solved or be more digestible once we see what Green and Co. have cooked up for the finale. Or maybe KILLS really is just a disappointing Sequel that took all the wrong lessons from its predecessor and very few of the good ones.
While there is little character development, the cast does what they can to keep things moving. Returning Cast members Judy Greer and Andi Matichak are great, as is Curtis despite her limited screen time. Anthony Michael Hall is rock solid as Tommy Doyle, alongside great supporting work from Thomas Mann, Dylan Arnold and Robert Longstreet. What I dug even more was the Film’s Score, composed again by legendary Franchise patriarch John Carpenter, his son Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies. It works so well within the Film and is just as intense as it is terrifying. It is sending shivers down my spine just thinking about it.
HALLOWEEN KILLS on its own is a letdown. It does not have the energy of its predecessor and feels like an extended teaser for next fall’s Sequel. The obscenely graphic violence is excessive, and Curtis being sidelined is practically unforgiveable. But there are moments of greatness peppered throughout, and I am almost certain it will play better once we see HALLOWEEN ENDS. I just wish it could have stood on its own.
Universal Pictures Canada unleash HALLOWEEN KILLS into theatres now.
*Please exercise caution observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*
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